Bible Devotionals Justify Traditional Gender Roles: A Political Agenda That Affects Social Policy

By Dexter, Hedy Red; Lagrander, J. M. | Social Justice, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Bible Devotionals Justify Traditional Gender Roles: A Political Agenda That Affects Social Policy


Dexter, Hedy Red, Lagrander, J. M., Social Justice


The Biblical Perspective

To recruit "a few good men for God...To stand in the gap...lest America go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah" (Denver Post, October 1, 1997), Promise Keepers (PK) founder and CEO Bill McCartney says he is called by God to do the job and intends to globalize PK for Christ. But, he insists, "there's no political agenda." Wanting only "to change hearts, not votes," McCartney claims that "there will be no politicians speaking at the October 4th PK, D.C. rally" (Denver Post, October 3, 1997).

According to Focus on the Family's James Dobson (1994), "turn[ing] hearts toward home by reasonable, biblical, and empirical insights...to discover the founder of homes and the creator of families - Jesus Christ: it's who we are and what we stand for." Like McCartney, Dobson insists, "there's no political agenda." Wishing only "to arm [Americans] with information," he claims that Focus does "not and will not ever endorse political candidates" (Dobson, 1997a).

Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition has the responsibility of "educating voters about religious issues." Like McCartney and Dobson, Robertson insists, "there's no political agenda." Wishing "only to educate...not to elect one party or specific politicians," Robertson claims that his Christian Coalition "is a non-partisan group" (Denver Post, September 18, 1997).

Neither innocent nor naive, these profamily honchos would have us believe that politics is limited to what goes on in Washington, D.C. Yet politics is never just about government, per se; it is about power: how it is defined, distributed, and enforced, by whom and to whose advantage. Political agendas shape public opinion, especially a profamily agenda that appeals deliberately to troubled citizens during changing times (Detweiler, 1992). Public opinion shapes social policy, setting the terms for who gets what. For this reason, profamily methods concentrate on shaping attitudes, assuring that they stay traditional. Social policy shaped by traditional attitudes protects the status quo, assuring that, within families, the traditional division of labor is sanctioned by both church and state (Gould, 1990).

Nonetheless, their words (disseminated through publications) and deeds (which are part of the public record) belie their claims to nonpolitical motives. In their own words, what do Robertson, Dobson, and McCartney say for themselves and for their organizational goals? Among the three, the 700 Club's Pat Robertson is the most conspicuously political (e.g., disappointed with Reagan's failure to deliver fully the profamily agenda, Robertson himself ran for president in 1988). In a recent speech taped secretly by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Robertson told Coalition leaders to tell Congress: "the Christian Coalition deserves full credit for the Republican takeover of Congress.... Look, we put you in power in 1994, and we want you to deliver" (Denver Post, September 18, 1997). But there is no political agenda.

James Dobson is subtler about his politics. According to Barry Lynn (1996), executive director of the Committee for Separation of Church and State, "in many ways [Dobson] is the ultimate stealth campaigner. He is a person who likes power, who likes to be a kingmaker." Dobson, by recruiting people in need, "converted a family crisis hotline into a political army" (Hockenberry, 1996). As Lynn notes,

a lot of the names in [Dobson's] database came not because somebody said we seek your advice about legislation, it's because they called in during a time of great personal trauma in their life and those names have become part of the gigantic mailing list of James Dobson.... There's tremendous evidence that he can deliver people. His folks respond quickly, directly to whatever he tells them to do on the radio (Lynn, 1996).

Via his daily radio broadcast, Dobson rallies his listeners to help "eliminate the Department of Education [and] abolish the National Endowment for the Arts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bible Devotionals Justify Traditional Gender Roles: A Political Agenda That Affects Social Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.