This post has been updated.
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) believes that although a wife is supposed to “voluntarily submit” to her husband, she is not inferior to him, according to the Washington Post.
“The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice,” Pearce wrote in a December memoir “Just Fly The Plane, Stupid!” that discusses the Bible. “The husband’s part is to show up during the times of deep stress, take the leadership role and be accountable for the outcome, blaming no one else.”
Pearce also writes that while the wife is not inferior, she must nevertheless be obedient to her husband.
“The wife’s submission is not a matter of superior versus inferior; rather, it is self-imposed as a matter of obedience to the Lord and of love for her husband,” he said in the book.
In the book, Pearce criticizes men who “bully their wives and families” based on the Bible passage that says wives should submit to their husbands.
“Authoritarian control is not given to the husband,” he wrote.
A spokesman for Pearce, Dan Hazelwood, on Wednesday said in a statement to TPM that the congressman’s definition of marriage and the role of a wife is more nuanced that what was described in the Washington Post article:
It is unfortunate The Washington Post has ignored the facts and writes a headline the opposite of the story. The Post falsely and inaccurately mischaracterizes Pearce’s comments. The chapter in his book discusses how the Pearce’s manage their relationship and how they grappled with the bible’s words. This was a piece of either sloppy journalism or wilful intent to deceive. The words clearly written show that Pearce believes the phrase ‘submission’ is widely misunderstood in society and criticizes those who distort the bible to justify male dominance.
In an email to TPM, Hazelwood highlighted additional passages from Pearce’s memoir that show that the congressman does not believe that the wife should be inferior.
“I reasoned that surely Jesus did not in any way teach the idea of a chauvinistic male-centered marriage,” Pearce wrote in his book. “We are all created in God’s image, I reasoned, so it could not be that the man is in some way superior or the wife inferior.”
Pearce wrote that he and his wife work together in their marriage.
“Cynthia and I flourish because we operate as a team,” he said in the book.
Pearce’s memoir recounts his path from owning a an oil-field service company to becoming a member of Congress, according to the Post.
Both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee have held trainings for candidates on how to talk about women and how to best communicate with female voters.