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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