An obvious area of concern for Americans where Michele Bachmann is concerned is, well…that she’s a woman. This isn’t a problem for Hilary Clinton, who has proven she is her own woman, or, for that matter, most any other woman you can think of who isn’t a fundamentalist Christian – which brings us back to Bachmann.
According to Bachmann herself, she must be submissive to her husband. This is what she told a crowd back in 2006 and there is no reason to believe she does not hold to this still: “The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.”
Great. That’s between her and her husband. None of my business, none of my concern, however much I think the “Lord” says nothing of the kind. But she’s not just a housewife. She’s running for president. The nature of her “submissiveness” to her husband suddenly is my business – and my concern. Because I don’t know Marcus Bachmann from (If you’ll pardon a Heathen saying this) Adam.
Her spiritual mentor – a man of course, since a woman cannot instruct a man – John Eidsmoe – says the same thing in his book God and Caesar. Right Wing Watch discusses some of Eidsmoe’s pearls of wisdom:
For Eidsmoe, the role of a woman is chiefly second class to her husband: “God’s Word gives women respect and respectability which they had never enjoyed in any other culture, and we must do what we can to preserve biblical standards. But it establishes the man as the head of the house” (p. 125). He writes:
Humans cannot function without leadership, at least not when they must live and work together. And the basic unit of authority in human society is the family. The husband is the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23), and children are to obey their parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:2).
Husbands are to instruct their wives in things of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:35), and parents are to instruct their children (ps. 115-116).
He goes on to condemn the rise of feminism and criticize feminist scholars, saying that they “violate the normal order” God put in place: “I personally believe there would be no women’s liberation movement today, were it not for the weakness of men. But that is the exception, not the rule. The normal order of God’s institution in the family with the husband and father as its head” (p. 126).
Eidsmoe especially attacks feminists for what he believes is their disrespectful attitudes towards housewives, lamenting that husbands now have to deal with wives who want to have careers of their own:
Many had planned all their lives to become housewives and mothers, believing such a calling would bring meaning and fulfillment to their lives. Now they are told by the feminists that it is ‘demeaning’ and ‘unfulfilling’ to be a housewife, and they don’t know what to believe. They are frustrated as housewives and feel guilty for not being ‘more,’ but don’t feel any inclination for anything else. And the husband, who planned all this life to be a traditional husband and father and thought he was marrying a traditional wife, feels threatened, insecure, and resentful about these changes in his wife. If the wife goes to work, he may resent sharing housework; that wasn’t what he bargained for when he entered the marriage (p. 124).
You see where the problem is for American voters. If Bachmann is submissive to her husband in actuality, assuming she is not simply toeing some fundamentalist line for votes, then if she is elected president, she will not in truth be the president – her husband will. In other words, a vote for Michele Bachmann is a vote for Marcus Bachmann, a virtual unknown, outside of his avowed belief that gays can be “rehabilitated” into heterosexuals, a practice Marcus lied about for years.
But Michele Bachmann says her husband is off limits to the press:
“I’m running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business.”
But that’s simply not true, unless she is lying about her commitment to her role as a submissive woman. Either way, she is lying – about being submissive or about her husband not running for president. By her own admission in 2006 and through the words of her mentor in his book, she is not her own woman.
Nor is she Hilary Clinton; we cannot treat her like she is Hilary Clinton. There were those who wondered, if Clinton were elected in 2008, how much of her own woman she would be with an ex-president First Husband. How much worse should our concerns be for a candidate who openly says her husband “is the boss of me”?
Obviously, both Bachmann’s 2006 remarks and Eidsmoe’s book are problematic, and Bachmann cannot simply wish the issue away or refuse to address it.
I’m not even going to complain here about the hypocrisy of attacking the First Lady while claiming the potential first husband is off-limits, or the violation of Paul’s teachings embodied in Eidsmoe’s writings. Paul of Tarsus, says scholar John Dominic Crossan, not only thought women should be able to teach and speak, he called a woman named Junia “prominent among the apostles” (Romans 16:7) and sent his letter to the Romans in the hands of Phoebe, whom he relates is a church administrator from near Corinth (Romans 16:1-2). In Corinthians 11 he makes it perfectly clear women can prophesy in church, the only proviso being a veil. So why does she suddenly have to be silent in chapter 14?
Well…I’ll point out here that it’s significant that Eidsmoe draws his teaching about women from pseudo-Paul – a forger – the letters not actually written by Paul, including Ephesians, Colossians, and a forged passage in a genuine Pauline book (1 Corinthians) added by a later editor (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).
Since she refuses to be honest (about her husband, him about his practice, their beliefs about Paul of Tarsus) Bachmann says she can only talk about other things:
“I am more than happy to stand for questions on running for the presidency of the United States,” she continued. “I have no doubt that every jot and tittle of my life will be fully looked at and inspected prior to November of 2012.”
Yes, especially the part where you are submissive to your husband.
Is what we see and hear out of Bachmann an extension of her husband? If so, she owes it to America to clarify – yes or no. If not, then she is lying about being submissive. Without this knowledge, a vote cast for Michele Bachmann is a gamble no American should be willing to take.
 Bart D. Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (HarperCollins, 2011), 244-45.