Historic Palin Candidacy Poses Problems for Biblical Literalists

Republicans argue that Governor Palin was chosen as a running mate because she is the perfect outsider to help Senator McCain clean up Washington. Democrats suggest that her pick was designed to lure away working class whites and women who voted for Senator Clinton in the primaries. Despite the controversy that swirls around her, despite the different spin that the two parties have tried to put on her interviews, speeches, and gaffes, and despite the fact that she seems to have been chosen to rally the Conservative Evangelical base of the Republican party, Governor Sarah Palin has generated unanimity on one issue. With her heels and lipstick, everyone agrees that she is a woman.

She has certainly brought an increased energy to the Republican ticket, but it is unapparent that Senator McCain considered the criticisms that her nomination might elicit from Fundamentalists who argue that woman should not exercise public leadership.

As a nation of media consumers we seem unwilling to tolerate nuanced stories or to demand complex narratives. Thus, when Governor Palin is introduced to cheering crowds of Conservative Evangelicals, the story seems to be that Christian Conservatives unanimously approve of her selection. The truth is much more complicated. While large numbers of “Prolife” and Conservative Evangelicals have been enthused by Palin’s appearance on the national stage, a vocal minority of Conservative Christians has questioned the propriety of a woman standing for such a powerful office. In short, the question remains for some Christian Fundamentalists, if a woman is not allowed to preach publicly or exercise spiritual authority over a man, then is it against biblical teaching to have a woman a proverbial “heartbeat away” from the most powerful office on earth? For some the answer is yes.

The Rev. Voddie Baucham is a Southern Baptist minister who worries that feminism has crept into Evangelical churches. In his blog, in newspaper interviews and on television Baucham openly questions the wisdom of Evangelicals who have anointed Governor Palin as a pro-family candidate despite the fact that her candidacy is an affront to the biblical mandate that women submit to their husbands and occupy themselves with domestic duties. In an interview on CNN, Baucham suggests that Evangelicals have caved in to the culture of feminism and have struck a bargain with the Republican Party in the hopes of gaining secular power. In doing so Evangelicals have forsaken the Bible. “The culture doesn’t dictate truth,” Bauchum contends, “the Gospel dictates truth.”

The opposition of Fundamentalists to a female Vice President adds an additional layer of complexity to the already complex story of Evangelical response to the McCain/Palin ticket. Understandably, Governor Palin and her spokespeople have not spoken to this issue nor lent it legitimacy with a response.

Read the LA Times Articles: To Some Evangelicals, Palin’s Career Violates Biblical Teachings and Palin Treads Carefully Between Fundamentalist Beliefs and Public Policy

Read The Tennessean Article: Palin Pick Divides Baptists

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