Not all evangelical conservatives are thrilled with Palin

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 23:00


Many conservative pundits were not impressed by John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, since her glaring lack of experience undercuts McCain's main message against Barack Obama.

On the plus side for McCain, just about everyone agreed that putting an anti-abortion mother-of-five on the ticket would delight the evangelical Christians who were so crucial to George Bush's re-election.

Although the "pro-family" interest groups applauded McCain's choice, I had a hunch that Palin wouldn't be unanimously embraced by the evangelical rank and file.

I lurk and occasionally comment at a few "mommy blogs" written by religious conservatives. Checking in on some popular sites in the evangelical Christian blogosphere over the weekend, I did find some commentaries that praised Palin for her views and for continuing a pregnancy while carrying a child with Down syndrome.

However, if you join me after the jump, you'll see that plenty of evangelicals are far from "fired up and ready to go" for this Republican ticket.  

desmoinesdem :: Not all evangelical conservatives are thrilled with Palin
Christian conservative bloggers were not united behind any presidential candidate during the primaries, but many favored Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. Sam Brownback was distrusted for having converted to Catholicism as an adult. John McCain was never a favorite in these circles, although he was also not as detested as Mitt Romney.

Whatever their political differences, evangelical Christian bloggers share a general philosophy about a woman's proper role in the family and society. As the recommended reading list of the Biblical Womanhood site suggests, they are not big on moms of young kids working outside the home. Ladies Against Feminism is frequently found on Christian blogrolls, and that blog is adamant about God wanting women to focus on home and family.

This post by the talented preacher Voddie Baucham sums up the case against Palin from the Christian right:

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.  [...]

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.  [...]

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. [...]

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. [...]

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?

This post by an at-home mom has dozens of supportive comments below it:

The home, the family, the raising of children--it is the zenith of human accomplishment. It's a full-time job, requiring full-time attention if it's to encompass all God intended. [...]

The message is "women can have it all"...and it is a lie, because they can't.

The message is "men and women should have equal access to the same roles". The reality is, that's not how God created HIS universe to run. He created them male and female, and yes, by their very biological design, nature screams at our dull senses "YOU ARE DIFFERENT"! Created for different purposes, created to compliment one another in their life work.

Doug Phillips, the president of Vision Forum Ministries, was annoyed that Palin "praised and thanked feminist role models Clinton and Ferraro for what they had accomplished for women's rights" in Dayton. He unloaded on Republican priorities in this post:

The selection of a feminist, pro-life mother of five with four children, seventeen and under, including a newborn Down's syndrome baby, to fulfill the post of vice president is without precedent in American history. What Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro was unable to accomplish for the feminist cause in 1984 may now be handed as a fait accompli to America through the hands of evangelicals and conservatives. After decades of Christian leaders fighting against the feminstic vision of the working supermom, Republicans are now showcasing the vision in the most high profile election in the world.

[...] I am confident that Mrs. Palin is a delightful, sincere, thoughtful, and capable woman with many commendable virtues. But in fairness, there is nothing "traditional" about mothers of young children becoming career moms, chief magistrates, and leading nations of three hundred million, nor is this pattern the biblical ideal to which young women should aspire. At a time when motherhood and marriage is so under attack, the message Republicans are sending is this: Winning political elections is more important than the following proposition given by the Lord: "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:4-5).

Bonus track: Phillips linked approvingly to this 2004 post by an ordained minister who argued,

So then, if we are to be faithful to Christ, we must search the Scriptures to see what the Lord says in regards to the issue of women civil rulers, and whether it is permissible for Christians to support a woman for the office of civil magistrate. Second, we should recognize that the issue here is not the character or ability of the woman seeking the office; nor is it her spiritual condition, her views on the issues, or even if she is the "best" available candidate. The point in question is this: does the Word of God give us the liberty to place a woman into a political office where she will in some sense bear rule over us in the civil sphere? Or, to state it more precisely: is it biblically proper for a woman to hold political office, and thus rule over men? Has God ordained women to be civil leaders, or has He reserved this authority for men only? I believe that the Bible gives a definitive answer to this question: women are not permitted by God to hold political office and rule over men in the political sphere. There are four lines of evidence in the Bible that establish that women are not to hold political office.

