By Jon Ponder on 12/11/2007, 12:17pm PT  

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:

"At a time when divorce is destroying the fabric of our society, you have taken a bold stand for the biblical principles of marriage and family life. We thank you for your courage," the ad stated...

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:

By divine design, man is to be the “head” of woman—in society, in the church, and in the home (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22—24). This graduation of authority rests on two bases: first, the original constitution of the sexes as created; and, second, woman’s role in the Fall.

1. Woman was made as a help for man — not the reverse (Gen. 2:18,20).
2. Paul wrote: “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man: for neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Cor. 11: 8,9).
3. And again, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13).

As to the woman’s role in the Fall, she believed Satan’s lie that she might become as God, and hence, was “beguiled” (Gen. 3:13; 2 Cor. 11:3) or “deceived” (1 Tim. 2:14), whereas Adam, laboring under no such deception (1 Tim. 2:14), merely sinned due to his weakness for the woman (Gen. 3:12). Accordingly, woman’s subjection was increased after her fall (Gen. 3:16).

The "Ozzie and Harriet" 1950s sitcom style of marriage is a byproduct of the Industrial Age, which produced historically unique educational and career opportunities for women. It has little or nothing to do with biblical teaching. The notion of romantic marriage did not come into vogue until the early 19th Century. Before then, for thousands of years of Western history, marriage was primarily a business arrangement between the fathers of the bride and groom.

Ironically, even Christians do not live up to their own sacred fantasy of marriage. Divorce is as rampant among Christians as it is in the wider culture. And the leading "threat" to Christian marriage is not same-sex unions or gay civil rights, as they often claim. It is adultery.

It's hard to see how Huckabee can walk away from this one unscathed. If he tries to run away from his earlier position that women should graciously submit to men --- as he has run away from pushing for the release of the rapist Wayne Dumond, who raped and killed two more women upon his release, and from advocating the quarantining AIDS patients --- he risks losing favor with his Christian nationalist base.

But if continues to advocate biblically subservient roles for women, he'll be out of the presidential race by February 5, at the latest.