Did McCain Make a Pro-Family VP Pick?
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Conservatives are all aglow as John McCain pulled off an apparent coup d’état this week by naming Sarah Palin as his choice for Vice President. Bob Unruh, writing for the conservative Christian web magazine, Worldnet Daily may have put it best when he opened his column:
Pro-family advocates and Republicans are saying presumptive GOP nominee for president Sen. John McCain may have checkmated Democrat Sen. Barack Obama with his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.
Everyone from Liberty Counsel to FRC is raving about the political genius displayed by Mr. McCain. It seems Christian conservatives have received the bone they were hoping McCain would throw their way in order to alleviate doubts about his conservative bona fides.
While I agree that from a political standpoint Mr. McCain made a brilliant political move, I am not so sure his pick can be portrayed as “pro-family.” It is true that Mrs. Palin is ardently pro-life –a distinction bolstered by the fact that she has five children, and chose not to abort a Down Syndrome baby—and she is also a fiscal conservative, a Washington outsider, and she hunts wolves from helicopters! What more could the Neocons ask for?
Unfortunately, Christians appear to be headed toward a hairpin turn at breakneck speed without the slightest clue as to the danger ahead. I don’t see this as a pro-family pick at all! Moreover, I believe the conservative fervor over this pick shows how politicized Christians have become at the expense of maintaining a prophetic voice. I believe that Mr. McCain has proven with his VP pick that he is pro-victory, not pro-family. In fact, I believe this was the anti-family pick. I say that for at least two reasons.
NOT A PRO FAMILY JOB
First, if Mr. McCain was pro-family, he would want to see Mrs. Palin at home taking care of her five children, not headed to Washington to be consumed by the responsibilities of being second in command to the most powerful man in the world (or serving as the Governor of Alaska for that matter). Let me also say that I would have the same reservations about a man with five children at home seeking the VP office. It’s not exactly a pro-family job.
FRC’s piece on Mrs. Palin links to a Wallstreet Journal article outlining her political career. While many Christian conservatives are highlighting Palin’s toughness, integrity and obvious conservative credentials (more conservative than McCain, in fact), they also seem to be ignoring several red flags.
For example, the Journal article, in an effort to highlight Palin’s ‘eco-friendly’ lifestyle, uncovers a disturbing trend that plagues far too many young women with families. The article refers to Palin’s habit of “driving herself to and from work every day from the Anchorage suburb of Wasilla, about 45 miles away.” Does this bother anyone else? Lets say the Governor averages sixty miles per hour on her daily commute (which I seriously doubt). That adds seven and a half hours per week to what one would assume is already a fifty to sixty-hour workweek (at least that if she is as driven as the article implies). This is supposed to be pro-family?
Perhaps the most disturbing revelation in the article is Mrs. Palin’s recent decision to travel for work (against her doctor’s orders) in the final days of her pregnancy. According to the article:
“Gov. Palin's opted to board a jet from Dallas in April while about to deliver a child. Gov. Palin, who was eight months pregnant, says she felt a few contractions shortly before she was to give a keynote speech to an energy summit of governors in Dallas. But she says she went ahead with it after her doctor in Alaska advised her to put her feet up to rest. "I was not going to miss that speech," she says.”
She put her child at risk, not for an official, necessary, or emergency duty as the Governor of Alaska, but because she simply “was not going to miss out on that speech.” A speech! The more I learn about the choices this woman has made, the less inclined I am to see Mr. McCain’s choice as pro-family. She may be the best working mother in America, but the evidence is questionable at best.
NOT A PRO FAMILY MESSAGE
Not only do I believe that a pro-family candidate would prefer to see Mrs. Palin at home taking care of her children, I believe a pro-family candidate would also avoid validating and advancing our culture’s desire to completely erase gender roles. Much of the discussion about Mrs. Palin’s candidacy centers around her opportunity to “break through the class ceiling” and be a “role model for young women.” The same was said of Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy in the Democratic primary. But what does this mean?
Are we really saying that we want to completely erase the distinctions between men and women. Do we really believe that it is good for our country to promote the view that women are merely men who happen to be biologically capable of having children (when it does not interfere with career advancement, of course)? I don’t think so. What do we do with the Bible’s admonition in Titus chapter two? Are Christian conservatives saying that Paul’s instructions concerning women’s duty to be “keepers of their homes” has somehow been overturned in light of recent discoveries? Or 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?
Let me be clear. I am not arguing that it is always wrong for a woman to be engaged in affairs outside the home. I agree with Albert Barnes who wrote:
This does not mean, of course, that they are never to go abroad, but they are not to neglect their domestic affairs; they are not to be better known abroad than at home; they are not to omit their own duties, and become “busy-bodies” in the concerns of others. (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
My point is simple. The job of a wife and mother is to be a wife and mother. Anything in addition to that must also be subservient to it. There is no higher calling. Moreover, I believe Paul’s admonition should lead us to reject any notion of a wife and mother taking on the level of responsibility that Mrs. Palin is seeking.
My heart breaks for her. She has been blessed beyond measure with five incredible children, but she is running hard after what the world says is ‘something more.’ I fear she will regret this some day. In fact, I believe she already does. I can’t imagine her going to sleep at night without a nagging doubt in the back of her mind as she thinks about the time with her children that she will never get back.
My heart breaks for her children. Their mother, by all reports, is an incredible, intelligent, energetic woman with a great deal to offer. Unfortunately, right now she is offering it to the people of Alaska, and the people of the United States of America when her first priority is to offer it to them. God designed them to flourish under the nurturing care of their mother, not some surrogate.
My heart breaks for her husband. Mrs. Palin is not even supposed to be the head of her own household (Eph. 5:22ff; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-7), let alone the State of Alaska, or the United States Senate (The VP oversees the Senate). He should be shepherding her, but instead she is ruling over him (Rom 13:1-7; 1Pet 2:13-17). How difficult it must be for him to walk the fine line of bowing to the culture that is stealing his bride while still trying to love his wife and lead his family.
My heart breaks for the so-called Christian right. All the usual subjects have been falling all over themselves to praise Mr. McCain and justify their blind allegiance to the Republican Party in an effort to secure more “pro-family” judges. They want to protect marriage from redefinition by the homosexual movement, and they are willing to redefine marriage (and motherhood) to do it.
Ironically, the Neocons are merely using Mrs. Palin as a political pawn. She is beloved because she gives them the coveted “moral high ground” in the upcoming debates. Read recent articles and the goals become clear. We must win on abortion. She makes it hard to argue for it. We must win on the race/gender issue. She gives us a woman to their ethnic minority. We must win on being young and hip. Obama is 47; Palin is 44. We must win the “change” argument. Obama is new to Washington; Palin has never served there. Checkmate!
Unfortunately, this political pawn represents a fatal flaw worldview flaw. In an effort to win the pro-family political argument, we are sacrificing the pro-family biblical argument. In essence, the message being sent to women by conservative Christians backing McCain/Palin is, “It’s ok to sacrifice your family on the altar of your career; just don’t have an abortion.” How pro-family is that?
From his blog