"A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation".
Additionally, the SBC asserts that only “qualified men” are called to serve as church pastors: “This conviction was not invented by Southern Baptists. It was, and now remains, the honest conviction held by most Christians around the world, and for good reason.”
Which begs the question: if SBC members believe that it is not a woman’s place to lead a church or to be head of a household, why then would they support a woman in a bid for the (Vice) Presidency? Is an exception being made for Gov. Sarah Palin because her politics are in line with theirs, or could they wholeheartedly endorse any woman’s decision to run for office?
Mohler defends the SBC statements on wifely submission, and on women’s inability to serve as church leaders, by stating that they are drawn from the Bible and are widely accepted among Christians. Because the Bible gives explicit teachings on the issues of women’s roles in the home and church, evangelicals support these positions. However, according to Mohler:
“Our confession of faith does not speak to the appropriateness of women serving in political office. The reason for this is simple -- the New Testament does not speak to this question in any direct sense.”
This line of reasoning seems to make sense within the framework of the SBC assertions, but I don’t believe that it is strong enough to hold up against outside arguments. There are too many logical gaps and questions which remain unaddressed for Mohler’s statement to be accepted at face value. For example, if Palin were to become the President, and thus the head of the nation, under the SBC guidelines, wouldn’t she be ultimately accountable to her husband, and under his leadership? Isn’t the office of President a post with moral and ethical dimensions, similar to a pastor, on a much larger scale?
Additionally, drawing such a distinct line between the role of women in church and in politics seems a bit crass given the religious right’s fervent interest in policy and the national moral agenda; they rally voters around hot-button moral issues with religious implications (and thus are attempting to violate church/state separation). It is opportunistic to embrace Palin because she can (a) further their agenda, and (b) put a compassionate face on a movement which is frequently viewed as patriarchal and in favor of strict gender roles. If there is a public showing of support for Palin, it makes the right seem progressive and stereotype-shattering for embracing a woman in power.
While Mohler’s arguments for supporting a female candidate for the White House are logical within his framework, I do not believe that the support for Palin is motivated by any larger purpose or great desire to see a woman in office. It still seems very hypocritical to deny so much power to women in other aspects of their lives, and then to make a public show of rallying around one particular female candidate who can help to further their interests.