Conservatives erupted in anger after Byron York of the Washington Examiner asked Michele Bachmann about her 2006 comments, where she explained that she decided to study tax law and later to run for Congress at the urging of her husband, saying that the Bible tells wives “to be submissive to your husbands.” As Sarah Posner explained, the “submission theology” establishes strict gender roles:
Submission theology is built around the notion that God has a “design” for men and for women; that they are unique from each other and have their designated, God-given roles. The husband is the spiritual head of the household, the wife his obedient “helpmeet,” the vessel for their children, devoted mother, and warrior for the faith. By committing themselves to those gender roles, evangelicals believe they are obeying God’s commands. They see the wife’s obligation to obey her husband’s authority as actually owed to God, not her husband.
When she appeared on Stave Deace’s radio show yesterday, Bachmann was asked to respond to “Christian women struggling with the idea of a woman president.” She seemed to dodge the question by attempting to differentiate the responsibilities she has to her husband in the home and her obligations as a public official:
Deace: I’ve heard from plenty of Christian women struggling with the idea of a woman president, how would you respond to their struggling with that dilemma?
Bachmann: Well I have a husband of thirty-three years and I am his wife. I respond to him as a wife. But when it comes to being a leader, whether I’m running a business or being a member of Congress, I am acting in that position responsibly and faithfully to the people that I serve. This is not a spiritual position, it is a position of authority in our government, it is very different from that of a wife to her husband.