I’m a political junky. While I have no idea what season of Survivor we are now witnessing, nor even where such people are surviving, I can tell you when Mark Shields and David Brooks offer their assessments of the week’s political developments (Friday evenings midway through the PBS News Hour). I only know the name Kardashian because it is impossible NOT to hear the name, but I don’t know anything more than it is ubiquitous in American pop culture. On the other hand, I religiously watch Rachel Maddow and occasionally Fox News to get the “fair and balanced” perspective (ahem).
Even though I spend way too much time listening to political news, I seldom post on FB about my political leanings, figuring many if not most of my friends really don’t care to know. And that’s ok. I probably don’t want to know too much about their political allegiances, either.
So, if you are looking for me to say something about who deserves your vote in this post, I fear you will largely be disappointed. Still, because of our research for If Eve Only Knew I may have some information that could be useful, especially to women planning to vote in our upcoming primaries.
Earlier this month, Republican candidate Marco Rubio announced his Religious Liberty Advisory Board. This fifteen member panel is composed of a well-known mega-church pastor, some academics, even a non-Christian. Some could say it is surprisingly diverse. Unless, of course, gender is any consideration.
Rubio, perhaps sharing some similarity with former candidate Mitt Romney, needs more assistance locating skilled women who can advise him because in this list of fifteen people chosen for their expertise in all things religious, only one woman made the cut: Kelly Fiedorek, legal counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom.
I suppose one could say this dearth of women among Rubio’s Advisory council is an oversight on his part (this hardly seems possible) and given another chance, he might see the wisdom of locating a few women (he might ask Romney to borrow his “binder of women”). On the other hand, maybe women—and those who are concerned that political leaders are held accountable as representing all segments of our population—should give Rubio’s choices further scrutiny.
A member of Rubio’s Board is Wayne Grudem, a professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary. Grudem represents a movement within Christianity that urges women to resist working outside of the home while encouraging them to see their primary responsibilities as those of mother and wife. Grudem and an organization he helped create—The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood—have worked relentlessly to jettison feminism, claiming it is antithetical to Christian teaching. This way of seeing the Bible not only limits women so that they feel guilty about developing themselves as whole persons, it puts limits on the ways God works in the world.
Maybe Marco Rubio did not vet Grudem as much as he should have. On the other hand, perhaps this kind of patriarchal vision is in keeping with Rubio’s convictions. Either way, I’d think all primary voters should take the members of Rubio’s advisory board seriously. A democracy is built upon the necessity of doing so.
For more on Grudem and the Complementarian movement, see Chapter 6, Setting Captives Free, of If Eve Only Knew.