Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, aimed in part to ease doubts about his candidacy among the Religious Right, isn’t winning over all conservative evangelicals.
While high-profile religious leaders like James Dobson and Richard Land praised Palin’s pro-life credentials and her identification as an evangelical Christian, some lesser-known yet still influential fundamentalist leaders questioned whether placing a woman with young children at home a heartbeat away from the presidency sends the wrong message about family values.
“I don’t see this as a pro-family pick at all!” said Voddie Baucham, a popular author and conference speaker who serves as preaching pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas. “In fact, I believe this was the anti-family pick.”
Baucham, who has spoken in several Southern Baptist venues, including the 2005 SBC Pastors Conference, says he doesn’t believe Palin can balance the responsibility of high political office with her role as Christian wife and mother.
“My point is simple,” Baucham said in a blog. “The job of a wife and mother is to be a wife and mother. Anything in addition to that must also be subservient to it. There is no higher calling. Moreover, I believe Paul’s admonition should lead us to reject any notion of a wife and mother taking on the level of responsibility that Mrs. Palin is seeking.”
Baucham said his “heart breaks” for Palin, because she has been blessed with five children but craves for something the secular world believes is “something more.”
“I fear she will regret this some day,” he said. “In fact, I believe she already does. I can’t imagine her going to sleep at night without a nagging doubt in the back of her mind as she thinks about the time with her children that she will never get back.”
“My heart breaks for her children,” he said. “Their mother, by all reports, is an incredible, intelligent, energetic woman with a great deal to offer. Unfortunately, right now she is offering it to the people of Alaska and the people of the United States of America when her first priority is to offer it to them. God designed them to flourish under the nurturing care of their mother, not some surrogate.”
“My heart breaks for her husband,” Baucham continued. “Mrs. Palin is not even supposed to be the head of her own household (Eph. 5:22ff; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-7), let alone the State of Alaska, or the United States Senate (The VP oversees the Senate). He should be shepherding her, but instead she is ruling over him (Rom 13:1-7; 1Pet 2:13-17). How difficult it must be for him to walk the fine line of bowing to the culture that is stealing his bride while still trying to love his wife and lead his family.”
Baucham also criticized leaders of the Christian Right, whom he described as “falling all over themselves” to praise McCain and “justify their blind allegiance to the Republican Party in an effort to secure more ‘pro-family’ judges.”
“They want to protect marriage from redefinition by the homosexual movement, and they are willing to redefine marriage (and motherhood) to do it,” said Baucham, who in 2005 co-sponsored a Southern Baptist Convention resolution warning against homosexual influences in public schools. Neoconservatives, meanwhile, he said, are using Palin as “a political pawn,” because they realize they must “win” on abortion.
“In essence, the message being sent to women by conservative Christians backing McCain/Palin is, ‘It’s OK to sacrifice your family on the altar of your career; just don’t have an abortion,'” Baucham said. “How pro-family is that?”
Baucham isn’t alone in his feelings. Mark Chanski, a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Holland, Mich., and the professor of hermeneutics for Reformed Baptist Seminary, says the Bible strongly favors male leadership. .
“The Bible views it as a judgment and calamity upon a nation for it to be ruled by women,” Chanski wrote. “Esther was a wise queen, but she did not rule as a monarch.”
“Deborah was indeed God’s appointed leader for Israel during the period of the Judges (Judges 4:1-5:31),” Chanski said. “But this was a morally dark and bleak era for Israel, and Deborah’s rise to power was actually an indictment against shameful male dereliction.”
Chanski said the Bible did look favorably on the Queen of Sheba and the legitimacy of her secular rule over a Gentile nation. He also cited modern examples like Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir, competent women politicians who led their nations well.
In summary, Chanski said, “Though I would never vote for a woman as my pastor, I could, under the right circumstances, be persuaded to vote for a woman as my president.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.