Right-wing voices have loudly opposed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but Religious Right figures are opposing her specifically because she is a woman. Several Religious Right commentators have either questioned the right of a woman to hold political office, or stated that female political leaders are a result of weak men who cannot lead. This rhetoric helps them justify their disdain for Hillary Clinton, but also reveals their insecurities about powerful women.
Christian Patriarchy Movement enthusiast Kevin Swanson has used Hillary Clinton's campaign as an excuse to spout even more misogynist, paranoid drivel. During the July 31st edition of Generations Radio entitled "The Hillary Clinton Script: 20 Years of Cultural Programming", Kevin Swanson spouted bizarre conspiracy theories before implying that female political leaders lead to failure. According to Swanson, the effort to bring Hillary Clinton to power has been in the works for thirty years. The "Hillary Clinton propaganda machine" embedded in pop culture has produced television shows, gospel songs, and children's books inspired by Hillary Clinton and intended to prime voters to vote for her, he claimed. Pop culture leaders serve as "emissaries for principalities and powers" who have been preparing the public to vote for her through shows such as 24, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Supergirl, Scandal, and other shows, Swanson said.
The goal of all these alleged machinations, according to Swanson, is to promote a narrative of a wife winning a power struggle against her adulterous husband by becoming president. At the 22:33 mark, Swanson and his co-host Dave Buehner painted Hillary Clinton's campaign as an attempt by feminists to seize control over the land. Buehner strongly implied that Clinton was behaving like Eve, seeking to take the rightful place of man.
SWANSON: On the one hand, the nation embraces a sexual decadence. On the other hand, the feminists who themselves rather appreciate free love, sexual impurity and adultery, but they don’t appreciate the fact that a woman was taken advantage of. Therefore, in order for [Hillary Clinton] to be vindicated, she has got to prove herself by winning the power struggle over the highest office in the land. This is what defines America today.Swanson cited Isaiah 3:12 ("Children oppress my people; women rule over them"), before suggesting that female leaders bring about national failure at the 24:01 mark.
BUEHNER: You know, it's interesting, because you go back to the Garden of Eden, and what's the desire of the woman? To take the man's place.
SWANSON. Yeah. And that's feminism's greatest victory. If they can achieve the ultimate zenith of power, this will become the final chapter, in a sense, of the present war that feminists have waged over this nation.
"It's interesting that the three Western nations, the three most powerful western nations will be lead by women if Hillary Clinton is elected as president of the United States. Think about Germany, England, and America. What were the three most powerful nations in the west during World War II? Germany, England, and America. Now, we find the three most powerful nations in the western world ... that are themselves birth imploding, thanks to the feminists and the pro-abortion crowd ... and developing an impressive debt-to-GDP ratio, and doing the best to destroy their entire socioeconomic systems, the three most powerful Western nations led by women, it’s interesting."In other words, Swanson sees female politicians as not only destructive to entire nations, but as agents of some grand feminist power-grab. His crushing fear of independent women really shines through!
Bryan Fischer is no stranger to misogyny, and in a recent show, he laid out his sexism for all to see. At the 45:50 mark of the August 12th edition of Focal Point, a caller named Jeremy asked Fischer, "What do you think would happen to a man if he went on national TV and said he was voting for Trump because Trump is a man?". Fischer argued that women holding political office is unbiblical. When women held power in the Bible, it was either reluctantly (in Deborah's case) or as a prelude to failure (in Jezebel and Athaliah's case), he insisted. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"I think you could make a pretty good biblical case. That's what I happen to believe, you know. I'm not saying there's one verse in the Bible you could go to that says definitively that only men are supposed to hold political office, but that's always the pattern in the word of God. The kings were all males. When you had a departure from that with Jezebel and Athaliah, it was not a good thing. It did not work out well. Leadership in the church is reserved for men. Leadership in the home is reserved for men. In other words, in God's economy, he has designed leadership and authority in society, and in the church, and in the home to be exercised by men.
You had one female judge. That was Deborah, and she only got sucked into that because the men were such wimps... I think you could make a good case that leadership in culture, society, politically as well as in the home, that that is something in God's economy that's reserved for men."
