Saturday, September 06, 2008

Loneliness in Biblical Womanhood Case against Sarah Palin

This morning I woke feeling very lonely. For the past several days the sense of loneliness has edged into my life from different directions. I’m happy for my friends out of the country (or soon to be), energized for the moms with new responsibilities and challenges everyday, and interested in the things people are learning in schools and jobs and ministries around the country. They’re just not home. I ridicule the texting culture, for what it has done to social lives and the English language. But the teenagers I know who text, have friends that will communicate with them at all hours. My friends are so busy, and of my opinion about texting!

There’s a different kind of loneliness, and more profound. After all, in most circumstances, I can find people, and engage in conversation. There’s blogging and reading blogs, usually a one-sided conversation either way. Where I feel the impact of loneliness the most, though, is when I am surrounded by people and voices believing and advocating things with which I disagree. Such was the case this morning.

Last Friday I heard on the radio the eager rumors spreading that John McCain had selected the governor of Alaska to be his running mate. I was excited, as I have said, to find out about Sarah Palin, to have the thrill of being the first to report facts I heard or read to the less initiated. However, I had no intention of voting for McCain, even with this selection. If I had agreed more with the policies of McCain, believed him to be truly pro-life and of good honest character, a man who rightly understood and upheld the Constitution, the pick of a wife and mother for Vice President would have rattled my willingness to vote for him.

Since the announcement confirming her candidacy, the media has worked overtime to find information on this unknown political figure. Naturally they choose the juiciest and most controversial items to publish first and loudest. And I don’t want to be a part of attacking a candidate and holding them accountable for the mistakes of their family. I do, however, wish to make a wise judgment on the capabilities of a candidate. The way a person parents their children is an indicator of their leadership, and so facts about their level of success in raising moral and obedient children ought to be considered.

Additionally, those who for years have been promoting the feminist agenda are scrambling so much for a word against Sarah Palin that they argue she ought not take such a big job as the vice presidency because she would necessarily be neglecting her five young children. These people are using the position as an ad hominem. I would make the case on principle, principles I have held and by which I have tried to live for years.

I have a list of reasons why Sarah Palin should not be the Vice President. Most of them have to do with being female. Am I anti-woman? Absolutely not. I believe women are given a calling to be influencers and helpers rather than leaders, and that they are most effective and the people being led and influenced are better off when women fulfill that role and men are the leaders and representatives. This is arguably the structure on which our federal representative government was founded. That America has as of yet not wholly abandoned the model in their representative government has spoken to the preservation granted America’s morality and faith as a result of the conviction of its earliest pilgrims and statesmen. The rest of the world has abandoned male leadership in the family and the state, simultaneously departing from a representative government and moving to a socialist mommy state system.

Am I inconsistent? No. In the past week I have heard Palin supporters demand, “Would you tell a woman she can’t be CEO of a company because she has a family?” Of course if I were doing the hiring, I would not hire a woman to neglect her family in order to give feminine leadership to a business. But I have no CEO for which I am making decisions, and I do have a vote and a voice in this election. I will not be responsible for putting Governor Palin in power, even though she is a good person.

She is a good person, I believe. Her whole life has been spent as a feminist, though, and she’s been so busy running after achievements that there has been no time to consider whether the towers of her life are built on the same worldview that she claims to believe. McCain knew exactly what he was doing in nominating her. If people ask me what I think of the choice, my one word answer is “Strategic.” She is female to appeal to women, both “conservative” women and disenchanted former Hillary supporters. At 44, her youth counters both Barak Obama’s appeal to students and twenty-somethings, and arguments that McCain is dangerously old for office. Her experience as a governor outweighs any other executive experience offered in this campaign. Governor Palin has a large family, and has been married (unlike McCain) to the same person her whole adult life. By confession, she is pro-life. Her policies as governor were fiscally responsible and pro-reform. We all witnessed her speaking abilities Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention. And lately the big campaign issue has been energy independence and costs, on which she has long held what recently became an astoundingly popular position.

