Cathy McMorris Rodgers

After a slow slip to obscurity following the demise of the Moral Majority, fundamentalism may end up back in the public eye in the coming days as the star Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (Wash.) continues to rise. This scrutiny will not be due to the fact that McMorris Rodgers herself still identifies as a fundamentalist (she is a member of an Evangelical Free Church) but rather because she graduated from my own alma mater, Pensacola Christian College, in 1990. If my own views have had time to change in the last decade I can only imagine that Cathy herself has had the same opportunity for review but the stigma remains.

However, now that Cathy is Chair of the House Republican Conference and recently gave the rebuttal speech to the State of the Union address, the party and the nation seem to be taking an interest in her and with the field for the 2016 Presidential race very sparsely populated it’s not a huge leap to think that we may be seeing a lot more of her in the coming days.

If Cathy McMorris Rodgers does continue dwell in the national spotlight it could lead to two basic outcomes:

1. PCC and colleges will tout this as an example of exactly how fantastic an education they provide. One of our grads made it all the way to sort of near where you can see the top! You can too (if you leave here and then go to University of Washington).

2. A whole lot of folks in the media will start asking the question “What is this movement all about anyway?” That could get interesting in a hurry.

While I am ambivalent about Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s politics in general, I will be nonetheless following her career with some interest. Where she ends up could have wide-reaching influence back to the halls of fundamentalism.

80 thoughts on “Cathy McMorris Rodgers”

  1. It wouldn’t surprise me if she tried to downplay her PCC attendance. I would assume there is nothing favorable in the eyes of the national media about PCC. (not much favorable in my eyes either for that matter)

    1. My fundy family was against Para Sailin’ (awesomeness, BTW) too though. She was supposed to be at home with her family. My input about it being a personal decision and one that she and her family had to make for themselves didn’t go over well.

      1. My fundy mother had, I think, the more typical response. When it seemed that Hillary Clinton was likely to be a presidential candidate, it was a steady stream of “NO woman should ever hold that office and I will NEVER vote for a woman!!” But, as soon as SJP, oops I mean SLP, jumped into the ring in a shameless attempt by McCain to put a “hottie” on the ticket and pander to women voters, my mother found, as the Dowager Countess once put it on Downton Abbey, “some way to overcome her scruples.”

  2. Unless you ask my former pastor – he flat out said he would never vote for a woman – and I suppose it follows that a “true” fundamentalist would not run for office if she were a woman. Anyway I never see politicians in long frumpy jean skirts.

    1. And now it is time to point out that the emperor has no clothes (denim or otherwise). The fundy system is EXTREMELY matriarchal, albeit in some very twisted ways. While they keep male MOGs on top in a spiritual sense, women have A LOT of power in most IFB churches and homes. In the words of George Bush, they are “the deciders.” In fact, I would hazard a guess that more than half of all families that attend fundy churches are there because the MOTHER has selected that church for her family. While the church purports to support “good ole-fashioned” patriarchy, the reality is that if the women decided not to put up with that nonsense, it would instantly fade away. After all, this isn’t the 1950s anymore. Most adult fundy women wear their denim and “keep” at home and comply with all the other fundy standards by choice. I’ve argued here before that the kids don’t have a choice, and I’ll stand by that. But, I do think that the adults DO have a choice – both the men and the women – and I think that the support of its female parishioners is part of the success of the IFB movement.

      1. I agree with this assessment – I know there is a variety of brands of fundamentalism and there are also plenty of people ready to point out the misogyny of fundyland, but in my experience both of your above points were true. There was mistreatment of women, and much of it was done by or enabled by other women.

        The women formed the power structure of the church – the Mog was supported because those who ran everything behind the scenes supported him and no one was brave enough to cross them. I even saw a few men who were supposedly the pillars of the church who would only support what the dear wife told them to support.

        The more extreme families in the fundy circles I ran in had public relationships where the man supposedly ruled, but if you got into those homes as a child it was quickly obvious that the keeper at home was the keeper everywhere and just kept the overt control hidden from public view. I saw this so many times it became something I no longer consider anecdotal.

        Any outside observer, and many insiders would deny the matriarchal nature of many fundamental churches, but masculinity has been so twisted and adolescentized for lack of a better word there that the real power most of the time is hidden behind a public veil of diminutive submission. This is not an across the board characteristic, but it certainly exists.

      2. I think the fundamentalist is ambivalent about women. Women are to be feared and controlled, because their sexuality (if not strictly controlled) leads men to mortal sin.

        On a more basic level, males want to control reproduction by controlling the insemination of women. This is simply evolutionary, as most males want to reproduce themselves, and it’s a contest between them and other competing males. This evolutionary instinct is codified in Cxn and Islamic fundamentalists’ religious tenets relative to females.