The title of this post by "Mrs. Chancey" is "Woe to My people":

Why is a wife and mother with five children (including a newborn with Down's syndrome) running for vice president? She has a bountiful amount of work cut out for her by the Lord sitting in her lap and around her dining room table. I can certainly respect her Christian and biblical views, but I am really amazed at Christians leaping to embrace putting a wife and mother into political office--particularly an office that will essentially make her the helpmate of the highest official in the land and practically remove her from her husband and children.

Isaiah 3:12 truly applies: "As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths." I can assent to Sarah Palin's conservative views and even applaud them, but I mourn for a nation whose men have forgotten how to lead their families and their land in the way our Founders envisioned and the way God intended. A wife and mother has already been elected by God to the highest office in the land. She has her own particular husband to help, his calling to make successful, and her children to nurture and train to the glory of God. How could the vice-presidency possibly compare with a task that God has personally designed her to fill?

This Ron Paul supporter said Palin seemed like a pretty good governor who is worth listening to, but she had some concerns:

can she REALLY put her husband and children first if she has the second highest office in the country? Especially if things go wrong, which they very, very likely will? Can she be there for her husband if she's a very busy working mother? Can she fulfill her duties as a wife if she's traveling abroad and attending congressional sessions and casting deciding votes? Can she drop everything and handle a crisis with one of her children? Pro-family doesn't mean you're pro-HAVING a family, or pro-LOOKING like a family, or pro-God's designation of a family (which she is--one man, one woman, for life, etc). Pro-family means family comes FIRST, and each spouse puts that responsibility FIRST. [...]

I am not arguing that large numbers of conservative Christians will refuse to vote for the Republican ticket because they disapprove of Palin. But we should be aware that this pick was controversial within the evangelical Christian community as well as among other segments of the Republican base.

Even with Palin at his side, I do not think McCain will inspire as large an army of volunteer Christian soldiers as Bush did four years ago.


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yeah I think any benefit (4.00 / 3)
will be from energized regular white guy republicans who were more dispirited up until this point.

That was the main thing I took away this weekend. The Rush Limbaugh generation of republicans was ecstatic about the pick and finally found an opportunity to talk about the McCain campaign and expected me to think it was a positive development as well, because, you know, she's a woman and all and she could speak, so that shows what an exciting ticket this was now.

I still don't see any republicans out doing any campaign work though. Although they may have stepped up their voter contact programs at this point. Maybe the biggest plus for McCain is the fundraising. But I just don't see the foot soldiers being there this time for exactly the reasons you point out. The conservative evangelical community was Bush's turnout machine in 2004 and they just don't seem to be in it as much this time 'round.  


didn't McCain take public financing for the general? (4.00 / 4)
So fundraising at this point is irrelevant for him.

I agree with you that a lot of the dittohead types are thrilled about Palin. But if "big names" such as Voddie Baucham and Doug Phillips are openly criticizing Palin, I think that will reach deep into the GOP base too.

Regarding ground game, the Obama campaign organized canvasses in 49 Iowa communities this weekend. I haven't heard much about the McCain campaign canvassing in this state.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.


[ Parent ]
Yes he took public financing (4.00 / 1)
But there were the reports that the campaign took in almost $5 million on Friday or Saturday (don't remember which). I don't know what they do with that money. If they throw it all into ads or more offices, or if they can funnel it to the RNC. Either way, it was still a pretty good haul.

I have total faith in Iowa this year. It's colorado, Ohio, and Virginia that still make me nervous.  


[ Parent ]
Palin is McSame's Evita. (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
demoinesdem: can you post on those boards? (4.00 / 2)
If so, PLEASE consider posting the video of McCain blatantly staring at Palin's former-beauty-queen ass while fiddling with his wedding ring:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

That should permanently turn fundie women (and any other women) away from McCain. It is positively creepy and shows what a creep he really is. It also fits with his M.O. since Palin is about as much younger than Cindy as Cindy was from his first wife when he dumped her for a younger (and much richer) model.


