10 years of GetReligion: Women and the Godbeat

My 14-year-old daughter sits next to me as I type. Kendall often does this, curious about the day’s subject matter.

More often than not, she is interested (and I like to think it’s more than the caramel lattes I make us). She can identify with and wants to learn more about the issues and stories of today. But beyond that, she sees relevance as we talk about people and news and faith issues. Even before society will allow her to drive or vote, she knows she is permitted to think and reason and form opinions, changing them as she matures. That, as she would say, “is really cool.”

I’m thrilled by her interest in media, especially its coverage of religion and related topics. But a larger question looms when I think of her generation. And mine, and my mother’s and grandmothers’: Are we doing right by women when it comes to religion coverage, on both sides of the press? Does our industry have enough female Godbeat writers, and are we as women spending a proportionate amount of time reading and discussing stories with religious themes or context?

GetReligion has been blessed with a number of extraordinary writers during its 10-year history, and I walk in the oh-so-stylish shoes of some gifted female journalists. Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Elizabeth Eisenstadt-Evans come immediately to mind because of the questions they asked during their time here and the myriad ways in which they made religion news coverage better.

Might another woman join our conversation soon? I’d love it. We’ve come far, but I know the best is still ahead, thanks to the wonderful gift of perspective and courtesy of one of my previous gigs.

When I became religion editor for The Oklahoman in 2000, I inherited a solemn-looking Rolodex filled with dozens of sources, contacts and phone numbers from my predecessor (also a woman). Probably 95 percent of those handwritten cards had men’s names. I didn’t give it a second thought then, but now it seems antiquated — and not just in the organizational sense.

I only knew of a handful of female religion writers back then, and none personally. It was almost like being a female sportswriter, always feeling like you had to work harder to make inroads. And the female sources were slim pickings — most either were a stretch or overused.

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Shocking! Baptist says wives should ‘submit’ to husbands

Courtesy of The Washington Post, let’s all prepare to hyperventilate.

This news will shock you (SHOCK YOU!):

A Republican member of Congress says in a recently released book that a wife is to “voluntarily submit” to her husband, but that it doesn’t make her inferior to him.

Rep. Steve Pearce’s (R-N.M.) memoir, “Just Fly the Plane, Stupid!” was released last month. Its publication — and his acknowledgment in the book of the controversial nature of the submission debate — come as the Republican Party reevaluates how it talks to and about women.

In the book, Pearce recounts his rise to owning an oil-field service company and winning election to Congress. In the book, the Vietnam War veteran says that both the military chain of command and the family unit need a structure in which everyone plays his or her role.

He said that, in his family’s experience, this meant that his wife, Cynthia, would submit to him and he would lead.

“The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice,” he writes, citing 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.”

My sincere apologies to all you inside-the-Beltway readers who just spilled your cocktails.

Who is this maniac? Is he a Baptist or something? Heaven forbid.

But apparently, yes, that is the case. Pearce is a Baptist. Worse yet, even though the Post spares him the ignominy of being so specific — it appears that he is a Southern Baptist.

And even more horrifying that that, it seems readily apparent — based on the Post’s justifiably breathless reporting — that he is a Southern Baptist who believes in traditional Southern Baptist doctrine. You know, doctrine that subscribes to Bible passages such as Ephesians 5:22-23:

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