Saturday, May 3, 2008

Should Christians Support A Woman For The Office Of President?

I moved this post to this blog from my political blog.

Yes. I endorse Diane Beall Templin for President of the United States. This is a rebuttal of the argument that women should never serve as “civil magistrates” presented at:

Genesis 2:7 and 2:18-24, I Corinthians 11:8-9 do not prove anything about authority.

The context of Exodus 18:21 is Jethro giving Moses advice about establishing judges of the people since the job was too difficult for one man.

This commandment was given in a certain time and place to a certain group of people. If this applies to us today, then should we also have rulers of 10s, 50s, 100s, 1000s? If this commandment is universal, then we should do exactly as says. If this commandment is exclusive for all rulers, then we should have no president, congressmen, senators, governors or even state legislatures in their present form because the members of these offices hold authority over more than 1000 people. Using the same reasoning as the author’s, we should not vote for anyone running for these offices.

At the time of this commandment the only lawgiver was Moses (or God through Moses, depending on how you look at it). Exodus 18:21 applies to judges, not lawmakers.

Finally, even though it says “men” that doesn’t necessarily exclude women, but it just means that such men should be made judges.

I am not arguing that this passage should be interpreted on the basis of cultural differences between then and now (i.e. that God’s reasoning was based on the fact that women were less educated at the time), but that this commandment was never meant to applicable to all nations at all times. Israel was a special nation, set apart by God for special purpose and some special laws were given only to them. That is why we don’t stone people to death for doing work on the Sabbath.

The same arguments apply to Deuteronomy 1:9-18.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 applies to kings which we do not have today (notwithstanding Bush has almost made the presidency into kingship). Verse 14 clearly indicates that this passage applies to what was then a future time and now is past. Moses is prophesying that Israel would have a king, even though God said that they should not.

The fact that parts of these passages are generally applicable to all rulers in no way proves that all of parts of them apply to today. We do not need to resort to these passages as the only means of guidance when voting for those holding public office. Proverbs 18:5, 21:15, and Deuteronomy 1:17 and several other verses give the same advice without specifying gender. 2 Samuel 23:3 and Proverbs 29:14 are messianic prophecies. Nehemiah 7:2; Proverbs 16:10; 20:8, 28; and 31:4-5 only give advice to presumably male rulers, but don’t prove that woman should never rule under any circumstances. The same is true of Romans 13:1-6, which, unlike Exodus 21:8, the word “he” is not specifically masculine in the original language.

Concerning Proverbs 31:10-31, this is a portrait of godly woman, but it doesn’t mean that every woman who strays from this passage is outside the will of God. Not every virtuous woman has maidens (:15), buys property (:16), plants a vineyard (:16), has physical strength (:17), clothes the members of her family with scarlet (:22), or wears purple and silk clothing (:22). A virtuous woman does not even have to have a husband, for Paul even says that it is better not to marry (I Corinthians 7).

The statement that the aged women (Titus 2:3) should be “keepers at home” (Titus 2:5) is not meant that women should always stay at home at all times. It merely means that they have the responsibility of keeping their household in order. The Greek word comes from two words meaning “guard” and “home”. I Timothy 5:10 does not say anything about running for office, applies only to widows, and is a statement, not a command. When reading I Timothy 5:14, I Corinthians 7 should be taken into consideration. This verse and I Timothy 2:15 do not forbid a woman from running for office.

Isaiah 3:12 at most implies that it is undesirable to have women rulers, it does not forbid women from running for office.

Deborah did issue commands to Barak (Judges 4:14) with authority. The author of the article seems to want to make a distinction between military and civil authority. But Judges 4:5 does say that “the children of Israel came up to her for judgment,” which implies that she had both, and the idea of a woman issuing orders seems to fly in the face of what he describes as “the divinely ordained order of authority”, “chain of command”, that he is trying to argue for. He argues from passage like 1 Corinthians 11:3 and 1 Timothy 2:12-14 that, “If one is going to argue for the acceptability of women bearing rule in the civil sphere, then to be consistent, he or she also needs to argue for the acceptability of women bearing rule in the family and the church.” But why then is a woman having military authority any different? This is not consistent, by his reasoning. Voting and serving on a jury are also a forms of exercising authority over men. Should Christian women also exclude themselves from these activities? Even passages limiting the authority of women in the family are not meant to be absolute in every situation. It is reasonable that a woman can be the head of her household in cases of the incapacitation of her husband. Read Matthew 12:1-13.

Deborah is certainly not the only woman in the Bible to hold civil authority. Esther “wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim…And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.” Esther 9:29, 32.

In conclusion, there is no place in Scripture which tells us that women are absolutely forbidden or unqualified from running for public office. There are some places which may imply that it is undesirable to have women rulers, but they do not state that it is sinful. The story of Deborah does, in fact, show that if no godly man will step up to the plate, a woman can lead.

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