LOL! (4.00 / 1)
I can like totally understand this guy, but for heaven's sake, he's running for president, he knows there are cameras everywhere, he knows millions of Obama supporters are out there just waiting for his next gaffe, and he still can't control himself???
Goes together with his hot temper and by making decisions by his guts (if not by body parts below the waistline), I guess.
But, for heaven's sake, is that the behaviour people want to see from a president, or does this inspire anybody to believe this guy is able to make cool, rational decisions?
McSwain, ready for office? That's ridiculous!

[ Parent ]
some of those blogs don't allow comments (0.00 / 0)
and all that do have enabled comment moderation. The majority of comments I try to post at these blogs get screened out because I am challenging claims or assumptions made by the blogger. (In the words of one woman who banned me from her blog, I am not going to let you lead my readers astray.)

I agree that the JedReport video of McCain fiddling with his wedding ring while appearing to stare at Palin's butt is damning. I've said it before and I'll say it again--please don't ever let me get on JedReport's sh*t list.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.


[ Parent ]
It was just a thought (4.00 / 2)
It just didn't seem like very "Christian" behavior to me and thought it could be presented as such..... ;)

Thanks for the great diary, btw. That many fundies would NOT appreciate a mother of 5 including an infant with Downs traveling the country instead of staying home to take care of her own was one of my first thoughts upon hearing of this nomination. Glad you confirmed it.


[ Parent ]
That is funny (0.00 / 0)
though I guess he could cop out of it by saying he was looking at her speech on the podium. Somebody should find out if she was using printed notes or only a teleprompter.

Even if that is the case, him fiddling with his wedding ring is just weird.  

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers


[ Parent ]
Actually, (4.00 / 3)
I need to look into this more, but I saw a DKos diary quoting from an Alaska blog that said Palin and her husband farmed her kids out to others to look after.  Naturally I want some confirmation on this before stating it as fact.  But it wouldn't surprise me, given what I already know of her.

So these folks may be just a wee bit behind the curve in terms of what lines Palin has crossed when.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


somebody's gotta be looking at that (4.00 / 4)
I'm sure the DNC's oppo research is checking it out in case Palin pulled a Zoe Baird.

What would be funny is if Mr. Palin gets asked about what he plans to do if his wife is elected, and he answers that he wants to be Mr. Mom so that Sarah can devote more attention to her job. That would spin the fundies' heads around...

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers


[ Parent ]
"behind the curve" of Palin is where McSwain would love to be (0.00 / 0)
Uh, sry, seems like your usage of that phrase somehow drew off my attention...

[ Parent ]
Nice analysis and nice roundup ... (4.00 / 3)
...desmoinesdem. One sidenote: Ladies Against Feminism was a joke name in the 1970s. Amazing to see it morph into something serious.

I had no idea (0.00 / 0)
That is hilarious.

From what I can tell, it's a fairly influential website that a lot of Christian "ladies" look to for guidance.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.


[ Parent ]
opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest (4.00 / 1)
oops.  i think someone went too far.
how is that "pro-family"?  "pro-women"?  What kind of PERSON of any gender doesn't support giving rape victims control over their own bodies?

Please repeat.


Not the kind of person (0.00 / 0)
who needs to be the potential president of the United States.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
The kind who sincerely believes that abortion is no different from infanticide... (0.00 / 0)
And sees nothing wrong with calling a fetus conceived in rape or incest the "second innocent victim" of said crime.  The position is appalling to me, but I can't pretend it's not intellectually coherent, given the assumption of personhood beginning at conception; it's the people who say "abortion is murder" but would allow exceptions for rape- or incest-produced pregnancies (or both, since a lot of incest is non-consensual) who are inconsistent.

"A fantasy is not even a wish, much less an act.  There is no such thing as a culpable or shameful fantasy."  -----Lady Sally McGee

[ Parent ]
who cares if it's intellectual coherent? (0.00 / 0)
it's intellectually coherent to forcibly convert people if you think they're going to go to hell if you don't.  It's actually ideologically decent to do so.  That doesn't make it okay, anymore than its okay to legislate what rape victims ought to do with their bodies.  I mean, the insanity has to stop somewhere, right?