      3. Disordered people can manipulate any system toward their own twisted ends. Certainly if a man is an abuser, then Fundamentalism offers him a lot of tools. But men have other means of control at their disposal, like physical size and usually earning potential. I think this plays into why there does seem (at least in my experience) to be more scheming women in Fundamentalism than there are truly abusive men. Church also provides controlling women a good place to find a lot of docile men. It’s a good place to be a bully, period, as the Greatest Commandment in most churches is Be Nice.

    2. My mother said the same thing. When I decided to minor in Political Science, she told me (without being asked) that she would never vote for me because I’m a woman. She also told me that if I went to law school I’d never get married because no man wants a woman who might be smarter than him or have the potential to make more money.

      I’ve wondered what my mother would have thought of Sara Palin because as Fundy as she was, she was also a RABID Republican and I can see Palin appealing to her.

    1. I would like to add that the Northwest isn’t exactly the hotbed of fundamentalism. IFB churches are few and far between and they are mostly laidback. I would guess she was never that way or she has distanced herself from it.

        1. I am east of the mountains and I still don’t think it is crazy as where I came from ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

        2. I grew up in Lake Tapps (30 miles or so east of Tacoma) and I remember it being fairly moderate. But we had friends in Kittitas, on the east side, and OMG, you could hear the banjos. I would honestly be a bit hesitant to go there in my Volvo with all of the liberal stickers on the back…

        3. Liutgard, I figured you for the wine, cheese, and Volvo set. Hope you’re feeling better. BJg

        4. Well BJG, kinda but not. Said Volvo is an ’82 240 diesel wagon, pretty beat up, but it runs and the mileage is still hanging in about 28. But not really the wine and cheese set. I’m a bit of a foodie and I cook with wine and cheese, but I’m just as likely to make stir fry and have a beer or hard cider with. And I spend most of my disposable income (little that it is) on books and travel to see my granddaughters. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

      1. When I traveled a summer for MBBC, seems like we were in a church in the Seattle area that was very fundy. I think it was in a suburb called Linwood and I think the pastor’s name was Blue.

        1. Modestly covered, I bet it’s my church you’re talking about with the pocket squares. Thankfully the pastor has distanced himself from HAC now and won’t promote any specific college anymore.

  3. I don’t see how any true fundamentalist could ever become president…I mean, how could he/she get enough votes? How many IFB members have enough real education and experience for such a job?

    I don’t know anything about Cathy Rodgers, but now I’m (a little) curious…

    1. It depends on which rules you’re looking at. PCC’s dress rules were so onerous in the 1980s that I preferred BJU; for example, I absolutely didn’t want to have gym in a white t-shirt and white culottes. And since those days, PCC has added KJV-onlyism. ๐Ÿ˜

    2. Doesn’t PCC make you sign the blood oath before you graduate agreeing to allow them to revoke your diploma if you stray from the paths of fundamentalism? I would think that a woman leaving PCC to attend an MBA in leadership program at the University of Washington would definitely qualify for degree revocation.

      1. As far as I know West Coast Baptist College is the only one requiring you to agree to return your “diploma” if you ever disagree with their basic beliefs in the future. Crazy as that is.

        1. I think wcbc is the one where you have to swear on the KJV that you will voluntarily return your “diploma” if you ever depart from the truth. (The irony is that if you ever DO depart from their “truth,” you won’t WANT your diploma anymore.) I thought BJU and some others like to hold it over graduates’ heads that they can come in and take your diploma back.

        2. Have they ever taken someone to court over this? I would think that one has a legal right to the diploma if he or she was given one. The person paid the fees, made passing grades and was most probably given the diploma in a public ceremony.

          Sort of like when a couple breaks off an engagement, the woman has the legal right to keep the engagement ring.

          Of course, Fundy College diploma isn’t worth much.

        3. They have no legal hold. A diploma, once awarded, belongs to the recipient. Doesn’t matter what stack of Bibles you swear on, they can’t ‘take it back’. Of course, once you’re at that point, you may want to burn it on their front lawn.

        4. I don’t think they’ve ever actually done this. They just make the threat to each graduating class for purposes of grandstanding.

        5. If I actually graduated from THAT school where I went for 3 or so semesters, I would shred that sucker and send it back. Lot of good it’s done me except make me swear off all fundies for good!

          Which is a good thing, I suppose.

  4. Great. We could go from “Four score and seven years ago…” to “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” to “Ask not what your country can do for you…” to “If you were to die tonight…..”.

  5. If I recall correctly the Moral Majority had it’s heyday in the late 80s-early 90s. Well before satan invented the internet. With the sharing of information through social media sites today, something tells me PCC, or any other fundamental institution, will come out of any political campaign on the losing side of the PR battle.

    1. Agreed. To me, it would just seem like 20/20 every story if they were to talk about it. Also, the Dem’s could use it against her–showing how part of her education came from a place that doesn’t allow couples to touch or interact normally, and that ships people that don’t perfectly agree with their philosophy (Something that can be linked to immigration or welfare policy).