McCain, as I said, knew what he was doing. He also knows that she is the complement to his less popular ideas. She is, he believes, his ticket to getting conservatives to vote for him. He is using her to manipulate us, the grass roots Republicans who have been feeling pretty abandoned in recent years. Enjoy this campaign while it lasts; I say we’re liable to feel pretty abandoned again come February. McCain will still be the president, proudly going his own way on his own wisdom which he has demonstrated is in opposition to some values that are very important to me. If he was unacceptable as president before, he remains unacceptable. Choosing Governor Palin was not a sign of a change of heart in the presidential candidate: pragmatic as ever, he was making a shrewd move to buy your vote.

A great number of people have been dissatisfied with McCain as the only apparent representative of Judeo-Christian values this election cycle. In that I did not feel lonely. But I was surprised by an even greater number of people who put SIGNIFICANT differences aside in order to endorse, campaign for, and cheer John McCain. All they want is to see a Republican in office rather than a democrat, rather than Barak Obama. Acting out of fear and under manipulation, these true conservatives are willing to “Get drunk and vote for McCain,” as Ann Coulter says. So much excitement at the Republican National Convention bodes well for the Republican ticket, and very badly for the greater of goods. Why are people so pleased to be voting for the lesser of two evils? Our country was founded with the opportunity to vote for the greater of many goods.

So I feel lonely now, abandoned even by most of the formerly dissatisfied voters. When I turn on talk radio, or read editorials from places like Townhall, they are filled without exception with promotions of Sarah Palin and defenses of her womanhood and parenthood. These havens of logical thought and biblical values have begun to vehemently criticize and rile against the stand I have taken for femininity. Though I found a handful of Christian blogs (Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, Generation Cedar, Ladies Against Feminism) sharing my views, I still feel very lonely.

Those of us who agree (same position, same reasons) on the issue of women in government, have begun resigning ourselves to being radical right-wing fundamentalists. Funny, since these values are those that were mainstream Christian tenets as little as sixty years ago. What has happened to cause the middle ground to shift so far away from us? Have those changes been good or bad? (The answer to the last question depends on your standard. If you think the goal of society is to achieve equality between men and women, the past fifty years has been very productive in the short term. However, reality and truth will ultimately win out. We will reap what we sow, and no amount of aiming for or pretending to equality will actually produce it. Those who usurp the created order will end up in worse situations, even by their own standards.)

My radical right-wing fundamentalist case against and concerns for Sarah Palin as vice president are as follows:

