Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
In August 1998, Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife Janet were among 131 signers of an advertisement opposing same sex marriage and in support of resolution enacted by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) earlier that year that erroneously suggested that prototypical 1950's "Ozzie and Harriet" style marriage and family life had its origins in the Bible:
The SBC article describes marriage as "the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime." It also notes, "The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."
"Graciously submitting herself" to her husband is a deceptively benign formulation for the status of women in biblical times. In the Hebrew scriptures that form the basis of the Old Testament, for example, women were treated as harshly as they are treated today in conservative Islamic cultures:
- Unmarried women were not allowed to leave the home of their father.
- Married women were not allowed to leave the home of their husband.
- They were normally restricted to roles of little or no authority.
- They could not testify in court.
- They could not appear in public venues.
- They were not allowed to talk to strangers.
- They had to be doubly veiled when they left their homes.
Polygamy was commonplace, and, of course, only men could have multiple spouses. Famous polygamists from the Bible included Abraham, Jacob, King David and especially Solomon, who had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
The Bible dictates that women take an inferior role in almost every aspect of life, according to a conservative biblical scholar: