What’s in the Word “Submission”?

16 08 2011

Not for us. We KNOW what we’re being forced to submit to. No, let’s think about what’s in the word submission as a choice, as in “choose submission” and then live by it, learn through it, lead under it even. It’s that last part I find interesting — how, when, why and most importantly to whom does a Chosen Leader of the Free World willingly submit the nation and people being led?

(In the UK, the answer apparently is to Rupert Murdoch.)

Sarah Posner is the senior editor of Religion Dispatches, where she writes about politics. She is also the author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters (PoliPoint Press, 2008):

It’s common for Christian politicians questioned about their adherence to submission theology to dodge a scriptural explanation, as Bachmann did. After all, while dominionist-minded evangelicals like Bachmann intentionally set out to bring their “biblical worldview” into politics, they recognize that it’s bad 21st century politics — especially for a female candidate . . .

. . .[I]f Bachmann had explained her interpretation of the theology, we would have gotten a lesson in far more than her relationship with Marcus. We would have received greater insight into what her “biblical worldview” means for her understanding of law and policy.

This has been the year of casting government as family as a way to understand our money problems.

The President of the United States plays the leading man role as head of household for a nation playing out as a traditional married couple with children to educate and aging parents to care for, bills to pay including a mortgage and credit card debt, praying for salvation through hard work and interpreting everything good or bad as god’s will and other people as getting just what they deserve, good or bad.

So candidates to head our national family bring their “family values” to the campaign pictures they paint, putting forward the vision of how they would parent us, whether they’ll help us through a good college (of our choice or theirs?) and into good jobs; how and whether they’ll care for Grandma and the neighbors when they grow too old or sick for making it all alone, set curfews, block our cell phones and computers, decide our mates and control our family planning; what “submission” to their leadership will be extracted from all of us on pain of what “discipline” . . .

So I say it’s worth a good deal of trouble for Thinking Parents actually raising families and paying bills, educating kids and caring for each other the best ways we can as the economy punishes us all for not being the corporate criminals so richly rewarded in the current secular theology, to understand way beyond Stepford sound bites what every word these candidates utter REALLY means.

To them!

Because that’s what will determine what those words will mean to us, should we collectively choose (or somehow be tricked or terrified into) submitting to them.



45 responses

16 08 2011

Btw, biblical submission is how the Pearls keep winding up in the news. Wonder if anyone will dare ask Bachmann how she redefines and explains THAT.

16 08 2011

What an important point: We need to understand what the words mean *to the candidates* who use them. Some of us may know that a woman like Bachmann is not using the term (wifely) “submission” to mean (mutual) “respect” (despite her claims this week); but too many don’t have a strong enough understanding of “biblical worldview” dogma to see through her attempts to obfuscate. It’s frustrating – and a bit frightening actually.

16 08 2011

History has taught me [up close and personal] that even if you know what they mean and repeat what the mean, verbatim from their own literature and media, that if it doesn’t suit their purpose in the moment, these people will lie.

“I am submissive to my husband but not subservient.” I smell a handler speaking there. If you are not subservient, then you have not submitted. Sub means to bow down to, to defer to, to take orders from.

Subordinate, Superior. Ask me how I know–I am used to be in the military. So if you submit, then you are taking orders from a superior as a subordinate.

hmmmmmm. Bachman should refrain from playing word games with the people. She clearly sucks at it.

16 08 2011

I am used to be [LOL] MORE COFFEE! I need more caffeine. Sorry about the typos, Sometimes the brain goes faster than the fingers can comply. This is especially true when I get excited when typing about TEH Crazies!

16 08 2011
Nance Confer

And if she’s not playing word games, she’s just outright lying —


16 08 2011

For believers in Dominionism, rule by non-Christians is a sort of sacrilege.
. . .“ it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice … It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time … World conquest.”

A Christian Plot for Domination?
Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry aren’t just devout—both have deep ties to a fringe fundamentalist movement known as Dominionism, which says Christians should rule the world.

Aug 14, 2011 10:51 PM EDT

16 08 2011

She’s also a beard. I’m sure you’ve seen her so straight husband Marcus. I’m really not a fan of that sort of homosexual, so I try not to watch him, and I like my sanity enough to not watch her unless I need to feel her hatred steel me, kind of like a vaccine that exposes you to a dead virus so that your body can get the schematics and be ready to fuck up the flu should it show up. Plus that whole “know your enemy” thing is worth remembering. Even my broken gaydar pings a tinny little ping when I look at him. He’s certainly not god’s prettiest little angel though, bless his heart.

16 08 2011

Its nice to see others catch on to what Dominionism entails. I have been watching it for years. You try to explain it to people but they don’t believe you, they cannot conceive of it, because they imagine all the nice people they go to church with or nice Christians they know, and they sort of imagine that niceness is indicative of every aspect of the Body of Christ. I have news for the world. Christians are no different than any other group, and so they have their militants and their extremists, their frauds and charlatans, and crazies, just like everyone else. And they are fallible human beings, just like everyone else.

17 08 2011

Sam, let me ask you’n to synthesize your insight into both provocative undergrounds, conflicted gay and conflicted evangelical: is it fair to wonder if electing Submissive Wife to Marcus the Closeted, would give America a gay GOP president by proxy? God to Marcus to Michele to the Foster Kids Formerly Known as American Citizens . . .

17 08 2011

“A person who never makes mistakes spends a lot of time covering up things that never happened.” That is the impression I get from most candidates but most especially from the Bachmans.

17 08 2011
Nance Confer

So we’re going to have our first gay President? By proxy and closeted but . . . progress?

17 08 2011

Two thoughts:

1) we almost certainly had a couple of gay and closeted presidents before now, including one I remember reading about who had his companion living (thinly veiled) in the White House, but I’ll have to look that up later if Sam doesn’t know, and

2) considering the monstrosity of gay conversion he calls medical-reimbursement worthy as public policy already, do we REALLY think this particular gay president-by-dominion would be history to cheer? What treatments would he command the submissive tit-ular president to inflict on the populace?

17 08 2011

Oh barf!

come on, you were all thinking it too!

Imagine what they would do to women who were too manly or men who were too feminine [by their screwed up standards] are they going to pray that away too?

People like that turn everything into a Witch-Hunt. Meaning that whatever it is that they don’t like this month, that even the suspicion is enough to tar and feather you for life with their nasty assumptions.


18 08 2011
Nance Confer

OK, fine. No closeted, pray-away-the-gay guy in the WH by proxy. Geesh. . . 🙂

We do still have a black guy there and that’s radical enough for most of the country, I guess. Now if he’d only do something radical.

18 08 2011

All I know is, the harder my parents cracked down, the harder I rebelled.

18 08 2011

Nance and I just wandered into “what’s in a name” talk on the Jessica Alba thread, the gist of which is about the words and story we use to try to change minds and behavior:

So use one aspect of their ignorance to manipulate them about another? Is that jujitsu? Or just sneaky-sneaky?

. . .Wow, that’s the pithiest description of excellent editorial writing I’ve seen! 😉

The idea of formal debate and all public policy work from journalism to government to education, is to learn and think and develop powerful ideas and understandings you really believe in, and then to engage and persuade others with those ideas and understandings.

Nance has so often stood strong here for FACTS and I have to laugh (while crying inside) because I’m old enough to remember a time when objective reality was universally agreed to be the clearly marked boundaries of the playing field, didn’t have to defended and argued over, and any “fact error” even stepping out of bounds with one toe, drew the sudden death penalty like a Godwin’s Law for Lying: use any false fact in your argument, violate the rules of evidence in the court of public opinion and it’s automatically over, you lose.

But facts were just the hard deck of our rhetorical “Top Gun” dogfight school, the non-negotiable safety floor below which it is Game Over as if you had literally crashed and burned. There was still the whole rhetorical sky to maneuver in above that Fact Floor and that was endlessly engaging! May the best minds win.

That’s what we try to focus on here, as a Top Gun for Thinking Parents. 😉

So one ace at engaging and splashing enemy arguers is Dr. Frank Luntz, a mercenary pilot who flies for money, usually against causes I fly for (he’s on FOX a lot.) He is dangerous, highly skilled and well-equipped for battle. Here’s what he’s flying this season.

P.S. Here’s his (yes, creepy and contentless) Jedi mind trick interview with Stephen Colbert last night.

18 08 2011

When Sam called Michele Bachmann a beard (remember what fun we had with that word btw??) he gave me the idea of these Luntz-tested words as beards for candidates, shields against anyone penetrating their real meaning and identity, which as a subculture they know mainstream society has long condemned.

So they grow word-beards to cover up their true expressions, the better to soothe and lull us into accepting them as not deviant or threatening. They “pass” . . .

The bearded gay wasn’t actually trying to take over society and make it all live gay, right? Gayocracy isn’t a word! But the bearded right-wing fringe is doing just that and in fact, some of us well above the hard deck of demonstrable reality might argue that it already is well on its way to winning that battle.

18 08 2011

Oh you bring back memories for me JJ. Back when I was an emerging scholar and debate was just as you said. Stark, impersonal, concrete, and deep.

