Hint: Fundamental Evangelical Christianity
More than fifty-three percent of women voted Trump over Clinton, in spite of Trump’s rampant and unapologetic misogyny, his brazen degradation of women by classifying them according to a superficial numerical scale, his wanton belief that they can be sexually assaulted at will, and his record with his current and former wives. A lot of people are asking how this could be. Why would any woman in their right mind vote for a man like this?
While many women cast their vote for Trump simply because they could not see their way to support Clinton for a variety of reasons, the logic as to why evangelical Christian women chose Trump is entirely different. These women, in large part, voted for Trump because of the hold that the Evangelical patriarchy has over them. 81% of evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. And hypothetically, roughly half of these would be the wives of evangelical men.
In fact, as it stands, 52% of the world’s Evangelical leaders believe a wife must always obey her husband. In 2010 the Pew Forum surveyed over 2000 Evangelical leaders present at the Lausanne Conference, seeking their views on issues of faith, church and ethics. When asked whether “a wife should always obey her husband” fifty-two percent said “yes”, either fully agreeing or mostly agreeing. Not only do half the world’s evangelical leaders believe a wife should obey her husband, but they believe that she should always obey. More on this later.
Yes, there has been progress…
True, enough, that over the past five or six generations, women have increasingly gained rights and accessed privileges that have previously been denied to them by not just men, but by the rule of law and societal norms. Women have gained the right to vote, achieved the (largely unrealized) right to equal pay, and have made strides in reproductive rights. It has been many years since women have been able to legally divorce their husbands, to own land, to have a credit card in their own name, and many other things.
These strides, however, were made in spite of the evangelical church. Evangelical men went kicking and screaming all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing against the progress of women, calling it ungodly and even satanic.
A significant portion of these progressive advances will soon be the target of the Trump/Pence administration, and evangelical wives are more than happy to be a part of the systematic dismantling of so much of what has been accomplished. There are still significant areas of American society that remain, basically, for men only. Under a Trump administration, this will only expand.
One of the main reasons why women are being denied or fighting to maintain some basic civil rights, as well as why they are excluded from enjoying many social privileges in this day and age, is the interpretation of the Bible by male evangelical Christians. These denials and exclusions have changed very little over the past five generations, and will not go away anytime soon if the evangelicals keep their stranglehold over women. This, of course, is exacerbated by evangelical women having no problem being regarded as second-class citizens.
If you think that this is a harsh observation, consider that according to the tenets of male-dominated evangelical Christianity, women are believed to be inferior to their male counterparts. This is not a matter of opinion to these men, as they interpret the bible as the literal word of God, and have made their own interpretations of Scripture – especially where it concerns women. They are referred to in the Bible as the weaker vessel. Unmarried women are chastised for being incomplete because they have no man to submit to.
They are taught through the Bible that their roles in society should be homemakers, child-bearers, and the sexual property of their husbands. They are definitely to have no part in government leadership roles, and definitely no leadership within the church, save for the teaching of small children, and to be spiritual guides and instructors to younger women on how to be a good wife.
The penchant for male evangelicals to interpret the bible literally is generally accepted by evangelical women, but has caused and continues to cause women outside of that demographic all sorts of grief. This is due to the arrogant assumption that the entirety of the female population is subject to their draconian interpretation of what the male evangelical population says bible indicates women should be, how they should act, what the should do with their bodies, etc.
A few good examples that I have personally seen trotted out to justify this, are:
“That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as become holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.” – Titus 2:2-4 says:
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – 1 Timothy 5:14
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” – 1 Timothy 2:11,12
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” – 1 Corinthians 14:33-35
“But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” – 1 Corinthians 11:5,6
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works.” – I Timothy 2:9,10
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – 1 Peter 4:5,6
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:22-24
“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – 1 Corinthians 11:9
I could go on about how women are largely viewed as chattel. But I think you get the idea…
While many Christian women have come to understand that they have been mistreated by the church and the men in their lives, the vast majority of evangelical women are still compelled to do what their husbands and pastors tell them to do, because these men have authority over them, and they are required to be obedient. And they are scared of being left behind.
Voting Against Their Best Interests…
While there is definitely a steady increase in points of view from a generational aspect by evangelical voters, the progressive demographic doesn’t get out and vote in the numbers that older evangelicals do. Yes, it is honestly refreshing to see so many women of faith bucking the trend and standing up to the bigotry, discrimination, and misogyny. It’s not enough, though, if they don’t exercise their right to vote. This is too bad, because younger evangelicals, particularly women, are more likely to be against issues such a our penchant for mass incarceration, more supportive of environmental issues, and the support of marriage equality.
