Rick Perry’s new adviser has suggested that God isn’t #ReadyForHillary. Technically, he’s right.

On Wednesday, Rick Perry’s political action committee, RickPAC, announced that it has hired Jamie Johnson to be its senior director in advance of Perry’s likely presidential run.

Johnson previously served as Rick Santorum’s Iowa coalitions director in 2012, where he was perhaps most notable for an email he had previously written claiming a female president would put children’s lives at risk. As he wrote: “The question then comes, ‘Is it God’s highest desire, that is, his biblically expressed will…to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state?'”

The email became part of what Michelle Bachmann’s campaign construed as an openly misogynistic climate in Iowa religious circles — one of the many, many reasons her campaign crashed and burned.

When the email surfaced, Johnson, who is an ordained minister, walked it back, saying that it did not represent the Santorum campaign. As NBC reported at the time:

“I was sharing my personal reflections with a friend through my private email account -– not the campaign account,” Johnson said. “They were reflections on over 25 years of formal, theological study” based in “classical Christian doctrine.”

So while he didn’t mean to imply that Rick Santorum and Rick Perry aren’t ready for a female president, he did mean to imply that God isn’t. He just didn’t want anyone else to know about it.

That makes sense. You see, while the misogynistic passages of the Bible make for bad politics, they’re still, you know, in there.

From Genesis 2:20-22 — where God waits for Adam to finish naming all of the animals, then knocks him out and surgically removes one of his ribs to make Eve — all the way through to Revelation 19 — where the people rejoice over the fall of the “great prostitute” that is Babylon — the Good Book goes out of its way to place women below men.

Here is a small sample of the New Testament’s greatest sexist hits, all from after Jesus is introduced:

  • Jesus says that divorce is OK if the wife cheats, but is mum on what the rules are if the husband does (Matthew 5:32)
  • Jesus tells his followers that he will reward them for leaving their wives and children (Mark 10:29-30)
  • Every man is holy to the Lord, but again, no word on whether women are (Luke: 2:23)
  • Jesus tells Mary Magdalene not to touch him, because touching a woman before he ascends to heaven would make him unclean, or something (John 20:17)
  • The “natural use” for women is sex (Romans 1:27)
  • “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
  • Wives must submit to their husbands “in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24) — this one tripped Michelle Bachmann up in 2012
  • Women should never be allowed to teach, and they definitely shouldn’t have authority over men (1 Timothy 2:12)

If you’re in the business of taking the Bible seriously, you’ve got to parse that language quite a bit before you can get your head around the idea of a female leader of the free world. Johnson claims he has, telling The Guardian yesterday that Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher have proven that women “can do anything men can do and do it well,” but his 25 years of “formal, theological study” beg to differ.

As cliché as it is to quote Christopher Hitchens, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that God didn’t create man in his image; man created God in his. And the men who wrote the Bible had a few ideas about gender relations that are completely unacceptable in a secular liberal democracy.

It’d be one thing if these ideas were kept private, but evangelical politicians such as Rick Perry wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for their insistence on legislating scripture — even if they have no idea what they’re talking about.

This should be a bigger problem for religious candidates.

Rick Perry just went to Iowa to court evangelical conservatives who, through a fair reading of the Bible, have some eyebrow-raising views on, in Jamie Johnson’s words, “the family, the church, and the state.” When asked about Johnson’s email yesterday, Perry dodged. But he and other Republican candidates who head to the state to thump their Bibles and claim to be God-fearing Christians deserve to be continuously pressed on the consequences of theologically-driven politics.

It may be unfair to hold candidates accountable for personal emails their staffers wrote over three years ago, but it’s absolutely fair — and necessary — to hold them accountable for the patriarchal teachings in those Bibles they’re thumping. Perry takes his cues from the Bible for his positions on almost everything, especially when it comes to gender; I’d be interested to know why he wouldn’t refer back to it for his position on women holding elected office.

So, Rick Perry, which is it? When it comes to the idea of a female president, do you stand with Jesus, or do you stand with America?


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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27 Responses to “Rick Perry’s new adviser has suggested that God isn’t #ReadyForHillary. Technically, he’s right.”

  1. Katan Scott says:

    So right wing nut hires a fellow right wing nut to be part of his campaign for president? I’m not sure how this is news. This is good info to know I suppose.

  2. Butch1 says:

    Perhaps the “invisible sky faerie” isn’t ready for him either.

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  4. Butch1 says:

    Enter Ted Cruz.

  5. Butch1 says:

    Why do these women continue to keep falling for this BS?

