Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Prayerful, or Pragmatic?

Why Sarah Palin Inspires Us
Posted September 6, 2008, by Elizabeth Botkin

The nation is aglow over the manifold triumphs of women over the last century, reaching their climax during this years’ election. Women have never been so close to holding the “highest” position in the country, that of Chief Executive, and woman’s collective journey has been a major political theme this month. In Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, she made an impressive statement, putting a face on how far our nation has come: “My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for president.”

Powerful women on all sides are taking big strides — and will be bequeathing quite a future to their daughters. That means us. How should we see this future, and how should we respond to their example?

In the opinion of just two of these American daughters, this picture is troubling, and brings with it promises of more trouble. Part of the tragedy, as we see it, is that it’s not just secular feminists who are excited about this future. Christians across the nation are cheering the entrance of Mrs. Palin, forgetting that, according to the biblical qualifications for a civil magistrate, she as a woman is not qualified to hold this office (Ex. 18:21, Pro. 31:23, 1 Tim. 2:12).[1] We believe that Mrs. Palin’s appointment as civil ruler, and indeed the feminist strides that made it possible, are a judgment from God (Isa. 3:12). We’re already suffering from one consequence of this judgment more severely than America realizes.

An exultant Ann Coulter scored a bulls eye in (unwittingly) identifying this judgment in the title of her first piece on Palin: “The Best Man Turned Out To Be A Woman.”

To be honest, we’re impressed with Sarah Palin. She is a remarkably talented, well-spoken woman. She has many fine policies. And we like her practical, moose-hunting style of femininity. But it is not a day to rejoice when the best man in the room happens to be a woman — nor is it a cause for cheer when men can’t compete with women in doing their own job. During this year’s unprecedented election, the key players have been strong women and flaky men. This is a sign of judgment. The scenario is reminiscent of Gloria Steinem’s boast, “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” Men have been stepping into the background — women are trying to become the men they wish existed. We challenge any young woman to see this as a happy prospect. It’s hard to be inspired by the abdication of real men and the subsequent rise of pseudo-men. (Interestingly, Gloria Steinem has little confidence that American women will go for Palin, who, in Steinem’s words, “opposes everything most other women want and need.”[2] We believe she underestimates the inconsistency of Evangelical feminists. Ms. Steinem, on the other hand, remains one of the most consistent men in the room; she will not compromise her radical left-wing principles just to support another woman.)

American Christians may be turning their ears from the plain teachings of Scripture to harken to what they believe is “the crying need of the moment.” They may decide our desperate need for a conservative VP trumps the teachings of Scripture. But we know from Scripture that we are to fear God, and not men — not even liberals. It has been rightly noted that people usually get the government they deserve. If we continue to make pragmatic compromises based on fear of man, God may see fit to continue chastising us with the government we deserve. God is on the Throne, regardless of who is in the White House, and He declares: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Psa. 3:6)

The people are right that America has desperate, crying needs. However, Mrs. Palin’s nomination for the Vice Presidency is not answering the cry — it is making it louder. Looking back over the last year, what’s glaringly obvious is that what America needs is more qualified male leaders. The real cry of the moment is: Give us men!
Seeing women in leadership does not inspire men to be better leaders. We believe Sarah Palin’s example will not inspire men to be men — it will inspire them to make way for more Sarah Palins.

So how are strong women supposed to respond when men are not being men? The example of the prophetess Deborah, though set in a time of more severe judgment than ours, gives interesting insights. She was living in a time when “the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord” (Judges 4:1), “Village life ceased” (Judges 5:7), and the leaders had not been leading (Judges 5:2). Despite the desperation of the time, Deborah clearly did not become a civil magistrate or “judge” in the modern sense of the word, nor did she run for any kind of office, nor did she sit in the gates (Judges 4:5). Even when pushed toward positions of leadership, Deborah never actually took the reins of authority, but rather extended them to Barak and stood supportively behind him (Judges 4:6, 4:14). Deborah succeeded in bringing a man into leadership, rather than take the leadership herself.

So why are we inspired by Sarah Palin? Because her example puts a stronger fire in us to answer the cry, the way we believe God intended. We are more inspired than ever to help our father, brothers, husbands and sons to fill the role we are not called to fill. It has rightly been observed that women have already been elected to the highest position they can hold, and that any “promotion” in the civil sphere would be a step backward. Their womanly sphere is where this hurting nation needs them most.

So let us resolve to give the world what it really needs, in the way that only women can give it. We have our work cut out for us, building strength into our men; It will call out every gift and talent within us. In doing so, we’re not just answering the cry — we’re obeying God, Who holds our first allegiance.

Mrs. Palin, you have inspired us to take stronger action for our God and for our country.
As for us, we don’t aspire to become the presidents we wish we could vote for. We aspire to raise them.

1. Many excellent, timely articles have already been written on the qualifications for civil magistrate and the role of women — go here for a directory.
2. “Palin: Wrong Woman, Wrong Message,” by Gloria Steinem

This article was from the blog The Botkin sisters have written a book and helped their father make a couple worldview movies. I really appreciated their style of writing and how Elizabeth Botkin chose to explain and expound on this issue. Your comments and opinions are welcome!