That Whole “Submission” Thing Is Serious

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In 2001 Andrea Yates killed her five young children.  Pronounced a monster by one and all, very few bothered to delve into her life.  She was a member of a Christian cult based on the Quiverfull movement.  She was suffering from serious depression and mental illness.  Her husband demanded more children.  Their minister, Michael Peter Woroniecki, was literally terrorizing her, stalking her with religious pamphlets, calling her a witch, among other things.

Andrea Yates tale is one of Quiverfull and this whole wifely submissive thing going horribly wrong.  As a Christian woman, I DO NOT want a woman in the Oval Office who subscribes to this theory, and Michele Bachmann, for all  her lies, does.

A Wife's Submission

“…Quiverfull and what could be called the submissive lifestyle are ultimately convictions of faith, and many women choose to follow them regardless of potential hardships. This is, of course, their choice, but fans of TV’s novel large families should not overlook their comprehensive ideology that argues that family planning and feminism are cultural scourges to be eradicated, and that women’s highest calling is in becoming prolific mothers and submissive wives. A glimpse of this reality is sometimes visible beneath TV’s glossy treatment of Quiverfull families, but more often it’s difficult to see the hard edges of ideology underlying yet another large family adventure….”

The Reality Check

When Byron York asked Michele Bachmann about her “submission” to her husband, the conservative world was furious.  How dare he!  How dare he insult that good woman by asking a question she refused to answer.

Well….

It was a viable question.

Michele Bachmann and her hubby Marcus are on the cusp of a major cult movement within conservative Christian circles.  As a Republican, I think that everyone has the right to freedom of speech as long as they don’t yell fire in a crowded shoe salon (wait, that’s not a bad idea).  I think everyone has a right to worship a they please, as long as they’re not doing human sacrifice and burning babies for Baal.  A political candidate has a right to believe what they believe and not be hounded about it.

BUT….

When what they believe has a direct impact on how a person might act within the Oval Office, it IS important.  I don’t exactly want the POTUS doing peyote with his/her hand on the button.  I don’t want a women running for POTUS to refer to her UNELECTED and unelectable spouse for matters of policy because of their religion.

Until recently the Bachmanns were WELS Lutheran.  She quit her church when it was politically expedient.  Repeatedly her family has said that she was “submissive” to her husband.  That’s fine, as long as she is NOT the President of the United States of America.   She is part of this culture.

“...I am in the odd position of having the strongest leadership personality type possible, and yet I am a woman committed to the biblical pattern of male leadership. After years of feminism and dominating, believe me, I knew exactly what I was doing when I gave that up. I have tried to channel what I know intuitively about leadership into building up the men in my life…”

Religious Dispatches

“…Female self-abnegation is a core principle of the growing “Quiverfull” contingent of the Evangelical community’s “Biblical Family Values” movement which calls upon submissive wives to stay at home to conceive and birth large quantities of  ”foot soldiers for Jesus” to advance the Kingdom of God on earth.

The little “i” on THE FAMiLY LEADER’s website caught my eye immediately because, as a former Quiverfull believer, I have been there, done that.  I lived the lifestyle of submission and prolific motherhood for nearly two decades, producing seven “arrows” (children) to fill my patriarchal husband’s “quiver” – the means by which fundamentalist Quiverfull Christians intend to take back America for God.

Burnout, combined with what small flicker of self-preservation I had left, finally forced me to abandon the “Biblical Family” vision which had consumed my life until there was practically no recognizable “ME” left at all….”

There are rules that appear to be quite nice, debt free, strong children, perfect home…. but?

The Reality Check

Their life is irrational – the life of someone in a cult. If my mother had been a devote to their barbaric practices, neither one of us would be alive.

“…While not all Quiverfull believers agree that medical decisions and labor need be left solely up to God, the shared language of reliance on God and suspicion of experts points to the anti-establishment or “agrarian,” off-the-grid ethos of many believers. It’s fertile ground for home birthing to flourish as a sub-movement of Quiverfull families hoping to make the birthing experience a part of the productive, independent home where husbands learn how to “catch the babies” themselves, both saving money and demonstrating their faith. A number of Quiverfull families follow a similar arc (as had Garrison) graduating from conventional hospital births—often where mothers felt pushed into a birth plan they didn’t desire—to midwife-assisted births at home, to the final challenge of unattended home births. It’s a logical extreme of the movement whose naturalistic bent actually overlaps with the back-to-the-land, new age counterculture in some ways, with Quiverfull moms staking out their territory of natural pregnancy in the odd company of feminist doulas and naturopaths, opposed as they are to high rates of hospital C-sections.

The Quiverfull Fringe: Caesarean-Sections Deliver Babies unto Caesar—and Through Him, Satan

Although unassisted childbirth is not at all limited to Quiverfull believers, the practice has certainly been taken up by the community, where the refrain to surrender oneself to God, to lean not on one’s own understanding but to trust and obey, take on a particularly literal meaning when it comes to the body. This birthing refrain includes many of the core concepts found elsewhere in the movement, which stresses that God will take care of his flock if they put utter and complete faith in Him….”

The problem is this sort of thing is gaining mainstream approval.

Religion Dispatches

The large families often live in substandard situations, but they are doing God’s will, right?

No Longer Quivering

You want more?

No Longer Quivering

To The Pink Flamingo, what is being done to the daughters is basically abuse.

“...What MommyMidwife didn’t mention is that the Quiverfull way is more than choosing to reject birth control and having as many children “as the Lord blesses” a couple with. It’s a patriarchal lifestyle of seclusion from modern society.

The husband/father is the prime authority figure and the wife/mother/daughters must submit to his authority. They homeschool practically universally, for religious reasons, and usually birth at home.

The father is typically self-employed, running a family business, and homesteading or living off the land is not uncommon especially if the family lives in a rural area. College education seems to be looked down upon, especially for the daughters.

Daughters are expected to be married off soon after the completion of their basic education by a young “Godly” man who “asks her hand” in marriage and has the approval of her father. The females dress “modestly” which means no pants or shorts but long dresses or skirts, and they keep their hair long.

A lot of these families do home church as well, probably because they have trouble fitting in a modern congregation, even if it’s Evangelical. Those that do attend a church seem to be of the Fundamentalist persuasion, though there are Quiverfull adherents that hail from across the board of Christianity.

It is a backlash against feminism towards the other extreme, and seems like a lifestyle that is at odds with, and deliberately so, the “seven mountains” of (modern) culture: arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media, and religion….”

Bachmann Counseling

I think I’m going to go throw up!

How does Michele Bachmann fit into all of this?

There are rumors, hints that she has the tacit approval of the Quiverfull movement, that’s she is one of them.  What we do know is that, in the past, she has willingly admitted that she believes in submitting to her husband’s better judgement.  That’s not just respect, it is above and beyond what a woman in public office should be doing.  Pillow talk is one thing, this is another.

What The Pink Flamingo has shown today is the extreme of the wifely submission movement.  No, Michele Bachmann is not this bad, but she is a small part of it.

As a Christian I find it deplorable.  As a Republican, I am seething.

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