Sunday, September 7, 2008

Evangelical leader: Palin can serve family and country

An evangelical leader tries to answer Sally Quinn and explain why he, and other Christian leaders, believe Sarah Palin can serve both family and country. This strikes me as a compassionate piece, lacking the nasty tone of the other columns raising the Mommy Question.

I agree with him that most women (at least the ones I know) consider marriage and motherhood to be a primary life fulfillment, and I agree with him that this does not preclude those women from also having a calling for a career. I agree with him that questions about how Sarah will balance career and family should remain in a private sphere, and I have no problem with him saying he'd raise them to her as her minister. That's a far different question from such motherhood/career balancing concerns becoming a major public debate about the qualifications of the female candidate for VP in the presidential election. I would assume that a minister would raise such balancing concerns with a male politician as well. I am sure that fathers on the campaign trail also struggle to balance their political duties with their family ones, as they also have special roles within the family structure.

I also agree with him that many women are not prepared to choose the sacrifices that a political life entails; then, again, neither are most men. I, of course, as a female, am bothered on some levels by the Biblical comment about "servant leadership" and submission, and by the fact that women can not be pastors, but I don't disagree with the intepretation of it by this minister, which says, after all, that men and women are equal but that they have complementary, and different, roles within the home. They do. Fathers and mothers are not exactly the same. They bring different things into children's lives. I am sure that Todd and Sarah Palin will continue to be a good father and mother in their children's lives, and how they balance it is frankly none of my business.

I find it interesting how this theologian carefully separates the religious sphere from the public, political one. Perhaps the feminist newspaper columnists are the ones doing the opposite - assuming that religious doctrine should, in fact, MUST, govern Palin's entrance into the public sphere alone. Yet the evangelicals are themselves not making that case.

But if Sally Quinn has a problem with what she sees as evangelical hypocrisy on the Palin question, she and her brethren should be writing columns accusing evangelicals of hypocrisy that do not then go to the next step of assuming a position even more rigid than theirs - that Palin herself should not run for VP with all those kids and that she's somehow a bad mother if she does so.

I've never seen a single quote from Sarah Palin criticizing working mothers or saying a woman's place is solely in the home. Her life history indicates the opposite.

In other words, Quinn and her friends in the media might consider that they sound far more rigid on this question than the evangelical minister linked above - and than Sarah Palin. I am sure all evangelicals don't think alike, though.

Who knew? Sally Quinn is more opposed to working mothers than an evangelical minister. Strange times.

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