    Well, when you do not allow them to work, have an education, work for the same wages, make them have an abundance of children and tie them down with them, tell them that is all they are good for, etc., they start believing that crap. “Religious Stockholm Syndrome.”

  6. UncleBucky says:

    You can take the Bible out of a person’s hand, but you can’t take the Bible out of our culture. It is as embedded as a well-developed hangnail. Needs surgery.

    We DO have minor histories/tales of where cultures did care for men, women, children, the elderly and us Others, so to speak. But every time the Abrahamic evangelical cultures enter the scene, blam, women and most others besides tall, white male powerholders bear the brunt of it.

    :)

  7. UncleBucky says:

    The question is, “which Jesus”. And while this is a topic that can take pages and books, I will leave it to be said that Jesus himself did not write a word. Words were put into his mouth. OT never mind, even though there are good things there, anything dealing with this topic probably is tainted by the bronze-aged attitudes of the post-matrilineal societies that had taken root since 10,000 years ago. Men were running the show when history started (writing or record keeping!) and that’s what we see in the histories or tales. √

    Jesus was part of that culture, but he did attempt to step out of it. I doubt he had the education to rise beyond what he is credited to have suggested what was good for a “Kingdom of Heaven on Earth”.

    So, be careful which Jesus! :)

    ___
    I am an Atheist who kinda grooves with Jesus, but I gave up on the “sky god” business now years ago.

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  9. Indigo says:

    In a conversation about the Bible, what matters is the belief system of the people talking about it. The range of opinion is sufficiently wide to make it irrelevant to serious discussion except in the case of fanatics who insist that is the word of their “god.” The operative concept here is that it’s the “god” they own, not anything more. My point? Another pointless confrontation over Middle Eastern fairy tales contributes nothing.

  10. billylost says:

    What a waste of energy to listen to the bible thumping Republicans who are simply playing to their base in order to get members of that sector to support them in their quest to legislate for the oligarchs. Their hypocrisy should earn them a place in the hell they apparently believe in.

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  12. BeccaM says:

    Yeah, well, a guy in the 1830s, who seems to have had some success attracting followers to his brand spankin’ new religious cult — declares he’s had a revelation saying it wasn’t just permitted for a man to have more than one wife — it’s actually commanded by God Himself… It’s no wonder the mainstream Christians of the time objected to Mormonism as scandalous and basically a patriarchal sex cult.

    And also no wonder women were relegated to a herd of breed-stock to be collected by men of power and money.

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  14. BlueIdaho says:

    This is how the mormon men justify keeping the women folk barefoot and pregnant. Oh, and of course, no leadership positions for them in the church either.

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  17. Larry Linn says:

    All mediocrity needed was glasses,

  18. cactuspie says:

    So these people are speaking for God? Who do they think they are, the Watchtower Society?

  19. BeccaM says:

    Let’s get real. The Bible is abundantly clear as to its position on the female of the human species: We are to be considered property. Property that truly has value only when we are fertile and able to bear children. If married, according to the Bible, and we cannot bear a child, our husbands — who upon marrying us also assumed full ownership of anything we may have owned before — have the right to sleep with whomever they need to in order to produce a male heir. (Men, of course, are never assumed to be shooting blanks…) One of the Ten Commandments specifically says men should not covet other men’s wives; there is no similar commandment concerning women coveting other women’s husbands. We are lumped in with farm animals, with respect to that whole coveting thing. In fact, all the rules are directed to men (who are the only ones permitted to know how to read), so that they may rule over their women (yes, plural).

    Our daughters may be sold into slavery, under certain conditions, with the Bible providing helpful guidance on the appropriate pricing thereof. In the Old Testament, we women were often on the block either for rape or slaughter, depending on whether we were virgins. If raped, our rapists were only supposed to give our fathers a suitable dowry. Unless of course we were the spoils of war.

    There are long passages describing when we are unclean and not to be touched. When we give birth to a daughter, we are ‘unclean’ longer and to a worse degree than when we birth a son.

    For these reasons, among all the many others, the Bible should be treated as what it is: A collection of Bronze Age myths representative only of a distinctly patriarchal and war-like culture, as practiced by one group of people. The bulk of which should have no place of regard or respect in a post-Enlightenment civilization.

    We should also not be at all surprised when one of this book’s adherents correctly finds directives in there that women are not to lead men under any circumstances. Just as we shouldn’t have been surprised when they find stuff in there telling them to hate gay people, to embrace segregation, or even to advocate slavery or genocidal war. Because the only way you get nothing but love and compassion out of that particular book is if you do as that Yeshua fellow supposedly did and throw out all commandments other than the ones not to judge anybody and to love one another.