    1. Well, they gave one to John R. Rice’s horse, so we know that lesser beings can be found worthy of one. (And then there is the famous “Dr.” Cathy Rice, whose honorary doctorate, I believe, actually came from an accredited, secular school.)

  6. I don’t think this woman has much of a shot at running for president based on her SOTU response. She wasn’t a good public speaker. She wasn’t very articulate. She simply parroted the latest vague rhetoric from the party line and didn’t even do a very convincing job of that. I found her to be bland and forgettable.

    1. I did, however, definitely pick up on the fact that she wants us to make some sort of connection between her and her apples. I thought that was interesting.

      1. I too doubted her veracity, but given her poor performance, I didn’t think it was worth my time to check her out. The article you have linked, however, is quite informative.

        1. Thank you, Ben. I really appreciate it. The flu is mostly over, but for some lingering sinus stuff and blocked ears.

          However, something more worrying turned up. When my labs came from from a visit the week before, they were not good, and after several visits to the local vampire, the diagnosis is that I have a rather serious kidney problem. We’re currently waiting for the insurance co to ok the referral to a nephrologist. Understandably perhaps, I’m upset. I’d much appreciate any prayers that the lot of your would send up on my behalf.

      2. Liutgard, I expect that our brothers and sisters here on SFL will join me in prayer for you. I personally admire someone who drives a 1982 Volvo diesel with liberal bumper stickers on it. I hope God still hears prayers from an old socially liberal cop who thinks we need to spend more money on education and school lunches and less money on the industrial war machine.

        In any case, get well. We need your wit and wisdom on this wonderful site. Blessings to you, our sister. Despite all my doubts, I do believe that God is there and He still cares about us.
        ~BJg

  7. By the way Darrell, nice linked article. I have never seen all of that information about PCC so neat and concise. I’m gonna save it for whenever I need to explain to people I know about them.

  8. I’ll have to read all these posts after I’m sober. I didn’t understand a word of any of it and don’t see any of the points.

    Sorry.

    Maybe it’s a PCC thing.

  9. How could she appeal to Fundies? I mean she kept her maiden name as part of her married name. Granted, it’s not hyphenated, but doesn’t that automatically make her some kind of liberal, at least from the IFB worldview?

  10. From personal experience, I can tell you that there are few life experiences as effective in getting someone to see the wisdom of the civil libertarian/ACLU side of things as working for PCC for ten years. I hope her experiences at PCC push her in that direction.

    PCC changed me by showing me—reductio ad absurdum—what a society is like when fundy teachings are taken to their logical conclusions. PCC’s primary doctrine, above all others, is the doctrine of Authority, and it is evil.

    I too wonder if Ms. Rogers will be able to successfully shed the dead albatross around her neck that is PCC. There are public statements and publications by PCC that while not quite as evil and stupid as BJU’s racial-separation idiocy, could be similarly offensive.

  11. “This โ€˜Noticeโ€™ took GRACE by complete surprise as there had been no prior indications from BJU that
    termination was even being considered. Furthermore, this termination occurred days before GRACE was
    to conduct the last interviews of this 13-month investigation and begin drafting the final report scheduled for publication in March.”
    I wonder who was involved in the last interviews? New Tribes Mission got slammed hard by GRACE, it makes me wonder why BJU hired GRACE in the first place?

  12. Most people that are truly intelligent leave the Fundamanetalist movement. Those who hang on don’t have that extra intelligence set to question or ask the key question that fundyism can’t answer with satisfaction, why? That is why I left. Now as far as this lady’s politics goes, I will not insult her over those. When I left fundyism I struggled hard with everything! Eventually I found my faith in Christ, and my politics are conservative, but I don’t begrudge those of you here who go the other way on the political spectrum. I thought her response to the State of the Union was not a good speech, but that’s a different topic for a different day. My guess is she will loosely affiliate with her alma mater, but if she seeks higher office (VP, Pres) PCC will be a millstone around her neck for certain! My alma mater would cause controversy because of its founder, but I am still proud to be a Liberty Flame! Anyway I like Darrell will be watching what she does from here on out.

  13. Didn’t she casually mention some rocker she liked in passing during her response (want to say Springsteen; don’t remember for certain)?

    Looks like whatever “IFB-cred” Rep. Rodgers had is gone now, because I’m sure PCC would react worse to that than anything else.

  14. I agree that she will distance herself from PCC, especially with the bad press BJU is getting. She had ample opportunity to bring up PCC when she was talking about college in her rebuttal, but she never did. I would vote for her.

  15. I wouldn’t call the Evangelical Free Church fundamentalist. Many of them are more the YRR type (even though they aren’t all young). Many of them won’t go right out and say they are Calvinists (because there are also Arminians within the denomination), but they do tend to lean in that direction.

    Although maybe that’s just evidence that the YRR have “taken over”. New Calvinists have a way of doing that, to a lot of denominations that weren’t historically Calvinist.

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