During the August 3rd edition of Focus Today, American Pastors Network president Sam Rohrer told host Perry Atkinson that many Christians he knew were asking if Hillary Clinton was fit to lead as a woman. At the 0:52 mark, they had this to say. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
ATKINSON: Is it biblical for a woman to become president? Why are you taking this on? What's your interest here?The fact that they're even having this conversation in 2016 boggles the mind.
ROHRER: Well, we covered it on our program because a lot of folks, many Christians ... say 'You know what? Is Hillary Clinton fit to be president?' And I would answer that 'no', she's not for a lot of reasons, but then some would bring up and say, but is it because she is a woman? And because that issue is so seldom talked about ... The scripture does refer to it, Perry, so we did ...
At the 1:47 mark, Rohrer argued that God calls up women to lead when men display gross incompetence and negligence. He saw nothing sexist about the assumption that men should be the default political leaders and that women can only serve as substitutes when men are weak.
"No, it's not unbiblical for a woman to be in a position of leadership in government, but I say that with a caveat, Perry, because God has an order for things, not because of superiority of one over the other, but because of order. We're told in ... Isaiah 3:8, it talks there when God is judging Israel, because the leadership actually had walked away, making good evil, declaring evil to be good, the protectors of God's law were letting it slip, they rejected all that God had said for them to do as a matter of civil government and God's moral government, and so bad things were happening to the country ... It was a mark of the lack of male leadership in positions to which God had called them. They rejected who God was, they departed, walking away from him, and I think we can draw the parallels to our country, obviously ... God said, 'And women shall be rulers over you.' And that's where a lot of the context comes from, that that's an anathema.
The point here was that God did raise up women. We know he raised up Deborah in the Old Testament when male leadership failed ... God does raise up women. There is no question about it, but the real condemnation is not the women in office. The condemnation is the disregard and the absolute inability for male leadership to perform as God intended it, and I believe that that's the application for us now."
Gary Dull, head of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network and a member of the American Pastors Network's board, also sneers at female political leaders. During the July 28th edition of Stand in the Gap Today, Dull argued that women should not be in authority over men. Citing Isaiah 3:12, Dull argued that female leaders are either a symptom or a cause of a "spiritually rotten" culture at the 34:12 mark. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"When you read down through the context of Isaiah chapter 3, you will find that God's judgment is being brought upon Jerusalem and the nation ... What we see is that the condition in that nation in that particular period of time was very, very spiritually rotten, and whether that was the cause for women leading them, or that itself brought on the wickedness within the nation is to be debated, but it certainly does at least imply that maybe women should not be in high political positions ... There are other places in the word of God where it appears that a woman is not to be having authority over man. That is not diminishing the position of the woman ...
In God's line of authority, chain of authority, it seems very clear in the scripture that a woman should not be in authority over man, which would limit a woman from being the president of the United States of America or even a queen of some other particular nation."
Hilariously, Stand in the Gap Today's male commentators had been falling over themselves just a few minutes earlier as they insisted that Christianity affirmed women's rights. "Wherever Christianity has gone, the rights of women have been championed. Women have always fared better in Christian countries where the teachings of Christ were honored," David New claimed.
When one remembers that both the Old and New Testaments are full of misogynist content, that early Christians had no qualms about enslaving both men and women, that countless church fathers held women in utter contempt, that Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions barred women from leadership roles, that women frequently endured oppression under Christian regimes, and that modern Christian traditions are by no means immune to misogyny, one sees that New's claim is ridiculous. As if New's statement wasn't silly enough on its own, he made it during a show that seriously questioned whether a woman could be a political leader. The lack of self-awareness is astonishing.
Misogynist rhetoric like this is not only bigoted, but dangerous. Several Religious Right activists are actually arguing that women should not serve as leaders in the American political system. Some fundamentalist men genuinely believe that women's contributions to the political sphere are unnecessary or even harmful. They ignore the right of women as American citizens to participate in politics, both as voters and candidates. They ignore the many advances that female politicians have brought about, and the many female politicians who have served honorably.
We should not only condemn their sexism, but laugh at their insecurity. These men are clinging to a patriarchal belief system because they cannot cope with a world in which women are striving for equality. Their masculinity is so bound up in domination of women that they become defensive and dismissive when faced with the prospect of a female president. If Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 presidential election, expect their whining to be loud and petulant.