I soon discovered upon re-entry of the “real” world, that most people couldn’t hand that kind of debate under any circumstances. That it quickly degenerated into name calling or worse.

Now I feel as if I live inside a Domonionist acid trip. I never know what the happy little elves of self inflicted apocalyptic destruction are going to say today. Or if it will mean anything to me outside of *their bizarre dream-world.

18 08 2011

Jeez, please forgive me, on my second sip of coffee. Dominionism, Handle, I can actually spell those words and sometimes even type them.

18 08 2011

Lynne said: All I know is, the harder my parents cracked down, the harder I rebelled.

I’ve had that idea on my mind lately, not just about parenting a la Alba but politically, watching Congress deteriorate into dysfunction, the Arab Spring and UK riots, the common wisdom that Gitmo and Abu Ghraib maltreatment e.g. creates rather than combats terrorists, etc. And none of us is immune from going sour when society becomes one big bad barrel.

I saw a study recently about dictators, does anyone know what I mean and maybe have it handy? The finding was that looser fists liker Putin can last forever but tighter fists must fall because revolt is inevitable. I’ve been thinking a lot about whether overreach from bearded True Believers overturning our established government as front men for the conspiratorial oligarchy of the past 30 years, will perhaps inspire that revolt sooner than they had hoped, before the coup is quite locked down.

Wisconsin and Ohio this week would seem to suggest hope.

18 08 2011

Btw, Beep keeps bringing coffee into this so here’s a little story I just saw, in which figuring out reality to uplift everyone’s understanding (instead of using it as a weapon to degrade and exploit humanity) is the Power! 😀

Scientists Crack the Physics of Coffee Rings:

“At some level it was a curiosity, but then, actually, there’s a lot of interesting physics about why it happens,” Yodh says. And there are practical applications that go beyond coffee.

Yep. I personally plan to have some political fun with this part!

“. . .you’d rather make it uniform than to make it all congregate to the edge.”

18 08 2011

Something else fun today: What’s in the Word “Woot”?

Or maybe I should say, guess what the word woot is in? 😉

18 08 2011

n00b is the electronic version of *newbie [notice the word new] because using the prefix *neo would just be too elitist.

I am unsure what the purpose of cewebrity is unless it involves Barbara WaWa from SNL.

Cankles–had my brush with those. Yikes! Family Guy covered the subject of Cankles in an episode involving Bill Clinton as a beauty contest judge for rubenesque women. Sexism is a many splendored thing.

18 08 2011

I guess it would be someone who is famous on the “web” –ce-web-brity?

19 08 2011

Circling back from the newest words to old words — bible words like submission and what they mean to political people demanding they rule our supposedly modern and diverse not-theocracy — someone just sent me a list of eleven bible verses with equal word-of-god standing yet never submitted to by these same literalist believers.

It’s just incomprehensible to us that people get so zealous about that issue that they’ll go as far as to murder doctors who perform abortions and bomb abortion clinics [and quote Leviticus 18:22 :“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination”]. The conversation then took its natural turn to selective, self-serving interpretations of the Bible…

So let’s see, we could call their bible-based picking and choosing which meanings to submit to and which to ignore, um — Selective Self-Service! Think I could get that in the next dictionary update? 😉

Otherwise true bible literalists like Rick Perry, the Bachmanns and Sarah Palin, say, would believe that Palin’s own grandson and all his future descendents are forever banned from their prayers, church and communal faith, no Rapture for them, nope, Left Behind in the hereafter and here and now too, no celebrity career with the FOXy Gee Oh TEA — “Deuteronomy 23:2 reads, ‘No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord.’

19 08 2011

Btw I saw Palin had another grandchild just the other day — her son Track’s wife gave birth to a healthy full-term baby girl after marrying Track three months ago. I remember in the 2008 media frenzy trying to learn more about Palin, that Track as her firstborn arrived only seven months after she married.

I’m not the one who advocates abstinence only as divine command of course. What I can’t figure out is how these folks can, and still claim to literally believe every word.

19 08 2011

To wifely “submission” — saw this from a few years back looking for something else. It reminds me not all professing Christians view marriage and family the Bachmann way. For example in this comment I was noticing how the current president and his wife define with the way they actually live — not with anyone’s submission! — the loving mutual respect Bachmann claims but does not embody, in what we see of her private marriage or her public politics:

I read something pretty wonderful this afternoon from a Bill Moyers interview around inauguration time.

