Daily Archives: Aug. 20, 2011

Pro-con: OK to question Bachmann’s theology?

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York asked Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., if she was submissive to her husband. York’s question wasn’t about religion per se, but was an attempt to probe whether, if Bachmann became president, America would be getting her husband’s decisions and not hers. It’s common for Christian politicians questioned about their adherence to submission theology to dodge a scriptural explanation, as Bachmann did. After all, while dominionist-minded evangelicals like Bachmann intentionally set out to bring their “biblical worldview” into politics, they recognize that it’s bad 21st-century politics — especially for a female candidate — to admit to a theology that could cause voters to recoil at the image of an obedient wife as president of the United States. At the debate, Bachmann smiled and talked about how in love she is with her husband and maintained that their relationship is based on respect. But if Bachmann had explained her interpretation of the theology, we would have received greater insight into what her “biblical worldview” means for her understanding of law and policy. — Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches

Since Rep. Michele Bachmann was asked in a debate whether she would be submissive to her husband as president, the punditry has morphed into a morass of armchair theologians pushing flawed interpretations of what submission means in a biblical context. It was fair to ask the question at the debate. After all, if Bachmann had responded, “I believe that submission means my husband will tell me how to do my job as president,” that is important information. But that isn’t what she said. Ironically, the complaint that is usually lobbed at conservative Christians is that they keep their women barefoot and pregnant. Now the anti-evangelical-Christian mob is up in arms because Marcus Bachmann told his wife she should be a tax attorney and run for Congress. Oh, the horror. Ideally, spouses influence each other, and if Bachmann’s husband saw a talent in his wife and encouraged her to pursue higher office, what is wrong with that? He didn’t say, “Run for Congress or I’ll beat you.” Yes, there are people who distort the doctrine of submission to control and abuse women, but they are not representative of mainstream evangelicalism. — Kirsten Powers, Daily Beast