Nation, let's talk Palin.
I certainly don't know much about politics. I have opinions, just like the next Joe six pack, but nowhere near the level of knowledge to defend my ideas thoroughly, even adequately. I do have observations and questions sufficient to supplement my lack of data. I'd like to attempt to articulate some of these observations - particularly on the Palin-fanaticism rampant in areas across America.
The McCain campaign chose Palin, among a myriad of reasons, to attempt to leverage the women's vote. How effective this decision has been remains to be seen. Newsweek recently put forth the statement: "Most women are saying thanks but no thanks to John McCain's running mate" (Are Voters Feeling Alienated by Palin, from the magazine issue dated Sep 29, 2008.) However, from what I have observed in the primarily conservative evangelical environment in which I now find myself, the response to Palin remains extraordinarily enthusiastic, perhaps among the wives and mothers, but particularly among men! I can understand the appeal and admiration toward such a candidate for VP; however, it seems McCain's decision might be producing the opposite result intended.
My questions arise from what seems to me to be a contradictory stance, or perhaps simply a misunderstanding, on the role of women in leadership. Several conservative Christian environments remain hesitant at best to embrace women in teaching, preaching, or pastoral positions, citing historical tradition, Biblical guidance, various other reasons, etc. I don't mean to question the role of women in church leadership, but merely to seek understanding on the distinctions between political and spiritual leadership. By observation, I ascertain that male leaders in this same conservative, evangelical environment eagerly embrace Sarah Palin, for a position of leadership beyond that of a single church body, but a democratic nation.
Perhaps the difference lies in the nature of the sphere, either spiritual or political, in which women might potentially lead. The New Testament, although silent in regards to women in political roles, does distinguish requirements for spiritual leadership of men. In what ways might these qualifications differ? How can we understand these recommendations in a political realm? Do (should) those for spiritual leadership within a church also dictate the character (and gender) of a leader of nations?
I am not a feminist; I'm also no conservative. I excelled as a manager in the secular world, but do not have those same opportunities for leadership within the mission organization for which I work. However, I wonder how enthusiastically fellow workers within my ministry would receive me if I ran for VP. I do wish to understand the irony of our current political dilemma -- the overwhelming evangelical support for a VP candidate who would face an insurmountable undercurrent of tension by attempting to take the pulpit in their same churches.
"I'd rather be lead by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian." -Martin Luther