A couple of highly accomplished black female professionals explained that one of the best indications for them to the priorities of this administration, was (not small donors or anti-Iraq war but) looking at the woman our new president had chosen for his wife — a fabulous woman as tall as he, as smart as he, and also unmistakably “black” even at a distance, so that there could be no doubt how he viewed the full partnership of that community, not just in America but as part of his own identity and his young daughters’ too.

Video here

Transcript here

They go on with some interesting thoughts about how one of the big changes is that now, Barack Obama isn’t Martin Luther King, but LBJ! So he needs others to be his Kings . . .

20 08 2011

HuffPo adds this to our understanding of words used about Bachmann, from the week’s campaign trail:

” . . . probably the worst possible headline in the world: “Bachmann Staffer Once Accused Of Terrorism.” The staffer in question is Peter E. Waldron, who was “arrested on charges of terrorism in Uganda.” What was this guy doing in Uganda? Glad you asked!

A deeply religious born-again Christian, Waldron traveled to Uganda in 2004 to sell HIV-monitoring computer software to the government and preach on the weekends. There, he attended and was featured in the Church services of Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, “the prominent supporter of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which calls for the death penalty for LGBT people under certain circumstances.”

That also explains why he’s part of the Bachmann campaign!

21 08 2011

Yea, that’s not crazy and evil at all! So basically this guy not only supports killing homosexuals {see Chalcedon Foundation and their weird doctrine} but he also advocates helping a government spy/track it’s own citizens for the purposes of weeding out the undesirables { because only gay people get AIDS doncha know!}.

But I bet if, in this country it were proposed that the CDC started keeping records of children who are not immunized on schedule or at all, that this dude would give himself an anyeurism, and then go on a tirade about the Nanny state and black helicopters.

If you monitor suspected gay people, are you then going to monitor other suspected heretics and apostates? Infidels? False prophets? Rival gurus? Political adversaries? I mean where does he draw the line and who get’s to implement said line?

26 08 2011
Asking Candidates About Their Faith (and Extraterrestrial) Beliefs « Cocking A Snook!

[…] up after the GOP debate controversy around asking Rep. Bachmann about the implications of her bible-based wifely submission beliefs should she become President: This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important […]

14 09 2011

My Take: Don’t be fooled by candidates’ God talk:

Even candidates who might not be expected to try their hands at confessional politics have orchestrated come-to-Jesus moments.

15 09 2011

It’s so sad that they feel they have to feed us this crap to get elected.

15 09 2011

(Cock of the snook for this to Daryl.)

Here’s first-hand, real (ruined) life evidence of what’s in the word “submission” educationally and politicaly: submission means women are subservient to men on earth and in heaven, and that what their god and men command is that their wives and daughters raise up warriors against the rest of us — not just in spiritual matters but in secular voting and all of society, because there is no separation at all:

My Life as a Daughter in the Christian Patriarchy Movement — How I Was Taught to Obey Men, Birth 8 Kids and Do Battle Against Secular America

Taken together, these beliefs comprise a comprehensive worldview that gives those within it a sense of purpose and provides simple answers to complex problems. It can be very attractive. While the world is a complicated place, Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull explain exactly what your role is and what you must do to please God and carry out his will. It provides you with a formula for raising perfect children and upholds order and hierarchy. You know what your role is, what you are to do, and where you are going.

One last point to make is that evangelicals believe essentially the same things as the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, they just don’t take it to the same extreme. Evangelicals believe that husbands are to to be their wives’ spiritual heads, but in practice their marriages are generally fairly egalitarian. Evangelicals believe that children are a blessing, but in moderation. Evangelicals believe that children should receive a godly education, but most of them send their children to public schools. Evangelicals believe that adult unmarried daughters should honor their parents and listen to their advice, but they don’t expect them to always obey it. Evangelicals believe that men and women are different, and that children need their mothers at home, but most evangelical women work outside the home. Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull simply take these beliefs to their natural – and radical – conclusions.

Perhaps now you have a better understanding of the world of Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull and the minds of those within it. While some like me leave, many stay. I watch my younger sisters echo my parents’ beliefs, speaking of the importance and protection of fatherly authority and planning to eschew birth control entirely, and my heart breaks.

15 09 2011

Nance, I’m thinking the point to note about why they spout this stuff to get elected, is that they do it when it works. Rick Perry was a quick and easy convert to public patriarchy from Al Gore ally, because it works now.

15 09 2011

And here’s what Rick Perry says now about why he turned to religion (something he is saying because he wants to be elected President on the strength of it, remember) — “What I learned as I wrestled with God is that I didn’t have to have all the answers, that they would be revealed to me in due time, and that I needed to trust him.”

