The most liberal translation of Scriptures clearly shows the normative pattern for women is to be their husband’s (not some other man’s) helpmate. Many seem to be willing to give Palin a free pass on this issue, because she is pro-life, or because she may help to keep a muslim out of office, or for some other “noble” reason. I’m at a loss to understand their thinking, or at least in my ability to see it as Biblical. Perhaps, we have just become so use to feminist dogma in this age of female preachers, priest, and senators that we are tainted. Perhaps, we are so influenced by the culture around us that we are simply unable to think like Christians any more.
It seems that the critiques fall into two categories. Some are saying we, those who denounce Palin candidacy outright, are being judgmental and are being unfair to her as an individual. Yet, others are saying that we are not giving due consideration to the idea that God may place Palin in office – that it may be part of His plan.
To the first, I would state that when someone puts themselves forward for a position of civic or ecclesiastical leadership, they are no longer simply a private individual. There are two things that happen. First, their private life becomes open to public scrutiny. After all, you cannot lead in public if your character is not sound in private. Secondly, you and your life become intertwined with that office or position. When we speak of “the president” we are speaking of a person and an office.
Next, there are two things that come out of the intertwined life of a leader. First, there is an honor that is due a properly ordained magistrate. We are to honor the office, because it is ordained by God and by showing honor to the office we procure peace and order for society. Secondly, that individual life is measured by the qualifications of that office. As an example, if my 12 year old wanted to run for mayor, he would be judged not on his ability or character as an individual, but on the fact that he does not meet the minimum requirements for that office.
I point this out to help to clarify, that when someone speaks critical of Palin they may not be speaking of her as an individual, but of her qualifications for an office. When I make a claim that she is a feminist, I am not making a judgment about her eternal soul, her relationship with God or her heart. But I am using her life decisions, the words she speaks and the actions she has taken, to judge whether or not she if qualified for the office she is seeking. I am judging whether her claims to be a Christian line up with the claims her life makes. It is not my place to make a judgment about her eternal soul, but it most certainly is our place to judge whether or not she is qualified for the office she seeks.
However, the fact that Palin is a woman, means I don’t have to go into those details to determine if she is qualified for civil office… she is not, based on her gender alone. If you read that last statement and thought I said something about someone being chained to a stove, please re-read the statement and then read this article or look at the posts found on the topic of feminism for a more complete understanding of a counter cultural, but completely biblical concern.
Many seem to try to bend the Scriptures to either say that it is allowable for a woman to serve in a civic or ecclesiastical role. Or they try to make a distinction between a civic leader and an ecclesiastical leader. One does not need to go far in Scripture to understand God’s created order and the roles he gave to men and women. Even if there was not a clear created order in the relationships between men and women, could we find examples of women leading in the scriptures?
Let’s go through all the kings of Israel, do we see any women leading there? How about the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, do we see any example of God’s people being lead by a woman? Let’s search the entire New Testament, are there any examples there? We have two examples of women who were in the “Whitehouse” of their day. Both Ester and Jezebel are spoken of as entering into the things of the civil realm. However, neither of them were civic leaders. They were married to the king. One is a great example of courage and the other… well, the other is not.
To be sure there are great women shown to us as examples in the Bible. In addition to Esther, there are the examples of the mid-wives, Ruth, Rehab, the prophetess Anna in Luke 2, and certainly we should not forget the mother and grandmother of Timothy, Eunice and Lois. But in all the passages we find, we see but one that seems to indicate some sort of public role, that of Deborah in Judges 4. Bill Einwechter dealt extensively with that topic and with the topic of women in leadership in general very thoroughly here. Look for item 5 for the commentary on Deborah.
One last point, on this topic and then I plan to dismiss it from my life. Many are saying that God may be calling Palin forward as a non-normative leader by His sovereign will. God may do what He wishes. But He has given us a standard to live by. He has graciously given us His Word so that we might be able to make sound judgments and decisions in our lives, including who we might elect for civil leaders. I’ll be the first to admit, it is difficult to make those decisions in this post Christian nation, but that is our duty none-the-less. The bottom line is a pro-life feminist, as a VP does not make a bad presidential pick a good one. If McCain was not a worthy object of our vote last week, he is not worthy of our vote this week.
If I may recommend one more article to you, Chuck Baldwin, who is a man worthy of your consideration for this election, has written a thorough review of John McCain’s so called pro-life record. If we can sum up this issue, it is not about perfection. We all are sinners worthy of the judgment. What we are looking for is someone who can meet the minimum requirements. McCain fails on his understanding of life and the civic and biblical duty to protect it, along with his past martial issues, and Palin fails because she is a woman and a feminist. Anyone interested in holding Obama up to the light of scriptures?