The logic of complementarianism: Don't vote Hillary because she's female

Should Hillary Clinton be denied the presidency because she's female?Reuters

Lots of US evangelicals don't want Hillary Clinton as president because of her liberal views on abortion. Others think she's untrustworthy. However, for some her candidacy should have been ruled out from the start, for what they claim is a thoroughly biblical reason: she is female.

Who are these people?

Well, there's Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastors Network, quoted Isaiah 3:12, which says: "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." He said on the group's Stand in the Gap radio show: "This verse has been used by many as a scriptural condemnation of women serving in places of leadership. There are obviously a number of interpretations of this verse, but the real question remains: Is that verse specifically a condemnation that a woman should never be in a place of political leadership, especially president of the United States?"

Seriously, is that a really a real question?

It obviously is for Sam Rohrer.

Anyone else?

How about Gary Dull, an APN board member? He said on the programme: "In God's line of authority it seems very clear in the scripture that a woman should not be in authority over men, which would limit a woman from being the president of the United States of America or even a queen of some other particular nation."

What, like Queen Elizabeth?

An odious usurper.

Off with his head.

Queens don't really do that sort of thing any more. But back to Clinton: there are certainly evangelicals who won't vote for her either because of that verse in Isaiah or because women oughtn't to have authority over men. Another conservative, James Edwards, said on his radio show The Political Cesspool: "Should Hillary Clinton be president of the United States? Under God's law, a woman should not even have dominion over her household. There are natural roles and abilities that men and women have that are God-ordained and together, they are complementary of one another, and together, a man and a woman can raise a family."

Host Keith Alexander added: "They're not supposed to be competitive or competitors of one another." What he will make of the Olympics is anyone's guess. Edwards goes on to ask: "Would this country be better, frankly, if women didn't even vote?"

Please tell me they're the only ones.

By no means. Conservative pastor Kevin Swanson said on his radio show that electing Hillary Clinton would be "the final chapter" of the feminist movement's war against America: "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 fact that a woman was taken advantage of. Therefore, in order for [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."

Didn't John Piper say something about this kind of thing?

He hasn't specifically said it about Hillary, but he is certainly a fervent complementarian, who believes men and women have biblically-defined gender roles. He was widely derided in many quarters when he suggested this meant a woman shouldn't serve as a police officer. Piper wrote: "If a woman's job involves a good deal of directives toward men, they will need to be non-personal in general, or men and women won't flourish in the long run in that relationship without compromising profound biblical and psychological issues. And conversely, if a woman's relationship to a man is very personal, then the way she offers guidance and influence will need to be more non-directive. And my own view is that there are some roles in society that will strain godly manhood and womanhood to the breaking point."

It's probably fair to say that the role of leader of the free world, with the power to launch nuclear strikes that could destroy entire civilizations, would be included in that category.

There have been some pretty good female leaders, haven't there?

Lots, but for these people that isn't the point: they shouldn't be doing what they're doing.

What should they be doing, then? Baking cookies?

I'm sure Angela Merkel and Theresa May can bake cookies. Whether that's quite the best use of their God-given talents is another question.

This all sounds a bit, well, creepy. Ever seen The Stepford Wives?

Certainly the idea that some men can't cope with women who are forthright, intelligent and capable is quite well established. Some might come to the conclusion that they're using the Bible for something a bit more psychological.

Not all complementarians are like that, though, are they?

No. The people who say women shouldn't be presidents or prime ministers are at the extreme end of the complementarian scale, though their logic is hard to fault: if you really believe women are spiritually and biologically programmed for roles that don't involve leadership, a female president is a difficult idea.

Whatever you say about Trump, he's an Alpha male.

So, no doubt, are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Give me a strong-minded, sensible woman any day.

Follow Mark Woods on Twitter: @RevMarkWoods