Adelle M. Banks of the Religion News Service had an interesting article the other day looking at the issue of why Religious Right leaders who tend to think that wives should submit to their husbands and that women can’t be church leaders are nonetheless gung-ho about Sarah Palin’s VP candidacy:
There may never be a female pastor leading Tony Perkins’ Southern Baptist congregation in Louisiana, but there could be a woman taking over the vice president’s mansion in Washington.
And as Perkins sees it, there’s no contradiction there whatsoever.
“It’s not a spiritual role,” said Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a church elder, who calls Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a “brilliant pick” for the Republican ticket.
“An elected official is not a spiritual leader — and that’s what the Scripture speaks to.”
As Richard Land explains, “where the New Testament is silent, we’re silent. Where the New Testament speaks, we’re under its authority.” And, as such, Palin is allowed to serve as Vice President because the Bible doesn’t say she can’t. But if her husband decides he doesn’t want her to be VP, then she can’t:
Land’s wife works as a psychotherapist, but he said he couldn’t see himself as “first dude” (a term used by Palin’s husband). Still, he thinks decisions about roles are up to each husband and wife — including Sarah and Todd Palin.
“The only thing that would disqualify Gov. Palin from being governor or vice president, in my opinion, would be if her husband didn’t want her to do it,” he said.
This issues seems to be especially difficult for Southern Baptist leaders like Land who, after all, are the primary proponents of the idea that wives must submit to their husbands, which is why we end up getting confusing pieces like this from Al Mohler:
When Gov. Palin was announced as Sen. John McCain’s choice as running mate I was elated about her pro-life commitments and political philosophy, and I remain so. I also told The Wall Street Journal that, if I were her pastor, I would be concerned about how she could balance these responsibilities and what this would mean for her family and her roles as wife and mother. The news that broke over the weekend would make me only more concerned. But my concern would be for her and for her family — not for the nation.
I am doing my best to be honest — and not hypocritical — about how I see this new situation. I could not imagine this in my own family, nor, I am confident, could the vast majority of those conservative Christians who are celebrating the nomination of Gov. Palin as Vice President. I have full confidence that my wife Mary can lead and run anything, from General Motors to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nevertheless, I also know that I, along with our children, would find our worlds turned upside down. Beyond this, I believe that she would be less happy, less fulfilled, and less strategically deployed. She runs a program that influences the lives of hundreds of women and serves on the board of directors of our local crisis pregnancy center, but her most significant impact will be on the lives of two children who cannot imagine life without her — and without her active engagement and motherly love.