There’s a group of conservative evangelicals staying home from G.O.P. campaign headquarters and quietly planning to pull levers for third party candidates this November. This time it’s not McCain that bothers them; it’s the vice-presidential candidate he chose just for them. It’s not that Sarah Palin isn’t conservative and pro-life and it’s not that she doesn’t look and talk a lot like they do. It’s that she’s a woman.

Christians like Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries say that Christians are sacrificing Biblical standards to embrace John McCain (an “unacceptable candidate” with a “horrific… left-wing, anti-family, track record") and Sarah Palin, who apparently calls for some of the more radical feminist reforms advanced by a vice presidential candidate in history." Voddie Baucham asks, “Are we saying that pro-family means one thing when we’re in church, but something else when we’re trying to beat the Democrats?"

They’re a fringe of one of Christianity’s fringes, but since major news sources find it fascinating and other Christians might find themselves muddled if they tried to articulate an answer, it’s time to address the problem.

They actually bring up a valid point: Can she handle the jobs of vice-presidency and mom? It’s a legitimate question for any voterChristian or non-Christian, feminist or not and it’s one I hope both McCain and Palin considered carefully. Not only is it unfair to her kids if she’s too busy running the country to raise them, it’s also unfair to the country if she’s too busy raising her kids.

While the question is valid, the theology prompting it is flawed. It’s the perennial problem of creating sharp dichotomies where none exist and twisting proof texts from ancient times to apply to modern times.

Vision Forum Ministries draws the dichotomy in its intro to “the most thoroughly-researched and best-reasoned article on the subject in our lifetime.” Either “the Bible alone establishes the complete and authoritative ethical standards for selecting civil magistrates,” or “American Christian voters must look to some man-divined standard other than the Bible.”

Vision Forum sides with the first of course, and they say that the “ethical standard” is male leadership in all spheres of life—not just church and home but also politics and the civil sphere. Since any New Testament scriptures about male leadership apply only to the church or the home, they go back to Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:13, both of which, they note, use the word “men” when describing the kind of character civil magistrates should have.

First, these verses don’t prohibit women from being civil magistrates. They simply assume that the civil magistrates will be men. They don’t expressly, explicitly exclude women. They simply neglect to include them, which makes sense for the patriarchal culture thousands of years ago and far less sense today, since Christianity itself has promoted women’s worth and equality.

Second, these verses apply to an Old Testament theocracy, and (fervently, sincerely thank God) we’re no longer living in one. It’s helpful to classify Old Testament law according to three categories: moral law (don’t sleep with your sister), ecclesiastical law (sacrifice animals to atone for your sin) and civil law (stone rebellious children). Moral law lasts. Ecclesiastical and civil law passed away. Neither of these verses even rise to the level of civil law. In Exodus, it’s not God talking but Moses’ father-in-law giving some paternal advice. In Deuteronomy, it’s Moses recounting the instance in Exodus—not claiming to speak for God but reminding Israel of what he advised them earlier.

While there may be other reasons not to vote for Sarah Palin, Exodus and Deuteronomy aren’t one of them. A vote for Palin is not (as stated in the most thoroughly-researched and best-reasoned article on the subject in our lifetime) a vote to “undermine the authority of God’s law" and "corrupt the Word of God.”

About The Author

Alisa Harris

0 Responses to The Worst Reason to Vote Against McCain

  1. Aaron says:

    One of these days, man. I was going to vote for Obama anyway, but definitely not because of the old testament. I find it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be a Christian in modern society without constantly feeling like I need to apologize.

  2. Joseph Hudson says:

    Now, Miss Harris, I know you have a degree in journalism and even teach a journalism class at Kings College, so what I want to know is why did you purposely leave off the three words that preceded the phrase “the most thoroughly-researched and best-reasoned article on the subject in our lifetime” to try and prove your point? When I clicked on the link I noticed the author did try to qualify his statement with these three words: THIS MAY BE the most thoroughly-researched and best-reasoned article on the subject in our lifetime.”

    By leaving off “this may be,” were you trying to create a wedge by subtly accusing the author of pride — even as you reacted with pride by so “adeptly” debunking the strawman of the “the most thoroughly-researched and best-reasoned article” written on any subject in the history of the human race?

    I would think that your journalism skills were a little better than that?

    Agree or disagree, I don’t really care, but the main point of the article was addressing the issue of Deborah and her role. Your pithy little essay doesn’t really address the substance of the article

  3. David Sessions says:

    @Joseph: The three omitted words hardly change either Alisa’s point or the substance of the article she’s quoting. And no accusation of pride was made; the irony was just allowed to speak for itself.

    I fail to see any way that your comment advances this conversation. You’re the one with the holier-than-thou attitude and the straw men. This post is addressing a misguided theological viewpoint in general, not responding point-by-point to your guy’s piece.

  4. allison l says:

    articles like that make me want to punch VF in the face. thanks for pointing out something new i can be disgusted about.

  5. Alisa says:

    Even with “this may be” at the front of it, I think it still may be a bit overly effusive. Perhaps?

  6. Aaron says:

    I agree with David. I mean, come on, Joseph. Come on.

  7. John says:

    I love the very first comment on this article, the one from Aaron, to which I say this: You and me both, man.

  8. Les says:

    Nice piece, Alisa.

  9. Craig D says:

    Watch out! David’s getting fiery.

    BTW, based on Exodus 18:25, I believe that any form of democracy is unbiblical. Our divinely appointed leaders should choose the right men to represent us; and they should be chosen from out of the nation of Israel.

  10. Ryan says:

    @ Craig: I think you’re taking the “men…chosen from…Israel” a little too literal. If I see it correctly, that is just saying our forefathers, Moses and all those great old guys, were called to go and make other nations. Therefore they were called from Israel. It doesn’t mean all leaders need to be Israeli bread.

    Jesus came from Jerusalem (in Israel) and called us to make disciples of all nations. Even though we’re literally not from Israel, we still believe because of what happened there and that relates, I think, being chosen from Israel.

    In Exodus 32:8 it says “They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it…” So that means I’m going to somehow mold myself into a calf (maybe a costume. Halloween is coming up), worship it, then burn myself on an alter. Sounds invigorating. I’ll call up my friends and we’ll make it a Friday night. It’s not all to be taken literally. Especially the texts before our Jesus came along.

  11. Alisa says:

    I think Craig was making a joke, which I thought was very funny.

  12. Ryan says:

    my bad then. totally ignore my retarded comment if that’s the case. 🙂

  13. queen says:

    I wonder why any job could possibly be more important than parenthood, whether you are a man or a woman, in our life time. I realize that is not the issue here that aggravates, but maybe it should be. Aaron, perhaps thats why we are alive at this time in the world to keep addressing these misguided theological viewpoints as David pointed out….by turning the other cheek in love.

  14. Ryan says:

    @queen: to quote…“perhaps thats why we are alive at this time in the world to keep addressing these misguided theological viewpoints.”

    i hope the reason i was put on gods green earth wasn’t to address theological viewpoints. i hope to believe my existence is more than trying to fix the worlds problems. Theological viewpoints are abstract concepts that are very neat things to look at and talk about, but in the end, that’s all they’ll be. How the world began, am i really alive, how jon mccain is considered for president. We can play with ourselves all day about these things, but in the end it won’t matter. We shouldn’t be addressing crap that the world keeps putting on us. We’d all go insane if we did. we already are enough. If you want to talk about worldly things as food shortage, aids, war, etc, then those are worldly things worth addressing. not abstract “theological viewpoints.” my life is meant for greater things.

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