Oct. 27, 2016 – Every now and then, I find it useful to take a break from monitoring the familiar Religious Right groups and venture into the darker corners of the web where the lunatic fringe lurks. You see some interesting – and disturbing – things there.

For example, a group of far-right, fundamentalist Lutherans has been debating whether a woman can be president. Their answer is no. It is, you see, unbiblical.

The editors of Christian News, a tabloid based in New Haven, Mo., recently published a piece pointing out that when U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) added then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket in 2008, many conservatives were excited. They believed Palin was a modern-day Deborah, referring to the Old Testament figure who was a warrior and a leader.

Alas, the editors of Christian News had to pour cold water on that. Palin was awesome, they agreed – but a woman still can’t be president.

“Sarah Palin may be a 21st century Deborah, God’s exception to the rule because many men today in high office fall short of God’s standards as did the men of Deborah’s time,” observed the paper.

But let’s be clear, dudes falling down on the job does not justify turning things over to a woman, the paper concludes, because a woman’s first duty is to take care of the house and kids and stand by her man.

“Yet the general scriptural rule still stands,” asserts the newspaper. “A woman’s highest calling is in the home and the greatest women in history are mothers who raised God-fearing children and supported the work of their husbands.”

Elsewhere, the paper reprints a 1990 column by a man named John M. Drickamer, who observes, “If a wife is supposed to be subordinate to her husband ‘in everything’ (Ephesians 5:24), then she is not supposed to rule him in government, on the job, etc. All such authority by women over men tends to or directly does militate against the woman’s subordination in the family. And the family is the basic unit within the state.”

Drickamer adds, “Many people will think I am being outrageous here. … But feminism has so dominated current thought that most people today have forgotten the real facts of history – and have ignored the real facts of their own experience – that it is better for everyone to have strong families, in good order, with responsible husbands and obedient wives.” (Unfortunately, these articles are not online. Christian News has a website, but it’s just a vehicle for selling subscriptions.)

I’ll leave it to you to decide if Drickamer is being outrageous. But I do want to point out that if he is, he’s far from the only one. Not only are there people who believe women should not hold office, some say they shouldn’t even have the right to vote. When news of Donald Trump’s crass comments about women came to light earlier this month, Twitter exploded with people arguing that the Nineteenth Amendment should be repealed. (Please note that sites like “Return of Kings” and Christian News are not parodies – and I apologize in advance for linking to them. Remember, you’ll need to find a way to cleanse the stupid out of your brain after visiting.)

People come up with all kinds of ways to justify their bizarre ideas and their plans to take away the rights of others. Labeling something “unbiblical” and tossing in a scriptural passage is the usual trump card in the world of the Religious Right.

Thankfully, it’s not that way in the real world. If we maintain a high and firm church-state wall, we can keep these loons where they belong: navel gazing in forgotten corners of the web instead of making policy in the halls of government.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.  www.au.org