  • Women are created to submit. God made the world this way, and revealed it in His word. Evidence bears this out as true and effective. A world in which women are in charge (much like our own) has serious inter-generational issues resulting in psychological instability and even death. Don’t believe me? See the next point.
  • Sarah Palin’s pro-life example is promoted as being something abnormal. It is abnormal according to today’s statistics, but it ought not be abnormal. Going through with a pregnancy is not heroic. It is natural. The fact that millions of babies die each year legally and for convenience is a sign of decay well associated with the break down in the family and the abandonment of nurturing and education of their own children by women.
  • Women are emotional and social by nature. God made us to sympathize and nurture, to meet needs like hunger and shelter. The Proverbs 31 woman even extended her hand to the poor in these areas. When women run governments (or even participate in elections), the emphasis of government is diverted from justice and defense to social causes that ought to belong to individuals, households, and churches. I hope that the danger to a nation with less interest in justice and defense is evident to you all.
  • Families need moms. Todd Palin’s family needs Sarah. They need her to nurture and guide them, to support Todd and unburden him with household affairs that he may fulfill his role as man, husband, and father. As possible evidence of the effect of Sarah’s feminist choices so far, her seventeen year old daughter rebelled against her parents’ principles and became pregnant out of wedlock. There is forgiveness for that, and the Palins are offering it. There ought also to be support and direction, restoration of the young woman. Who is offering that?
  • Along the same lines, the Palin family has utterly sacrificed their privacy. The youngest daughter, Piper, seems to be enjoying the life of a celebrity, waving like a little movie star and smiling shyly at cameras, all while trying to help with her baby brother. Child stars have rough lives. How healthy is it to expose the good and bad and neutral choices of all to the critical eye of the media and public? Is blame for any hurt to be laid entirely on the public? I don’t think so. As I said before, the conduct of children is an indicator of the responsibility of a parent. The Bible requires the children of deacons and elders to be obedient and under control. Why is this except that the behavior of children is relevant to the leadership of the parent?
  • As a member of “Feminists for Life,” Sarah Palin is promoting circular reasoning. Feminism promotes abortion – yes, inherently. When women are made to believe that work and public achievement is as valid a goal if not more so than being a wife and a mom, children are robbed of their high and exclusive place in the attention of women. Once devalued, the slope is slippery in leading to abortion. Also women who deny that God created them fundamentally to be wives and mothers will be much more tempted to use their sexuality in immoral ways. Promoting abstinence and abstinence education as she does, Sarah Palin is being inconsistent with the values of feminism, which asserts choice above goodness.
  • Sarah Palin, by being a mayor, a governor, and a vice presidential candidate, is promoting feminism, a fundamentally anti-God, counter-biblical philosophy, to an emerging generation of young women.
  • Though she is forty four, Governor Palin just gave birth to a baby boy. At such an age that was considered a high risk pregnancy, and the risks were produced in a handicapped child. For these reasons, Todd and Sarah may already have plans to prevent future fertility. Is this biblical? Surely their decision will also be influenced by the difficulties of pregnancy while holding public office. Is that fair?
  • What if she does get pregnant, then, while vice president of the United States? It isn’t as though she can appoint a regent, or take a maternity leave. She already risked Trig during her last pregnancy by taking an airplane three days before her due date and returning home in labor during the flight. No doubt there would be more obligations to fulfill than a voluntary speech, were she vice president.
  • John McCain betrayed his first wife for Cindy (his wife of nearly thirty years now), a beautiful woman twenty years his junior. Now he has voluntarily chosen a woman he named his “soul mate” to serve in intense team situations, who is beautiful and ten years younger than his wife, Cindy. Granted, he’s in his seventies. Isn’t this playing with fire?
  • The vice president has some specific jobs granted by the Constitution, and most of Sarah Palin’s qualifications have little to do with the responsibilities enumerated there. She would, if elected, be first in line to the presidency behind a man whose health and age give reason to believe in its frailty. And a vice president is offered a position of counsel to the president. How much he depends on her views will be entirely up to him. What I’m saying is that all of Sarah Palin’s conservative values may be wasted on the vice presidency, should John McCain choose to ignore them.
  • What is Todd Palin supposed to do? There are many conflicts between his position as head of the household and her aspired-to role as second in command in the United States. I think he would be expected to move to Washington, D.C., and take care of the kids and grandchild. And certainly the couple discussed the possibilities before his wife accepted the nomination. But I think that for him to defer to his wife as leader would be wrong, and for the kids to be given almost entirely to the care of the father and professionals would be unhealthy.
  • Finally, just as I find it confusing and isolating that liberals wish to attack Palin on the same grounds that cause concern in me, the double appeal to evangelicals and Hillary feminists is suspicious. Are our standards so low that we can agree with Hillary supporters on a candidate whose qualifications and expectations are deep and varied? Can a stream give fresh and salt water?

The loneliness I feel saddens me. So much of our world is suffering. First of all this is because our world needs the gospel. Life comes from Jesus, who died as substitute for us, who have earned the wrath of God for our sins. Repentance from sin is the solution to these problems. There is also common grace given to those who function in the world as God designed. They sow and reap, for God made the earth to yield harvest in that way. They marry and bear children, for God created humans that way. Yet our world suffers because we are too foolish even to acknowledge the way the world properly works. In our mass rebellion against all things instituted by God, we have cut the floor out from under ourselves. I see everywhere hurting people, people who have no imagination that there is anything better than the existence they have experienced. I speak up today to direct people back to some of the principles by which God created society to work. As always, I pray that my words will direct people to the wise God who loved us even while we rebelled against His ways and Himself. How marvelous. That is the only hope I have for our nation. It is the hope I cling to for myself.