With a fair amount of authority on this issue, I can state as a very safe assumption that a good portion of the percentage of older evangelical women who voted for Trump did so because they were told to. And they came out in force, but if they had stayed home, there would have been ramifications and consequences from their husbands. Many older evangelical women have a strong belief that they are required to obey their husbands in all aspects of life – including how to use their vote – because ‘their husbands know what’s best for them.’ Again, I know this from personal experience.
If you won’t take my word for it as a former Southern Baptist Pastor, then consider this, from a prominent evangelical website:
Question: “Why does not the Bible limit a wife’s obedience to her husband? Why does the Scripture not say, as many wish it did say, that a wife should be subject to her husband as long as he is right and true to the Bible?
Answer: The Bible says, ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord,’ that is, as unto Jesus Christ, and so of course in complete submission. And again, ‘Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing’ (Eph. 5:22,24).”
And this, from another:
Bible reasons why a wife must submit to her husband regardless of culture:
Creation order: Man was created first, woman second. “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.” – 1 Timothy 2:13
Creation origin: Man and all creation was created by God directly out of dust, whereas woman was created through the man’s rib. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7; Woman is the only creature not made from dust. Woman derives her origin from Man. “The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” – Genesis 2:22; “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man” – 1 Corinthians 11:8
Creation purpose: Woman created for man: “for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” 1 Corinthians 11:9; Man named woman: Adam named the animals and was to rule over them. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” – Genesis 2:19; “rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28; When Eve was brought to Adam, he named her, showing he was to rule over woman as well. “The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” – Genesis 2:23
Delegation principle: God commanded directly to Adam alone. The prohibition to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was made directly by God to Adam. Adam, in turn relayed what God said to Eve. Eve had not yet been created when God told Adam about the forbidden tree. Eve never actually heard God say this direct, but had to trust Adam’s word on the matter. “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:16-18; Woman sinned first: The devil tempted Eve and she, not the man, was first deceived. Because of this, man put Eve under the headship of Adam. “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” – 1 Timothy 2:14; “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”” – Genesis 3:1; God rebuked Adam first after they ate the forbidden fruit: Although Eve was the logical person for God to rebuke first, God went to Adam, showing that God considered Adam the “head of the family” for both. “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:9; Man is the glory of God, woman is the glory of man: “For a man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” – 1 Corinthians 11:7; Paul pointed Christians to the Mosaic Law that was 1500 earlier and a different culture: 1 Cor.14:34; Peter pointed Christians to Sarah, 2000 years earlier and a very different culture: 1 Pet. 3:5-6.
Q: To what extent must the wife submit?
A: In “all things”
- Wives must submit to their husbands as though he were the Lord: Eph 5:22
- Husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church: Eph 5:22
- As the church is subject to Christ, wives must be subject to their husbands: Eph 5:24
- Slaves to masters: Tit 2:9 “in everything”
- Children to parents: Col 3:20 “in all things”
- Must submit even when mistreated and wronged: 1 Pe 2:18-23
And the beat goes on…
A Real Problem…
Most of the men of faith I know do not hold these extreme views on women. Most of the women of faith I know would make life a living hell if their husbands tried to pull this crap on them. But the fact that half of the evangelical males hold to this, it would explain why half of the evangelical women voted for a unrepentant misogynist, bigoted womanizer for President of the United States.
These women are not being held hostage, though. They are not being forced against their will to do the bidding of their husbands. These are women who believe as their husbands do, and willingly submit themselves to this type of totalitarian authority, sometimes in the face of mental and spiritual abuse. And it sickens me, because unleashed, many of these women can be a powerful voice in the world for women’s rights.
I think it is a travesty to co-opt the mind of another human being, and the evangelical right-wing church, their leaders and pastors, and the men who are members, have done just that. They have brainwashed these women into accepting the deplorable notion that they are second class citizens, that they are less than their husbands by virtue only because they were born female.
Now, with Donald Trump as the President-Elect, and Mike Pence as the Vice President-Elect, there will likely be a melding of church and state that has never before been seen in the country. The brunt of it will be bore by women, minorities, the LGBTQI community, and anyone who does not adhere to fundamental evangelical Christianity.
This is going to be a long, hard, road…