Friday, July 22, 2011
Michelle Bachmann, Submissive Spouse
The earliest political buzz I remember as a boy was that bees nest stirring around the Presidential candidacy of this rich, Roman Catholic war hero with the knock-out gorgeous wife. The fear, stated clearly by members of my own family, was that, once elected, John F. Kennedy would religiously cede his power over to the pope because Kennedy was Roman Catholic and that's what Catholics do--they listen, religiously, to their Pope.
Turns out, of course, that JFK rarely listened religiously to anything, save his saucier instincts. Had the Pope been captain of his sheep, he might have done a ton of things differently. But no matter. If you were an evangelical Christian, circa 1959 and 1960, chances are you were for a strange Quaker named Nixon because, after all, how bad would it be to have the Pope for President?
Ruth Marcus, of the Washington Post, says she can't help asking a similar question about the candidacy of Michelle Backmann, who is a proud Christian evangelical and who has, publically, explained the major decisions of her life by her blessedly submissive role to her husband. The question Marcus asks goes like this: can someone who claims to be subservient to her husband's wishes be the elected President--or does her allegiance to her husband's visions of things make her a stand-in for him?
As someone who has weathered decades of gender wars in an evangelical church, I can suspicion the evangelical answer. For years, conservative Christians have made the argument that Paul's demands about women's roles pertain primarily to a church context. The argument goes like this: Michelle Bachmann could certainly be President of the United States and run the show; but if her husband were to lay down the law about, say, infant baptism or women in church office or transubstantiation, she'd have to suck it up and take his views of such things. Paul's women-be-silent edict, after all, applies only to what happens in the pew. On matters of when or where to wage war, whether to dismantle safety net for the poor, whether or not to add new taxes, or how to deal with radical Islam, biblically speaking, President Bachmann is totally untethered to the old man. She's free as a bird.
Strange, but I know that argument.
"I don’t lose sleep over Marcus Bachmann as Oval Office puppeteer, mostly because I cannot imagine Michele Bachmann making it there," Ruth Marcus says.
Quite frankly, I cannot imagine Ms. Bachmann making it there myself, but, listen, Minnesota has already given us Jesse Ventura.
What I can't imagine is the Michelle Bachmann we all know and love being a truly Pauline-defined submissive helpmeet, period, despite her darlingly righteous claim. For most of my life, I've had this itching suspicion that those evangelical women who most love to trumpet their peculiarly submissive roles are the same ones who appear--at least by my estimation--to be jerking up the family trousers about their own loins every morning. They are submissive and their husbands know it because they have made it perfectly clear to them that they are.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:55 AM