Friday, September 5, 2008

Should a Woman be Vice-President of the United States?

Hmm...interested? A few days ago, I came across something interesting that Voddie Baucham wrote on his blog. Go here to read it. Now, I quite like Voddie Baucham. I respect so much of his teaching and immediately took a listening ear to what he had to say about the idea of having a woman in the office of vice president because I believe him to be someone who strives to be biblical in everything. In fact, his 18-year old daughter who is a brilliantly prolific writer articulately explained the viewpoint that they seem to share, and you can go here to read what she had to say about this on her blog. I really want you to read their points, but in short, I'll tell you that they are saying that God wouldn't vote for Sarah Palin (not exactly their words) because she's a female and females should not be in positions of authority over men. Hmm. They also repeatedly reiterate that the role of a woman should only be in her home, taking care of her children and supporting her husband while he works. Actually, Voddie gives room for work outside the home as long as your family affairs come first. And as long as you're not the boss of someone male, I guess? Interesting, huh. Now, for every single one of the points Voddie makes in this matter, he uses Scripture to "back up" what he is saying. You can't read what we says and not take it a little seriously when it appears through his writing that the Bible is supporting his argument. This all got me thinking about some things. You know when things don't sound quite right but you're not sure why? It means you need to study! So I'm wrestling through this subject (because it's quite important!) and I'm just going to pose some questions about this:

1.) It is very obvious that if what the Bachams are saying is taken to its most logical conclusion, then women are completely and utterly limited to using their giftedness in their home alone. Nowhere else. If a woman can't be in "authority" over a man, then what about the female college professor who teaches male students who are technically adults? What about the female surgeon who has male attending doctors and nurses and staff with her during an operation? I mean, we all realize the implications of what they are saying, right? To say our culture would be different is quite an understatement. It would be more drastic than I think we can imagine. No woman could have a job that might involve being the boss of a male. And if that is true, then what do we do with the skills and giftedness that many are given for specific occupational tasks? How do you explain that? Self-made or what?

2.) The main passages they use to teach that a woman should have no authority whatsoever over a man are the following passages that address a wife's submission to her husband: Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5, and 1 Peter 3:1-7. And so I ask: Is there a distinction between government or employment-related authority and spiritual authority? Are these passages solely addressing the spiritual authority, in terms of leadership and accountability, of a husband to a wife? Is it true just because a woman is in an elected government position about her husband that she must not be submitting to him? Who can tell? Since I am not in a position like VP over my husband, does that mean I don't struggle with submitting to him? Is it not an issue and battle of the heart and the result of that battle may remain unseen to others besides God? How does taking a particular job automatically make you unsubmissive?

3.) I appreciate that Baucham did say he doesn't believe it is always wrong for women to be engaged in affairs outside of the home (Thank you!) and he does acknowledge that the problem is when mothers neglect their domestic duties to do so. If you know me, you'd know that I much prefer to raise my own children rather than to sacrifice that time and share too much of its responsibility with others. However, here's where it gets scary: When MAN draws a line between what is too much focus outside the home and what is not and that line doesn't line up with any line we've seen God himself draw for us...shouldn't we be a little more frightened to do so and say it's what God says is right for everyone?? And what exactly does it mean in Titus 2:5 when we are urged to be "workers of the home"? The Greek word for it is "oikouros" which means the keeper or watch of the house, the caring of the house. I don't think that definition alone would convince me that those roles can't be fulfilled while having other responsibilities outside of home or with some domestic support from others. To me, it sort of implies a level of management of home that may or may not involve full responsibility of every single domestic task or affair. I trust where I believe God has led me to draw the line, but because of a lack of specificity in the Bible, I'm hesitant to say I can draw that line for everyone. But don't get me really started on this one. I could get too fired up for any good. Time for #4.

