Conservative Christian Leader: A Man is “Responsible for How His Wife Votes” October 30, 2020

Conservative Christian Leader: A Man is “Responsible for How His Wife Votes”

In a tweet that’s practically designed to be ratioed, Jesse Sumpter, a staffer at the church of COVID-denying Doug Wilson, says that men have a duty to control the way their wives vote.

To be sure, right now, I would be disturbed if my partner voted for Donald Trump, but mostly because it would suggest our values are not as aligned as I thought they were. If we vote the same way, even for downballot races, it’s because we’re looking for similar things in candidates. But that’s a far cry from what Sumpter is saying, which is that it’s a husband’s “responsibility” to make sure his wife is voting exactly how he tells her.

The alternative, I guess, is that she would be making a decision without running it by him, and then WHAT’S EVEN THE POINT OF MARRIAGE. Sumpter says he’s against abuse, but no doubt a man raised to think he must control what his wife does in a voting booth is a man more likely to be abusive.

The responses to his thread, even from many Christians, are an utter rejection of this kind of patriarchal control.

It’s no surprise that a guy who helps run an ultra-conservative church would be telling men to keep their wives in check. It’s disturbing, though, how many people might see his message and think there’s nothing wrong with it at all.

Since his initial tweet, Sumpter has attempted to explain himself in greater length… and he’s still not doing himself any favors. (Maybe he should’ve had his wife edit the piece.) Here’s how he argues this is all about protecting her.

Run the scenario: you, as the husband, vote third party and your wife votes for Trump. At the next get together, people are talking about who they voted for. You say third party and your wife says Trump. All eyes turn to her and ask her: “Why did you vote for Trump? Defend that position.” And there you are, as the guy, left to drink punch alone in the corner, while your wife tries to fend off the accusations. It is foolishness on the husband’s part to leave his wife vulnerable. If there is a hard decision to be made, the choice should go back to the husband and he should have skin in the game. He should be ready to answer for it.

… Brothers, don’t let her vote in such a way that she is left unprotected. Being the leader means you take the brunt of the questions and objections and concerns. You should lead in the voting decisions because when the questions come, you should be ready with the answers.

There’s an assumption there that the wife must be too stupid to be able to defend herself and it’s up to the man to rescue her. That’s absurd enough to begin with, and it’s only more ridiculous here because the husband must be even more foolish than his wife for voting third party in 2020.

Don’t take voting advice from a conservative Christian who thinks some people can’t be trusted to make up their own minds. Better yet, don’t take marriage advice from him either.

Incidentally, this past May, anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson also said she longed to return to a time when women couldn’t make up their own political minds, saying that “In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.” She was roundly mocked for that. That belief is still popular in her circles, though.


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