Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin: Promise or Problem?

It doesn't take the most astute observer of national politics to know that the nomination of Sarah Palin for the office of Vice President has Republicans and conservatives boiling over with excitement. And yet, while on one hand I'm excited as well, the other side of me questions the wisdom of electing a woman to this office. I don't have a concrete answer here, but I am going to do my best to flush out some thoughts on each side.

On the positive side:

1) Palin is probably comes the closest to a true conservative that a major party has put forward since Reagan.

2) Palin backs up her rhetoric with her life, with the most blatant being her prolife and her Second Amendment positions.

3) Palin strikes me as a politician the founders expected: a regular citizen who gets involved, and when done will return to being a regular citizen.

4) Palin is not afraid of her femininity. She actually wears skirts and doesn't screech when she speaks.

5) She has a large family and shows love and respect toward her husband!

6) Palin seems normal!

This blog is dedicated to helping advance the Biblial family as best as I can understand it. That includes the proper ordering of relationships and structure. This is where the negatives come in.

1) Scripture is crystal clear about what God desires in terms of the ordering of the family. The man is to be the covenant head with the wife being the vice-regent and helpmeet. Within the church, men are to lead as well. What is not blatant is how this should play out in the civil realm; we have to apply principles instead. There are good people who come down on both sides of this argument.

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, writes, "Do I believe that a woman can serve well in the office of Vice President of the United States? Yes. As a matter of fact, I believe that a woman could serve well as President -- and one day will. Portraits of significant men of history hang on the walls of my library --but so do portraits of Queen Elizabeth I of England and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The New Testament clearly speaks to the complementary roles of men and women in the home and in the church, but not in roles of public responsibility. I believe that women as CEOs in the business world and as officials in government are no affront to Scripture. Then again, that presupposes that women -- and men -- have first fulfilled their responsibilities within the little commonwealth of the family.

Doug Phillips, Esq. of Vision Forum Ministries writes, "I am confident that Mrs. Palin is a delightful, sincere, thoughtful, and capable woman with many commendable virtues. But in fairness, there is nothing 'traditional' about mothers of young children becoming career moms, chief magistrates, and leading nations of three hundred million, nor is this pattern the biblical ideal to which young women should aspire. At a time when motherhood and marriage is so under attack, the message Republicans are sending is this: Winning politial elections is more important than the following proposition given by the Lord: 'That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [to be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed' (Titus 2:4-5.)"

In his post, he points to an article by William Einwechter that argues in detail against women holding positions within the civil magistrate.

Dr. Voddie Baucham is one of the most eloquent when it comes to asking and answering the question about whether Palin's nomination is truly pro-family or not. He writes, "While I agree that from a political standpoint Mr. McCain made a brilliant political move, I am not so sure his pick can be portrayed as “pro-family.” It is true that Mrs. Palin is ardently pro-life –a distinction bolstered by the fact that she has five children, and chose not to abort a Down Syndrome baby—and she is also a fiscal conservative, a Washington outsider, and she hunts wolves from helicopters! What more could the Neocons ask for?

Unfortunately, Christians appear to be headed toward a hairpin turn at breakneck speed without the slightest clue as to the danger ahead. I don’t see this as a pro-family pick at all! Moreover, I believe the conservative fervor over this pick shows how politicized Christians have become at the expense of maintaining a prophetic voice. I believe that Mr. McCain has proven with his VP pick that he is pro-victory, not pro-family. In fact, I believe this was the anti-family pick."

Dr. Baucham's two posts can be found HERE and HERE (the first article really hit a note with my wife).

Lastly, Kevin Swanson, the head of the Christian Home Educators of Colorado and host of "Generations" radio show, speaks of how one of the ways God judges a nation is through raising up women in leadership positions. He points out that one of the reasons this happens is because men have failed to rise to the occasion and it is natural that women will not let things fall apart if they can help it. That is happening today in America. Women vastly outnumber men in college and in law school.

2) Palin IS a mother of five children and like it or not, there IS a difference between men and women. These children need a mother who will be at home to nurture them. Without casting stones, one must wonder if she would be on the road to being a grandmother right now if she had been at home instead of in the governor's office. This argument has been used hypocritically by the liberals, but is a legitimate question when asked by pro-family people.

3) Her description of herself as "used to be a hockey mom" indicates that motherhood is the low rung on the totem pole and that while motherhood is great, girls and young women should aspire to "more."

