This was going to be an update to Friday’s post, but I’m bumping it into its own slot.
If you believe that women should submit to men, shouldn’t have teaching authority over men and so forth, then you are going to have a hard time accepting Sarah Palin as vice-president. To be a complementarian, after all, is to embrace the idea that men and women were created for distinct roles. Palin, who seems eager to court Hillary Clinton voters, sends a message with her life and her career that neither her sex nor her status as a mother of five should serve as a barrier to holding what could quickly become the most powerful post in the world.
Some conservative Christians have long suggested that public policy ought to reflect traditional biblical values. Many complementarians believe that the same rules that bar women from pastoral office bar them from high political office, though that position is not universally held. (The great Reformer John Knox famously made that point five centuries ago in his attacks on Bloody Mary and Elizabeth I.) As she made explicit in her pandering Friday tribute to Hillary Clinton, Palin wants to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all; social conservatives tend to believe that ceiling is God-ordained. Though the Obama-Biden ticket is far better on women’s issues than that offered by their GOP rivals, there’s no question that a Palin victory will, in some significant way, do violence to the antiquated notion of women’s submission to men. (Yes, I get that the veep is in some sense submissive to the person at the top of the ticket — but we all know the frailty of a single human life, particularly a septuagenarian one. From an actuarial standpoint, Palin has a not unreasonable chance of becoming the most powerful person in the world within the next four years.)
If you’re a social conservative, voting for Obama-Biden is almost unthinkable, given their views on abortion, gay rights, and so forth. McCain is hardly a darling of the religious right, though he has kow-towed to them with increasing vigor. Yet if one has qualms about the notion that women and men can do the same public work equally well, how can one vote for McCain-Palin? Trust me, as a progressive feminist evangelical, I don’t want Sarah Palin to win. But if she does, I know that her election will be celebrated as a historic milestone for women. And it will be a milestone on a road many of my most conservative friends — the “John Knox complementarians” — are reluctant to go down.
May I suggest that my complementarian friends stay home on November 4, or vote for a third party?
Kyso at Punkass made the same point earlier; I didn’t find the post until after making my own.
UPDATE: Check out “Ten Reasons I Don’t Want to be VP”. And yes, just wait a minute, and you’ll hear the chorus start that says “Sarah Palin’s daughter wouldn’t have ended up pregnant if Mama had been closer to home, able to monitor the family.”
UPDATE #2: From a Reformed (Calvinist) perspective, a post called Biblical Standard for Civil Magistrates.