[ Parent ]
lets not become what we despise (4.00 / 1)
i believe if you look closely at mccain when palin is giving her first speech and introducing herself he is looking at the paper she is reading her text from because he has no idea what she will say or do since he knows nothing about her, a justified criticizm of him no doubt, but lets not get caught up in the wingnut hysteria of throwing stuff against the wall in the hope that it will stick, we should be, and are better then that.

Hear, hear... (4.00 / 1)
...there's certainly enough info to sift through to make sense of all this.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
Let the sexism come from their side. (4.00 / 2)

I think the Mommy wars are going to cut both ways here -- she'll lose votes from some and win from others.   This is why it's so important to keep attacking her on the issues, and not on her personal story.

There are any number of moderate/independent women who will be turned off by comments like "she should be home with her kids", and who will be more likely to vote for her if that sexist bs comes from the Dems. 

Cynical comment: let Nancy Pelosi take point here.  She has 5 kids too.  



John McCain thinks we haven't spent enough time in Iraq

I agree (4.00 / 2)
My goal was not to say we should portray Palin as a bad wife and mother. I just think we should not accept the spin that evangelicals will all be wild about her. People like Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham are not household names for many Democrats, but their comments about Palin will reach into thousands of conservative households.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Absolutely. (4.00 / 1)

I didn't think that was what you meant at all, btw.

The sexist responses to Palin on several liberal and progressive sites, including this one, dovetails with what you're reporting on the far right.

Sounds like you're saying the base will vote for her, but may not work for her the way they otherwise would.

Thanks for doing the hard work of lurking in those sites and reporting back to us.



John McCain thinks we haven't spent enough time in Iraq

[ Parent ]
Hee hee (0.00 / 0)
Pelosi, I like it.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
A good point! (4.00 / 2)
We on the left tend to focus in on the big names in neofascism, like Limbaugh, Coulter, Hagee or Dobson. That's a mistake. The power these people have is real, but limited. The actual question is how the blue collar hourly non-union worker down the street is going to vote. And as this shows, there is going to be something of a backlash against Barbie as vp, especially when the Alaskan Independence Party thing is factored in. The Southern Baptists, a big part of this block, especially are going to be crapping concrete blocks over this. They have a real investment in the literalist argument that women belong at home. If nothing else, it should take some of the enthusiasm away from their community activism programs, and it's looking like every 2 or 3 percent of voters is going to count in this election as much as they did in the past 2.

I think that it's easy to overestimate the power of the right wing pundits. They sell books, but mostly to people who don't read anything else and have lots of discretionary income to pay for the latest fascist screed. Where a Franken or Black may sell to 1% of their potential audience, most of whom would rather see or hear them speak and spend the money on other books or internet activities, Coulter and company are selling to 75% (a guess, but it makes my point) of their potential audience. Therefore, they show up on the best sellers list with regularity, and we overestimate the number of folks they reach.

The real GOP strength lies in the blur collar fundamentalist Christian who attends a conservative church and is exposed only to the comments of his or her own pastor. This voter reads not at all. If he knows the names of these pundits it's through Fox, Beck or Dobbs. These voters still believe that if it ain't true Fox couldn't say it, and while they believe every word that is ejected from Murdoch's diseased and festering behind, they also think that the "mainstream media" is "liberal" and therefore, nothing said in , oh say as an example the NYT, is to be trusted.

These voters are the ones who will take umbrage at the idea of a woman as vice president. Watch the pundits. They know this, and over the next week they'll be working hard to convince the base that Barbie is acceptable. Beck especially is gonna be working overtime.

Since these voters also knee-jerk "love their country", what we need to be working on right now is getting the secessionist thing into public debate. Barbie is very vulnerable there, especially with the less inclined to thought voters.


really distressingly shocking (4.00 / 2)
These comments and blogs that you're posting are stunning; I suppose it's less the fundamentalism (I don't particularly mind people making political decisions for religious reasons in principle) than the insane sexism.

Color me stunned. Do these people actually exist in 2008?


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