it’s a good question

A letter writer to my newspaper, The National Post, asks this question about the Republican vice-presidential nominee:

Re: The Culture Wars Continue, Father Raymond J. de Souza, Aug. 30. Father Raymond J. de Souza’s subtle endorsement of Sarah Palin is interesting. How can a woman be second in charge of the most influential country on Earth and not able to be ordained in his Church?

Just asking. Eric Madden, Collingwood, Ont.

Raymond de Souza is a Roman Catholic priest who has a regular column in the Post. A column I rarely look at and almost never finish, by the way.

But the letter writer asks a good question, one for which Independent Baptists and other fundamentalist Christians should have a good, biblical answer.

Does political office by women involve a usurpation of God-defined roles of male and female? Or not? Or are there such roles at all? Are they limited only to home and church? Surely the roles as we understand them certainly apply to the home, but then, what, in this case, about Sarah Palin’s home?

Doesn’t it strike one as just a bit odd about the kind of relationship a woman in a position like this has with her own husband? How can the power of Governor-ship (or of the vice presidential office) be compatible with her God-appointed role of submission to her own husband?

The recent news about the Palin’s daughter is really a side show, but it might be emblematic of the problems role reversals and usurping God’s order produce. That is not to say that if only mom had been at home, none of this would have happened. But it does call mom’s judgement into question at least a little bit. And it calls John McCain’s judgement into question as well, doesn’t it?

While I understand the political positives about this selection by McCain, I can’t be wholly enthusiastic about it. It may help boost McCain to victory, which, considering the abominable alternative, I heartily hope for.

But a woman as vice-president? A woman we wouldn’t ordain to the ministry? Can we check our enthusiasm and partisanship a little bit on this? Could we be a little circumspect in the effusiveness of our praise? Could we, perhaps, be consistent with our beliefs in the mandates of Scripture?


UPDATE: A similar theme sounded over on the Bayly bros. blog.


  1. Don,

    I am in total agreement with you here, and feeling slightly rebuked, as I have already spoken openly in favor of Gov. Palin. As an Alaskan I feel she has been a good governor, though I did not support her in the Republican primary due (in part) to the reasons you cite here. However I could not have, in good conscience, supported her male, Democratic rival in the general election due to his views on the most important moral issues of our day. Therefore, I chose Sarah Palin.

    With all due respect to your point here, sometimes it is refreshing to have someone, anyone who actually keeps their word. The vast majority of people in this state feel Gov. Palin has done that.

    One way or the other, Christians of conscience in America will have to hold their noses and vote. While I would prefer all four candidates were the best and brightest male leaders in their parties, they are not. So…it seems we have to take the bright spots as they come. Palin is as bright as it gets this time around; sad, but true.


    P.S. – Here’s my latest Palin-related post. I will be taking your advice about consistency and thinking this through a little more carefully too.

  2. Hey Chris,

    I should clarify a bit… When it comes to voting, I vote for the best available candidate who will be most likely to support the views I think are important. So in this election, I will use what influence I can to support the McCain/Palin ticket. However, prior to her selection, I would have advised McCain to look elsewhere (not that he would be asking me!)

    I don’t think it is inconsistent to vote for a woman if she is the best available candidate. But if there are other alternatives, I would favour them over a woman for sure.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Glad I could be of help, Don, though I don’t see how your position is significantly different from mine.

  4. Chris, you aren’t as effusive as some, so I grant that. But you are “impressed” whereas I am “resigned”.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  5. I’m not intending to pursue this further, Don, but your last paragraph puzzles me. Since when do qualifications for pastoral ministry have anything to do with political leaders? Shouldn’t we expect that those in the ministry have higher qualifications than those in public life—for example, that they be Christians? Honestly, when is the last time you voted for any politician (whether VP or otherwise) you would “ordain to the ministry”? I think it’s a false test of fitness.

  6. Hi Chris,

    Glad to clarify. Some complementarians suggest that the Biblical teaching on gender roles is strictly limited to church and family. (Grudem, Piper, etc, would be examples.) Others say that the Biblical teaching applies in all walks of life (Bayly bros., Mouser, etc.) I would fall in the latter camp.

    Obviously I have voted for many politicians who I wouldn’t ordain to the ministry, but my objection here is related to why a woman wouldn’t be ordained. With ordination, men may be qualified or unqualified, but women aren’t considered. I would say that women really shouldn’t be in positions of authority if the Biblical mandate were consistently followed. I am not advocating that we have an agenda for somehow imposing the Biblical mandate as the political structure of Western democracies, but as a believer, I find it hard to be completely enthusiastic in a woman candidate, even though I might agree with that candidate on a wide range of issues as I do in this case.

    Does that help? Or make it less clear?

    Bottom line, I am resigned to the fact that the better candidates for president/vice-president this time around are McCain/Palin. I am not enthusiastic about either, neither would have been my first choice. In fact, my first choices weren’t running at all this time, alas.

    So I am glad that McCain picked as conservative a VP as he did, but I have misgivings about the whole concept of a woman in that office.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  7. I hesitate to weigh in again too Don, but I must say this latest explanation helps. I think this is a good distinction to make.

    In too many instances today, Christians are defined (in the eyes of the world) by the political positions they take. This is in part due to the high profile preachers and Christian leaders that inject themselves into the political process. If we are not careful, we can seem like cheerleaders for parties , platforms and candidates rather than ministers of Christ.

    Any time we can make the distinction between that which we “can” support and that which is Biblical, I think we are well served. In other words I find us to be in hearty agreement.

  8. Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

  9. I’ve been thinking of that verse, Jerry.