Days later, this has become the controversial bit of Jason Horowitz’s profile of the Bachmanns.
“He is her godly husband,” said Peter Bachmann, Dr. Bachmann’s oldest brother, who lives on the family dairy farm across the eastern border in Wisconsin. “The husband is to be the head of the wife, according to God. It is a philosophy that Michele Bachmann echoed to congregants of the the Living Word Christian Center in 2006, when she stated that she pursued her degree in tax law only because her husband had told her to. “The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands,” she said.
The pearl-clutching reaction is summed up best by onetime Slatester Henry Blodget, who links to a listicle-ized version of the profile and exclains: “Really? REALLY?”
Yes, really. Bachmann was quoting a passage that begins at Ephesians 5:22, a passage I’ve heard at several weddings.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 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. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
Without unpacking all of this (consider it your homework!), we can say this is yawn-worthy stuff for evangelical Christians. More importantly, it’s not been an impediment to Bachmann. In her case, submission has led to a career in politics and, as of now, a fighting chance at the Republican nomination for president. There are policy questions you can ask Bachmann about this, like “Why did you vote against Lily Ledbetter?,” because there are certainly Christians who agree with her interpretation of Ephesians 5:22 but think the government plays a role in enforcing gender equality. Don’t sputter and point, though – you’re just revealing what you don’t know.