The “Todd Factor”

17 09 2008


Media coverage of the 2008 presidential race has spotlighted, as it traditionally does, the spouses of the Republican and Democratic contenders for the Oval Office – our country’s potential First Ladies. What is striking in this election cycle is the copious amount of attention being given to the spouse of Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin – Alaska’s “First Dude,” Todd Palin. Even in 1984, when Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro as the first female V.P. running mate in U.S. history, there was nothing to equal the media obsession currently raging around Todd Palin. Can anyone remember Ms. Ferraro’s husband’s name? (It was John Zaccaro). But times have changed.

Consider the current race. Have you seen any special reports or news features focusing on Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic V.P. candidate Joe Biden? Me neither. And why not? Well, quite frankly, it’s just not news. If Senator Obama wins in November, Jill Biden will be nothing more than the wife of the Vice President – not a position that generally draws much attention. Even if the election sets the stage for Biden to mount a Presidential campaign of his own in four or eight years, Jill would simply join the ranks of First Ladies. And make no mistake. The current focus on Todd Palin has nothing to do with his relationship to a potential Vice President and everything to do with his relationship to a potential President of the United States.

So why all the to-do about Todd? You might chalk some of it up to novelty, but that doesn’t fully explain the current phenomenon. Remember John Zaccarro? Me neither. Things are different in 2008 than they were in 1984. We have experienced a full-blown cultural shift. Todd Palin represents the consummation of this radical transformation. It’s not so much about a woman’s rise to power. It is also, and perhaps even more-so, about a man’s recession to the background. Feminism is not about gender equality – it is about role reversal – the subordination of man to woman. That’s what makes Sarah and Todd Palin so important to the feminist agenda. Here is Todd Palin – by all accounts a rugged, masculine, man’s man – a commercial fisherman, outdoorsman, and entreprenuer – and he is willing to assume the role of the fawning, adoring, supportive “help-meet” to his wife as she stands poised to assume the office of the second most powerful leader of the free world. Should she parley that role into a successful Presidential bid in 2012 or 2016, the conquest will be complete.

This is not about “conservative” versus “liberal” politics. Governor Palin is known as a political conservative. She is pro-life, pro-second amendment, anti-big government, pro-domestic oil drilling. Yet, as a member of the group, Feminists for Life, she exposes the socially liberal ideology which has ultimately brought her to where she is today. Even the name of the organization rings of contradiction. Feminism has long been the champion of the pro-abortion cause. But Sarah Palin represents a new breed of feminist – which sees no contradiction between espousing and defending “conservative values” while at the same time advancing a liberal social agenda that undermines the traditional family.

Now, I am fully aware that the advocacy of traditional role distinctions between men and women is labeled as “sexist” by the popular culture. Dr. Voddie Baucham was branded with that label by a supposedly “neutral” news anchor when he recently defended those views in an interview on CNN. Yet, for the Christian, truth is not defined by popular culture, but by the Word of God which stands forever. This is the crisis facing our nation at this crucial stage of history, and this is what is at stake in the current presidential race. It’s about questioning and discarding the plain statements of the Bible, which is God’s own Word, in favor of our own preferred lifestyles and choices. Has God really said that woman was created to be the helper of man? Has God really said that woman is not to exercise authority over man? Has God really said that one of the marks of a nation in decline is that it has women in positions of leadership? Has God really said that a wife should be a keeper of her home? Has God really said that a woman who dedicates herself to the role of wife and mother will find great reward in this high and noble calling? It really comes down to a question of Biblical authority. Whose word is the supreme guide? God’s or mine? This is always where Satan draws the lines of battle. Don’t believe me? A 24 year old blogger named Michelle from San Francisco summed it up this way:

“Christianity is overwhelming proof of the prevalence of sexism in a America AND the most powerful force perpetuating it. Churches are still denying jobs to people based on their sex! How is this acceptable in a country where that is illegal for every other type of organization?? Patterson is obviously a nutjob, but please consider that ALL Christians (75% of Americans) look to the Bible for guidance. The Bible that says:

1. God is a male
2. Man came first and Woman was created from a derivative of man
3. Woman brought sin into the world
4. Men did everything that was ever significant short of the “virgin” birth (I am sure if men could give birth they would have been credited for this accomplishment too).

A LOT of old writings are sexist but still valued for their scientific, literary, or otherwise academic value. You could make that same argument for the bible – that we can look past the sexism and extract the value. But the difference between the bible and those books is that 75% of Americans don’t look to those books for moral guidance. They don’t use those books to back alogical political decisions. They don’t claim those books are written by God, or that they are instruction manuals for how to live our lives. They don’t read those books to their kids at bedtime.”

There it is. If you believe such outlandish things: that God is male; that He created man first and woman as a helper to man; that Eve sinned first; that God has established distinct and particular roles for men and women – you, my friend, are guilty of sexism! If you plan to propagate such antiquarian notions, I hope you’re ready to be marginalized, villified, ridiculed and dismissed as a right-wing nut job. Now that evangelicals are flocking to support Sarah Palin because of her political conservatism, those who hold to Biblical views on the distinction of roles between men and women in the church and society will find themselves on the radical fringe indeed.

When it finally does become illegal for churches to deny the job of pastor to women because of their sex, evangelicals will have only themselves to blame for not recognizing the subtle erosion of Biblical truth because it came packaged in the form of a capable and winsome leader and her smiling and supportive husband.

Voddie Baucham is my hero!

11 09 2008

Check out this clip from CNN in which pastor Voddie Baucham is grilled on the question of the role of women in the church and society. He is even called a sexist by the “neutral” female anchor. But this faithful brother stands his ground and represents the truth as a good and faithful servant. Would that God might be pleased to raise up many more godly ministers like this!

Of course, you can bet that CNN did its research on Rev. Baucham before inviting him to represent the religious right on this segment. This is exactly the kind of thing the world will use to portray conservative Christians as backward and out of touch. We need to pray that God will honor those who uphold His Word without compromise and spare our nation from its headlong plunge into judgment.

McCain/Palin: Time to pause and reflect…

4 09 2008

Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” While conservatives and evangelicals are tripping over one another to jump on the McCain/Palin bandwagon, I’ve had this nagging feeling that usually comes along with a “too good to be true” sales pitch. There are serious questions raised by the prospect of a McCain/Palin administration which, it seems to me, those who hold to the infallible authority of the Bible need to stop and consider, before rushing with the crowd to anoint the new saviors of the republic. Other authors have addressed some of these questions much more competently than I could, so here are some links to articles that I hope you will read with an open mind and an open Bible…

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in these articles and essays are those of the respective authors. You may not, and probably will not, agree with all that they have to say. But the points and questions raised in these selections are worthy of consideration and ought not to be casually dismissed.]

A Letter of Encouragement to Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin from a Sister in the Lord and the Wife of a Christian Pastor, by Rebecca B. Morecraft

Did McCain Make a Pro-family VP Pick?, by Voddie Baucham

Should Christians Support a Woman for the Office of Civil Magistrate?, by William Einwechter

Women’s Rights Women, by Robert Lewis Dabney