Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Anyone who has an even rudimentary understanding of the Bible knows this section of Ephesians 5. It's easy to understand. The concern about Bachmann's "submission" goes back to her first campaign for the House in Minnesota. She appeared at a church in October of 2006 and discussed the importance of God's calling at critical moments in her life. In the midst of that, she said:
My husband said, "Now you need to go and get a postdoctorate degree in tax law.". . . Tax law? I hate taxes. Why should I go and do something like that? But the Lord said, "Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husband." And so we moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and I went to William and Mary Law School there. . . . Never had a tax course in my background, never had a desire for it, but by faith, I was going to be faithful to what I felt God was calling me to do through my husband.
OK. I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty of her explanation, some of the details that seem loony to me about her "calling," but overall she's right that the Lord (through Paul) said to wives to be submissive to their husbands. Look at the above verse. That's what it says. And maybe that's not such a big deal for a woman running for congress. People aren't so concerned about her touching base with her husband on some of the bills she votes on. It's one vote of many and she's getting input from him on those.
However, what if she becomes president? If her husband tells her to veto a bill that made it through the House and the Senate, does she submit to him, based on the obvious understanding of "submit" even in the context of how she described it in her speech? That presents a problem. People wouldn't be voting for her husband as a president, but for her.
This case reminds me some of the issue of Roman Catholicism for John F. Kennedy. We hadn't elected a Roman Catholic president before him and one of the issues was a Roman Catholic's subservience to the Pope. Would we by proxy be voting for the Pope for president by voting for a Roman Catholic? That might sound like a joke to some people, but our country has moved a different direction than the longtime history of the state church and Roman Catholicism. Kennedy said that he wouldn't allow the Pope to make his decisions for him. Some people might applaud that, but I wonder what kind of Roman Catholic that would make him. If he didn't take his Roman Catholicism seriously, then would he take the Constitution of the United States seriously?
People don't take Catholics that seriously any more, and it seems obvious that they are not taking Mormonism too seriously either, as seen in the case of Mitt Romney. What kind of authority would LDS hierarchy wield over him? It's a question that perhaps some are not willing to ask because they are too afraid of making someone's religious beliefs seem too important or betraying some kind of dreaded intolerance.
I don't think the media is being fair with Bachmann in comparison to how they deflected President Obama's relationship to the Reverend Wright and his group there in Chicago. However, I believe it was a legitimate question to ask Bachmann in light of her own words on the subject. As president, would she be submitting to her husband in her decision making?
The liberal media just doesn't like Bachmann. They don't like her view of the world, so they are glad to use this against her. I know all that. I still like the window it opens on Bachmann and then the subject of submission to husbands at large. The most notorious exchange in this drama occurred in a debate in Iowa on August 11, 2011 with Republican presidential candidates. A moderator, Byron York, asked her whether, as president, she would be submissive to her husband.
Some complain that they would never ask that question of a Democrat woman. Or they would never ask a man that question. Or that it is an attack on a religious belief. No. Someone might ask that question because Bachmann herself earlier said that was how she operated.
After she was asked that question in that debate, she was asked it several more times, even as a liberal interviewer feels he's got to do that to show his journalistic independence. Beginning then, she began giving an answer that I do not believe. I don't believe her reply. She said that when she says "submit," she means respect. Her and her husband have respect for each other, and that's what she meant when she said "submit." I don't think she meant "respect" when she said "submit." I think she meant "submit" when she said "submit." Someone else told her the same thing in one of the Sunday news shows. But she persevered with that talking point---she meant "respect." Who's going to challenge "respect" that a husband and wife have for each other?
So what's worse? Was it the question she was asked? Or was it her answer that perverts the meaning of Ephesians 5:22 and changes what the Lord said? Is it better that women or churches or the world do not know what "submit" means or that Michelle Bachmann can get past this moment in her presidential campaign by abusing a verse in the Bible?
Women should submit to their husbands. Michele Bachmann should submit to hers. Submissive wives probably won't get to be president. Our country probably won't elect a woman who says she should submit to her husband. So we're left with women who won't submit to their husbands and what will that do for women in the country? Will they be better off with that view, just as long as they still get to be president?
Bachmann had "submit" right in 2006 and that didn't keep her from losing a seat in the U. S. House of Representatives. But now she's changed its meaning to help her win the presidency. She obviously doesn't think that "submit" will fly in a presidential election. And that doesn't work for me at all. Ironically, now I do lose respect for her. Tell the truth and deal with it. Now she satisfies the egalitarians, knowing that to the complementarians, it won't matter. They'll give her a break because they know how the game works. I don't think we should give her a break on it.
The world mocks the Bible. It mocks God's design for the family. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God's Words will not pass away. The Bible will stand. God's design will stand. Submission does not demean women. Perversion of God's Word is not a better way. Whatever mess we're in is because we haven't paid attention to Him. And if we allow someone who says she is a Christian to get away with it, it's not going to make it better. It's going to get worse.