4.) What do you do with other examples in Scripture where women not only worked outside of the home but were in positions of authority over men? Positions that Scripture says God ordained. Check out the story of Deborah in Judges 4 and 5 and tell me if you don't feel that God thinks a woman can handle a high position in government. She was a prophetess (married, by the way) who became a judge over a portion of Israel, and the previous chapters inform us that "God raised up" these judges to do their jobs. So we know Deborah didn't rebel against God in her fulfillment of this job. He blessed her in it. I have heard that there are more biblical examples like this, but Deborah is as far as my study on this has taken me this week. Her story is fascinating, by the way. How God used her and my goodness how He used another woman Jael (scary!) to defeat this enemy is rather inspiring to a gal like me. I'd love to hear what other examples anybody has to share!

5.) Another thing....has anyone ever complained about potentially damaging effects on children whose father is the leader of the free world?? Surely there are a number of negatives resulting from their lack of quantity, quality time with their children as well. But with a man, haven't we just assumed that's part of the job and God will take care of their families? My heart also breaks for children whose parents's work limits so much of their availability for time with them. But if it's possible for God to lead someone to a high-powered, multifaceted, complex job like that of the president or vice-president, is it naive to trust that God will then take care of their children and perhaps cover them with a certain portion of protective grace? I'm not saying that's what He's doing. But isn't it possible? What can we see from Scripture that definitively tells us it's not a possibility? I know of foreign missionaries whose kids sacrifice tremendously and individuals who have had to literally forsake their families in the way that Matthew 10:37-39 instructs to do "work of God." But don't many in the church give them a pass because of the worthiness of their call? And isn't it evident that such a stance conveys a compartmentalized view of spirituality that says certain "churchy" work is worth those kinds of demands and sacrifices on families but other nonchurch-related work isn't? Is that not an example of an ungodly, dichotomized perspective which says it's ok to separate life into categories of what is possible for Christ to redeem and make holy and what isn't? Isn't it in reality adding on to Christ's saying He tells us, "Forsake them in order to follow me as a pastor, missionary to Africa, or some other related occupation" instead of what Scripture actually says He says, "Forsake follow me"? Follow wherever He goes. Christ likes going a lot of places. I think the White House could be one. =) Seriously...please don't misunderstand me to be saying I think God is leading a particular candidate to this position. I'm not about to say who He'd vote for! And to explain why would take quite a lengthy new post itself. But what I am saying is that, in theory, God could have in mind for someone to be VP who does have a family that would be forced to sacrifice tremendously and He may be ok with asking someone to be in that position, just as He has asked and still asks many others to be in difficult circumstances for His sake.

I can't conclusively say I know what is right in this whole issue. I just know that I have enough questions to know that I can't agree with interpretations of Scripture that say Sarah Palin should not be VP because she's a wife and mom. Or woman. So, there they are. And I'd love to hear any answers you may have for my questions! Share your thoughts!


Lori, Landon and Logan said...

You are a serious writer woman!
I agree! I think she should be VP and I pray it happens!
Thanks for the tip on watching 24 online. That will be life changing! :)
Love ya!

Power Up Love said...

I invite you to visit a community of real people sharing real stories about how Love (God) has really impacted and changed their lifes. Blessings...

Courtney said...

hey there. yeah, i have "struggled" with this a bit in my thinking but have not taken the time to research and study it in depth. for me, it's kinda like choosing the lesser of two "evils" in this election. I am certainly not wild about McCain but oppose Obama. I think it is strange having a woman at such a high level of authority over so many men--i have never really liked that much. however, i do think that you brought up some really great points and i think i have a lot of digging deeper in my own soul/search to find where i stand on it all. thanks for the research and for the questions. all so interesting...but probably no matter what conclusion, it wouldn't make me vote for obama :)

Jennifer said...

I am going to do some more research before I give some of my opinions, but I do think that Obama is definitely not the person to vote for! My vote is with McCain and Sarah. Christianity aside, why vote for someone to be President of the US who won't even put his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance???? Does he even like America? I'm not sure! Obama scares me.