4) Her example will lead many young women to aspire to life outside of the home, leaving more and more children to day-care and government education.

So what to do?

It was very easy to vote against a woman when that woman is Hillary in her pant-suit, screeching socialist platitudes. But now we are presented with a woman with bona fide conservative credentials who could most likely lead this country well.

I respect Albert Mohler in many ways, but I'm not sure he is right in this case. Proverbs 31 illustrates a woman who enables her husband to sit in the gates (the government) and praise her there. While she certainly is involved in a lot of things outside the home, her focus is the home and she doesn't sit in the gates!

Voddie Baucham's articles really hit home with me, but I think Kevin Swanson's conclusions most illustrate reality.

God IS judging this country in many ways. In this issue specifically, look at the rise of women in political power. Number three in the line of succession for the presidency is a woman, and if McCain wins, number two will be as well. It's entirely possible there will be two women running for president in 2012 (Hillary and Palin). There are more and more women in elected office. This is not going to stop until Christian men stand up and start leading their households and start leading their churches. In the mean time, we have what we have. Could we do worse than having someone like Sarah Palin in office? Absolutely!

Terry at Ornaments of Grace writes HERE and HERE about recognizing that although the best way for a family to be structured is for the wife/mom to be oriented toward home, for the Palin family, they have made their choice and "that train has already left the station".

I wish I had a solid conclusion.

I can't change how the Palins are doing things in their family. I can be pleased that if we have to have a woman at the highest levels of government, that she is someone with the conservative credentials of Sarah Palin.

And yet, as a dad of daughters, I resent the unspoken message that being a keeper at home is mundane and not something to which they should aspire. I resent the unspoken message that being a helpmeet to a husband and a rock on which he leans is only an option for a woman (and not the best one at that).

And of course, as much as I despise being put in a position of voting against someone, Barak Obama is about the most evil (yes, I use that term intentionally and not rhetorically) candidate put forward in my memory. His positions on abortion are horrifying and his stated policies are Marxist to the core.

Is a vote for McCain (and thus Palin) in order to attempt to thwart the evil that is Obama just being pragmatic? Maybe... but I do know that having someone with her conservative principles makes McCain much more palatable than he would have been otherwise.....

Sorry if you were looking for a definitive answer from this post, but I hope that it and the links herein help in your own thoughts as you grapple with this decision.


Rebecca said...

You raise some interesting points. I did want to question one of them:

Her description of herself as "used to be a hockey mom" indicates that motherhood is the low rung on the totem pole and that while motherhood is great, girls and young women should aspire to "more."

I haven't heard the quote in question. However, it could very likely be that her daughters do not play hockey and, with her oldest son in Iraq and her youngest son still too young to play, she is no longer a "hockey mom". If she had said something like "just a hockey mom", that might be different, but she actually singled out and praised hockey moms in her nomination speech, giving everyone in my family the impression that she still thought of herself as a hockey mom at heart.

Charley said...

The quote comes from her speech at the convention where she speaks of her history. While it is very possible that she was a "hockey mom" only for her oldest children, I took it in a context that said she has moved up in the world from being "just a mom." After all, she does describe herself as a feminist... and that is NOT a good thing in my mind.

While I like most of what I've heard her say, the more I muse on the subject, the more I think she is damaging our society more than even Obama could... by communicating to our young ladies that hearth and home are not the best place to influence society (the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world).

And that doesn't even get into the whole issues of headship. I'm planning a post that links to several good articles on the topic.

Thanks for reading....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great post!

I feel that Palin has made this election quite complicated -- in some GOOD ways and some bad ways. She is so LIKEABLE, and so NORMAL. She really does seem to be a Real Conservative (politically). However, it breaks my heart to see her being so busy with a family she should be taking care of.

My husband and I had a thought/question about the concept of women in leadership. We aren't theologians by any stretch of the imagination, so feel free to add or correct this thought!

We were thinking of when Deborah was judging Israel -- we agree that it was evidence of God's judgment over them. However, God used Deborah for good for Israel, in fact used her to DELIVER them from worse evil.

I was thinking of the Deborah-situation in contrast to other times when God turned over Israel to foreign or evil homegrown kings. Talk about judgment! YIKES.

Aren't there different levels of God's judgment/discipline?

I'm just thinking I'd rather the Christian men of our country be brought to task by God using a woman to the do the job they should be doing, then having our country's livelihood turned over to evil (especially baby-killing!) and socialistic rule.

Thanks for your thoughts!