Well there you go. It’s the perfect, airtight slamdunk for him, all through campaign season! Hey, it doesn’t matter if I know what I’m talking about or have any workable ideas or any proof for the wild claims and boasts I am making. I don’t speak for myself; I am just channeling divine knowledge and directions and prophecy. If it doesn’t make sense or it terrifies you or sounds vengeful or anything else worrisome, well, that’s God!

15 09 2011

Speaking of what is in words, I like what’s in the serious grown-up real-world words of former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who showed up on Morning Joe today:

“Our gridlock has gotten us into a situation where we’re in for a tough period. This society has the capacity for self-renewal and reflection, but we are going through right now kind of a lunatic phase in our policies and politics, with our putative presidential candidates. It’s literally frightening — these people are living in some sort of a Neverland of illusions, slogans, passions, convictions — very unrelated to reality.”

15 09 2011

I call it the Societal-Bad-Hair-Century since this has obviously stretched out way further than a decade.

Although I wonder how long the Decade of the Rubber Truck Nuts is going to last.

Rubber Truck Nuts Century? The symbol of contrived impotent rage?

15 09 2011

As for Rick Perry–I don’t vote for people who hear voices.

You notice how easy it is to invoke the genius of the dead and the godly?

None of them live on this earthly plane and you don’t have to worry whether or not anyone sees your lips moving.

15 09 2011

Do You Speak Christian?

How politicians speak Christian
Have you ‘named it and claimed it’?
What’s at stake

. . . not only knowing the words, but understanding them,” Borg says. “It’s knowing the basic vocabulary, knowing the basic stories.”

When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means . . .

Christianity’s focus has long been about ushering in God’s kingdom “on Earth, not just in heaven,” Borg says.

“Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better,” he writes.

For now, though, Borg and others are also focusing on changing how Christians talk about their faith. . .

“[Jesus Christ] used stories, parables and metaphors,” Leonard says. “He communicated in images that both the religious folks and nonreligious folks of his day understand.”

When Christians develop their own private language for one another, they forget how Jesus made faith accessible to ordinary people, he says.

“Speaking Christian can become a way of suggesting a kind of spiritual status that others don’t have,” he says. “It communicates a kind of spiritual elitism that holds the spiritually ‘unwashed’ at arm’s length.”

By that time, they’ve reached the final stage of speaking Christian – they’ve become spiritual snobs.

26 09 2011

Just came across an older comment that fits here:

[At six years old enduring attempted rape] I lived in a very religious world in which I already understood that a man’s word was much more valuable than a woman’s, and an adults word was much more valuable than a child’s.

. . . I was already socialized in a feminine role, and knew that it was better to live with something painful than to inconvenience or embarrass someone else.

And I was socialized into a very patriarchal religious context in which men spoke and women listened and tried to find a way to be at peace with the decisions men made.

26 09 2011

Actually JJ, it is still that way. Society makes it very clear that it does not appreciate it when awkward stories like that are told outside the movie theater or trashy novel. Because then all sorts of other awkward questions come up:

Such as how to stigmatize the survivor without looking like an asshole.

This serves a purpose. A person who bears the stigma of rape, are separate from the rest of the people. It lends the idea that it can never happen to those regular people too. Otherwise they too would bear the mark of those who should neither be protected nor believed.

You know those people who were asking for it.
Looking like they do.
Perhaps they were alone with [gasp] a man.
or had a stiff drink
Or had otherwise committed some act out there in the world that indicated that boundaries need not be respected in their presence.

Regular society does this. The kind of places your other commenter referred to–they just don’t do it quietly.

26 09 2011

Sadly I am all too aware of the framing that takes place in certain religious circles.


And it is refreshing to see that I am not the only one who sees it clearly. But sadly I think we might be in the minority.

30 09 2011

(crossposted under No Perfect Protection for Our Kids But We Can Do Better.)

A biblical god no thinking parent can believe in:

“… as evangelicals, the Pearls believe that salvation only comes through punishment and pain. God punishes his Son with crucifixion so that humanity might not have to face the Father’s anger. This image of God the father, for whom violence is an expression of tough love, is lodged deep in the evangelical imagination. And it twists a religion of forgiveness and compassion into something dark and cruel.”

25 10 2011
What’s in the Word “Exile” in Marco Rubio’s Proud Power of Story? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] close, after all, not as much of a stretch as a flamboyantly gay-seeming “doctor” profiting from a gay-curing clinic, I […]

1 06 2013

Keep in mind Jimmy Carter’s treatise on what women’s submission means in practice, as defined by the men who demand it:

This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives.

. . .The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. . . . During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets.

It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.

This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

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