Does Huckabee believe wives should "graciously submit" to their husbands?

A 1998 ad in support of the Southern Baptist Convention's statement on the family, signed by the GOP candidate, says exactly that.

Published December 11, 2007 6:30PM (EST)

I have to admit, I'm intrigued by Mike Huckabee. It started when I saw his "Chuck Norris Approved" campaign ad on YouTube, in which Huckabee and Norris (i.e., "Walker, Texas Ranger") trade non sequitur endorsements. (Norris: "Mike Huckabee's a life-long hunter who'll protect our second amendment rights." Huckabee: "There's no chin behind Chuck Norris's beard, only another fist.") It's so weird -- and, yes, funny -- that it made me wonder if some of "The Daily Show" writers were making extra cash during the strike by writing political ads.

Then I found out that Huckabee actually already was on The Daily Show as Jon Stewart's guest -- and made a highly appreciated fart joke that got a bigger laugh than anything Stewart said.

Then, to top it off, the man is a bass guitarist in a band called Capitol Offense that has opened for Willie Nelson? Really? Forget George W. Bush's supposed image as a "guy you'd like to have a beer with." Invite Huckabee over for dinner and you could end up with a live concert.

But as most people are aware, this humor and affability come with a very conservative outlook -- this is someone, after all, who in 1992 wrote in a questionnaire (discussed in more detail here) that "homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk." (He now says that his statement -- at least in terms of the AIDS-related health risk -- was based on misinformation.) Then there was his role in granting parole to convicted rapist Wayne DuMond. Also, as noted in today's War Room, his campaign is being strangely secretive about his old sermons.

I bring him up on Broadsheet because of a reference in Daily Kos about an August 1998 ad in USA Today in which Huckabee was one of 131 signatories declaring that they each "affirm[ed] the statement on the family issued by the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention." What was in this statement on the family? Well, lots of stuff, including the claim that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and the recognition that the family was God's idea, not man's. But the part that has gotten people's attention is about the relationship between men and women: the SBC statement said, "A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church ... A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ." The ad that Huckabee signed on to explicitly affirmed this assertion -- to quote, it said, "You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives. You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership." Sure, the SBC did say that husband and wife are of equal worth before God -- but that doesn't do too much good down here on earth.

Who knows where Huckabee really stands on what the relationship between men and women should be -- signing the ad might itself have been motivated by other political reasons. And I doubt that he'll make female submission into a campaign issue. But nonetheless, the mere fact that he was willing to attach his name to such a statement deserves questioning -- perhaps the next round of ads should feature Norris taking him to task.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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