During last week’s Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann was asked by Washington Examiner’s Byron York about her past statement that she ended up studying tax law even though she “hates taxes” and never had a desire for it” but did so because wives “are to be submissive to your husband” and so she “was going to be faithful to what I felt God was calling me to do through my husband.”
In her response and since, Bachmann has been trying to claim that being “submissive” merely means that she and her husband “respect each other,” which is nonsense, as Sarah Posner explained today in Salon.
And now the Religious Right is rallying around Bachmann, attacking the question as unfair and inappropriate:
Penny Nance, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, expressed her dismay at the question in a statement: “Byron York’s question to Michele Bachmann about her relationship with her husband was incredibly inappropriate and downright ignorant.”
Given that both men and women are called to give of themselves in marriage, Nance lamented that the male presidential candidates were not asked the same or a similar question.
Ummm … does Nance not remember when Mike Huckabee was asked by Carl Cameron about the 1998 ad he signed stating that a “wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband” during a Republican debate in South Carolina in 2008 where Huckabee delivered a more eloquent but equally Bachmann-like response:
CAMERON: Governor Huckabee, to change the subject a little bit and focus a moment on electability.
Back in 1998, you were one of about 100 people who affirmed, in a full-page ad in the “New York Times,” the Southern Baptist Convention’s declaration that, quote, “A wife us to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.”
Women voters in both parties harshly criticized that. Is that position politically viable in the general election of 2008, sir?
HUCKABEE: You know, it’s interesting, everybody says religion is off limits, except we always can ask me the religious questions. So let me try to do my best to answer it.
(APPLAUSE) And since — if we’re really going to have a religious service, I’d really feel more comfortable if I could pass the plates, because our campaign could use the money tonight, Carl.
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
We’ll just go all the way.
First of all, if anybody knows my wife, I don’t think they for one minute think that she’s going to just sit by and let me do whatever I want to. That would be an absolute total misunderstanding of Janet Huckabee.
The whole context of that passage — and, by the way, it really was spoken to believers, to Christian believers. I’m not the least bit ashamed of my faith or the doctrines of it. I don’t try to impose that as a governor and I wouldn’t impose it as a president.
But I certainly am going to practice it unashamedly, whether I’m a president or whether I’m not a president. But the point…
… the point, and it comes from a passage of scripture in the New Testament Book of Ephesians is that as wives submit themselves to the husbands, the husbands also submit themselves, and it’s not a matter of one being somehow superior over the other. It’s both mutually showing their affection and submission as unto the Lord.
So with all due respect, it has nothing to do with presidency. I just wanted to clear up that little doctrinal quirk there so that there’s nobody who misunderstands that it’s really about doing what a marriage ought to do and that’s marriage is not a 50/50 deal, where each partner gives 50 percent.
Biblically, marriage is 100/100 deal. Each partner gives 100 percent of their devotion to the other and that’s why marriage is an important institution, because it teaches us how to love.