R. Justin Shepherd | PART-TIME PUNDIT

Palin, traditional Christianity, gender roles and a faith sold cheap
5.September.2008, 10.09 pm
Filed under: faith

Let me warn you: You are about to embark on a conversation that a.) will make most non-Christians angry, b.) will make many Christian women angry, and c.) is politically incorrect in the strongest terms. But, if you share my faith in Christ and his father’s words, read on. (If not, please forgive me this spiritual time out. My usual everyman approach will return shortly.)

Daniel Larison pointed me to this discussion at his excellent blog, Eunomia. But let me offer some background.

There is a magazine called Chronicles. It is unabashedly Christian, and its mission statement contains the phrase “defend(ing) Western Christian civilization.” Here, you will find the editor’s evaluation of the Palin phenomenon (I urge you to read the whole thing, but only after you read through this and comment thoughtfully); it includes this deep and thought-provoking paragraph:

If Ms. Palin is a truly a Christian conservative, she is certainly not a conservative Christian.  Christians are supposed to understand the implications of “male and female created He them” and, at the very least, realize that a mother’s primary obligation is not to the taxpayers but to her children and husband.  It is all very well to celebrate her prowess as a politician and moose-hunter, but I do not recall these as feminine qualities in the Scriptures. I or we are not saying that we cannot vote for a woman who did not stay home to take care of her family, but only that this decision is incompatible with traditional Christian morality. [bold mine—RJ]

Now, even for a conservative Christian magazine, this takes some guts to write. (It wasn’t so long ago that Shelley and I were pretty well ostracized at our relatively Biblically-conservative church for simply asking some tough questions when the elders decided they wanted to change the constitution to allow women to serve as elders.) And, as early as May or June, is was probably a notion that you could hear in the sanctuaries of a great many politically conservative churches, railing against the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. This week, though, I have not encountered a single fellow Christian who expressed any concern over the idea that a woman might be elected vice president.

Why such enthusiasm? Partly, I think, because McCain is such an uninteresting, uninspiring, ultimately DULL candidate — but one whom staunch conservative Christians, convinced that it cannot possibly be OK to vote for someone who favors abortion rights but disfavors uninitiated military action (which lives are we “pro”?), were going to hold their nose and vote for anyway. Now, we think, we don’t need to hold our noses, but simply point them in Palin’s direction: Staunchly pro-life, with her five kids (one with Down’s, God bless her) and her appropriate credentials on those essential Christian conservative tenets of taxes and judges and earmarks and such.

But what does this say about our votes? That they are bought SO easily, bought with a mere phrase (“sanctity of life” — which, we must note, has not brought any solace to any aborted children, nor their poor mothers, nor brought any significant changes to abortion rates or the impetus behind such a tragic decision). We are the ultimate sellouts, if this is our motivation to vote for a particular party, regardless the circumstances. And what have we gotten in return? A lousy economy, a misbegotten war, a supposed “faith-based initiatives” program that was pure politics and an utter sham. Abortion rates, meanwhile, have increased under President Bush; his Supreme Court appointees both testified before Congress that they felt Roe v. Wade was now a “super-precedent,” meaning they’re not about to overturn it (are they sinful pro-choicers, or pro-life liars?).

But back to my main point. At my church, at least (a great PCA plant called Grace & Peace), I feel safe in saying that not one member would favor a woman being named as an elder — or, God forbid (and he does), a pastor. Yet willing to put a mother of five a heart attack away from being leader of the free world — a leader who, we say, should be a “spiritual man person” and who we think MUST be pro-life? It just doesn’t jibe.

If you’re so concerned about voting pro-life, vote for Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin or just sit the thing out. But to cast a vote against the legalization of a sin (many others are just as legal) that the Bible never explicitly mentions, while going against the centuries-old standard set forth clearly in scripture, is absolutely senseless.

P.S.: I do NOT advocate sitting out elections simply because neither candidate fits all your Christian proscriptions.


4 Comments so far
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Many of those same PCA members have mortgages on their homes, credit cards, making the commandment to not be indebted to any man null and void because everyone “has to have a mortgage”. In their zealousness to cross ever T and dot every I many forget to follow the greatest commandment of all, to love thy neighbor.

Wouldn’t you agree that Jesus is stooping down writing in the sand and patiently asking many of us which one is sinless and willing to condemn during these tough times in America?

My husband and I are praying to God for Him to show us where to vote. We pray for everything in our lives and can see the hand of God moving so beautifully across the story of our lives. Is it fair for other Christians to condemn those of us who are seeking the face of God in this matter if we feel God has led us to vote in a way that may not be considered Christian enough? God does work in great and mighty ways!!

Comment by Sallie

“Is it fair for other Christians to condemn those of us who are seeking the face of God in this matter if we feel God has led us to vote in a way that may not be considered Christian enough?”

Certainly not! I don’t mean to suggest it, and especially not to come off as doing that here. If I did, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness. Also, you’re right on noticing that this election year, more than most others, seems destined to bring everyone’s sins to light (and maybe illuminates ours as well)!

Comment by R. Justin

Oh, for the days in which the kings reigned! Then we didn’t have to worry about which candidate would be more sinful to vote for. Especially when voting for or against a candidate based on a single moral objection (here, abortion) yields practically no tangible or hope-for results! Especially when the majority of those we’re voting for are more than likely corrupt and greedy! Especially when the speeches of various parties do nothing but mock, slander, and distort their opponents’ positions!

How is it then that we can assume God is leading any of us to vote at all? Simply because it’s the mark of good citizenship? All one can do is vote one’s conscience, and hopefully one’s conscience can see through single-issue platforms, because humanity is much more multi-faceted.

Comment by Derek

Off topic – need help with email settings
How do I change Gmails SMTP settings?
Dr Gil Lederman
Gil Lederman
Gil Lederman MD

Comment by Dr Gil Lederman

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