To God be all glory.

9 comments:

kellyj said...

While I agree with many of your points, I wanted to point out some inaccuracies in your data.

No idea who I'll vote for this election. Thinking about a write-in.. but not sure what that would accomplish.

Side note: anyone else find it a little silly to see grown men and women jumping up and down uncontrollably at both conventions???

Okay... so... (because as you well know, I never can keep my mouth shut) the 'high risk' status of her last pregnancy was entirely due to age. A factor that many do not consider a risk in the truest sense. The 'risk' is that the chance of having a baby with down syndrome when you are older than 35 is greater than the risk of an amniocentesis (about 1 in 200)

The 'risk' of flying during pregnancy is not a risk to the pregnancy generally but rather the chance that late in pregnancy you can go into labor while in-flight. Not the best place to labor and give birth, but not necessarily harmful to mother or child. The distressing part of this story to me is the blatant disregard for what her OB supposedly told her.

I do think that you need to use extreme caution when placing the sins of the child on the parents. Given, parenting is a huge influence, but even the best of parents have children who stray.

As for McCain picking a woman.. what are the chances of him spending that much alone time with her? Isn't Cheney always in an "undisclosed location"? lol. Wise or not, it worries me far less than the politics of both of them.

I hate to vote for someone what is not what's "best" but when looking at the options... I'd like to go with the least destructive candidate. :(

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Yeah, I think it's weird the way people cry and chant and scream and jump and wave t-shirts at conventions. The whole business is like a rock concert, and may be symptomatic of the departure our culture has taken from a traditional respect for politics. This isn't cheering for your favorite football team at the Superbowl!

Just because I didn't give anything technical doesn't mean my immensely summarized points were innaccurate. Mom's last pregnancy was after 35, and I am aware that this is considered high risk. I was trying to throw together several points at once, I guess. First is the fact that she is still able to have kids. Second is the fact that having kids at her age is considered high risk. Third is the likelihood that, given the last pregnancy and the additional responsibilities for which Mrs. Palin is applying, the couple will decide not to have any more kids. While not 100% against birth control, I don't think this is a necessary occasion for it. Finally, I was trying to say that she has already prioritized her career over her childbearing and childrearing.

I know we can't hold parents accountable for their kids' sins. I don't want to have the mom and dad thrown in jail or excommunicated; I just don't want them in national leadership. The Bible teaches not to put such parents in leadership of the church. I believe this is based on a principle of leadership and priorities that also applies in choosing government leaders. The Palins can be good parents, and their kids can be good kids whose lives aren't ruined by one mistake. On the other hand, if a parent is not a good one, there will be evidence in the lives of their children. We cannot say for sure which is happening.

As for the McCain/female VP thing, I'm not saying that they'll be up doing paperwork late at night just the two of them. The nature of their relationship will be intimate; he's already called her his soulmate; if feelings develop, the temptation is there to make something happen. Affairs begun at the office don't consummate (as far as I have heard) in the office. They branch out.

Write-in's are protest votes. They make a statement. Theoretically someone could win the presidency being written in, but that is very unlikely in the media-driven world of today. Voting for the candidate you think best qualified (a Republican, Democrat, third party, or write-in) is being faithful to your conscience. When you do what you believe is right, you leave the consequences in God's hands - and we affirm that He is able to do mighty things. Finally, I'd say a vote for a third-party candidate propels that party forward towards the election when one or both of our major parties today will be supplanted. I believe the time is coming. There is too much division, and too many similarities between the Republicans and Democrats. The people may reassert themselves as they did over a hundred years ago when they elected Lincoln and introduced the Republican Party.

Thanks for the comment. I know you were very busy. = )
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

åslaug said...

Well, Lisa, I have to confess that I've used several hours (due to everything I did in between) to read this post of yours. Though, I do not regret it enough to call it wasted time. It was time well spent. I recognize your loneliness from my own life, but I want to remind you that you are not as lonely as you may feel.