    However, then you’d be left with a Bible roughly 90% shorter than it currently is, and it’d be difficult to justify hate and violence if all you have is the Jesus stuff only. Gotta have Paul of Tarsus, for instance, to claw back all those messages of not judging and of being tolerant.

    But you see, men like Jamie Johnson want the nasty bits, because it makes it seem like God Himself is commanding whatever outcomes he and his ilk want to have.

  20. 2karmanot says:

    Rick Perry is an excellent example of when perfect mediocrity becomes a form of genius.

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    Actually, H Clinton is probably in close agreement with Perry on questions of ‘faith’ injected by pandering politicians into political debates. “In fact, Clinton’s God talk is more complicated—and more deeply rooted—than either fans or foes would have it, a revelation not just of her determination to out-Jesus the GOP, but of the powerful religious strand in her own politics. Over the past year, we’ve interviewed dozens of Clinton’s friends, mentors, and pastors about her faith, her politics, and how each shapes the other. And while media reports tend to characterize Clinton’s subtle recalibration of tone and style as part of the Democrats’ broader move to recapture the terrain of “moral values,” those who know her say there’s far more to it than that.

    Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection.

    Graphic and quotes (with my underlining) from

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/09/hillarys-prayer-hillary-clintons-religion-and-politics

  22. 2karmanot says:

    Hillary because: Pantsuit Benghazi!

  23. Houndentenor says:

    Hillary is as cozy with that C-Street Dominionist crowd than Perry is. Maybe more so.

  24. mirth says:

    What a holy damn shame this nonsense is still with us in the 21st century.

    Besides, no one will be around to vote because, y’know, blood moons = apocalypse ’cause the bible tells me so.

  25. Baal says:

    “I was sharing my personal reflections with a friend through my private
    email account -– not the campaign account,” Johnson said. “They were
    reflections on over 25 years of formal, theological study” based in
    “classical Christian doctrine.”

    I have had actually 40 years of formal study in science. My reflections grounded in THAT background are that you are full of shit, there is no god, but if there WAS, it wouldn’t have an opinion on something like this; but if it did, and was based on something akin to the scriptures you supposedly believe in, it would prefer Hillary to any of your lot, and also you can plan to burn in hell. Fortunately for you, there is no such god.

  26. iamlegion says:

    Well, God’s already said _several times_ he’s not interested in Perry or Santorum being President…

  27. cleos_mom says:

    Time for “both sides” to recognize the facts that biblical scholars discovered several decades ago at *least*: that the Bible is a collection of ancient law books, oral history and legend (often highly “conflated”), propaganda related to nation-building, poetry and religious community organizing — all of it written by human beings. And interpreted through the lens of culture and the scientific knowledge of people from 2000 to ? years ago. That was a world that was radically different from ours and believers have been projecting their own — later — era onto it for at least 1,500 years. And they overlook more than a little uncomfortable history.

    * The Book of Genesis actually has an account of the creation of the genders, quite distinct from the Holy BBQ version. It’s referenced so little in sermons and Sunday School lessons that I’ve had fundamentalists accuse me of making scripture up out of thin air when I’ve quoted it::

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created he him; male and female he created he them.

    * The references to “clean” and “unclean” in the Hebrew Bible have nothing to do with either hygiene or morality; they’re references to ritual purity. Most people, including priests, were ritually impure most of the time.

    * The Gospels were all written several decades after Jesus’ lifetime to the quotes attributed to him are based on decades of legend-building, what’s often called the “folk process” in music. Paul’s letters are the oldest sources in the “New” Testament and they include a few things fundamentalists don’t want to look at very closely; e.g., Paul’s “conversion” included a vision, obviously something that no one else saw or heard. They simply had to take his word for it and modern Christians, fundies and progressives alike, generally do just that. There’s also the fact that Paul’s correspondence, and the correspondence of followers close to him, make no mention of miracles or a virgin birth.

    As for the quotes about women attributed to Jesus, they probably do reflect the fact that Jesus was an observant Jew of the first century CE. Men were supposedly the ones who actually created offspring, which developed from the sperm with the woman’s contribution being that of a farmer’s field or incubator. A pretty good argument, at the time, for a belief that men were created in the image of God but women were created in the image of men. That’s the underlying belief in the conservative Christian concept of “God’s plan for marriage” whether they acknowledge it or not.

    The latter isn’t a problem for some of the “new age” churches that perceive Jesus as a very advanced soul. But many of the rationalizations of Gospel accounts are based on a mostly-unacknowledged concept of Jesus, during his literal lifetime, being a 21st century liberal wearing sandals.

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