The thing about lonely people are that they are mostly to far away to see the other lonely people, and the distance makes it impossible to gather all the lonely people and make them feel understood and included.

I was also reminded of God's perfect design for man and woman, thank you for being another voice in my life lifting it up, I'll tell you I don't hear it too often. You have many, many interesting points. I'm so glad you write. Your words are so often a true blessing! Sometimes your meaning flyes above my head, but mostly I have to think a lot after reading on your blog. Wish you a perfect evening and a good nights sleep. Soli Deo Gloria

åslaug

åslaug said...

Okay, reviewing my comment I think I might have been a little too honest and quite tactless. I am sorry. I really didn't mean to.
åslaug
Soli Deo Gloria

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Not at all, Aslaug. Thank you for your consideration, but I think your comment was just fine. Very gracious.

I know the post was long, and politics in the US may not concern you as much as they do me.

Thanks for taking the time to read. (The End of Lori's Choice is up now. Did you see it? Part 23?)
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Doc Op said...

Lisa,

First, I deeply appreciate your convictions. I often felt much alone at a younger age. These days I no longer feel set apart at the same level, so I feel that feeling less often.

I did have one quick thought about evaluating current practice in the light of past history. You mentioned that 60 years ago many Christians would not have supported a woman with five children running for National office. It may be that past attitudes reflect real wisdom, but I would counter with a question. Do you vote? If so, you engage in a practice that would have likewise drawn the disapproval of past generations. Today we look at the women who pressed for women's suffrage as pioneers, but they were not always viewed that way. I dare say you could produce many quotes from that era of Christian leaders condemning the suffrage movement. So, what do you think? Is women's suffrage something good?

Kirk Jordan

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Kirk,
In answer to your question on suffrage, I find the arguments used at the time of the debate for women's suffrage to be both persuasive and prophetic. That said, since (as one of my other readers pointed out) voting is entirely extrabiblical - whereas leadership is not - this is a matter of freedom. While women have the vote, I encourage women to vote according to the heads of their household or not at all. In this way the Christian home can still be represented as much as the secular, the feminist, the individual living an independent lifestyle. And I do hope that women will not shirk their role as moral influences and teachers for the all too simple privilege of a vote.

I may have the opportunity to put this to the test in this election, since the head of my household is intending to vote for McCain/Palin. If that remains the case in November, I will abstain from voting on that issue, but will still vote where we are in agreement.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

åslaug said...

Oh, I'm relieved. I was kind of anxious rereading that first comment.

Even if politics in the US, might not interest me as much as they do you, living the Christian life in a world of the enemy clearly is of interest to me. I often tend to forget what I believe in and why I believe it, simply because I don't have many occasions that challenge me to remember it, and because I am so used to this world, and forgets quite easily that even if I live in it, I'm certainly not called to live like I'm of it. I'm called to a higher standard, and this is what your posts tend to remind me.

Yes, I saw the last one, and it was the day after I read part 22, so I was kind of thrilled. I left a comment, you'll see it =)

It's encouraging when you miss people in your life supporting God's standards, to be able to just press a few keys on my computer and find a blog where I am challenged to remember what I live and why I live it. God sure is gracious to give me this opportunity and fill this need of mine.

By the way (can I ever complain on the length of your posts when I write comments like this one?) I read your answer to mr. Jordan, and your answer made me think (again..), I've never thought of it like that, but of course, that's the way it must be. Chequing with Scripture and asking the Spirit, as always; but I got a big, huge, aha! Again.

Have a beautiful night (it's night here)! To God be all glory.

åslaug

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Aslaug,
I too have experienced God's grace through the blogosphere, knowing that there are people out there. And some days blogs aren't enough. I wonder where are the people in my city, in my church, who could share some of my life more than my thoughts or arguments, but who share my values. Whether or not I can find such kindred spirits close by, I believe God designed Christians to join in community with other believers in person. Being present with other saints is a blessing, too, in a different way.

I am always blessed by your comments. You have a sweet, encouraging heart.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn