John Loftus has posted a summary of a questionnaire by David Gushee:
The point of the questionnaire is whether Evangelical supporters of Palin are being inconsistent in their support of a female candidate for vice president.
Is it now your view that God can call a woman to serve as president of the United States?
The phrasing of the question is tendentious since it assumes that God calls individuals to be president. Why would we assume that? In the past, God called men and women to be prophets. He occasionally called a man to be king, although succession was ordinarily dynastic.
But there’s no theological reason to treat the presidency as a divine calling.
Are you prepared to renounce publicly any further claim that God's plan is for men rather than women to exercise leadership in society, the workplace and public life?
This question is also tendentious because it assumes a change in position. What I now believe, in contrast to what I used to believe. But I can’t very well renounce a position I never had.
All things being equal, I think it’s better to have men in positions of power. Dennis Prager has written a good article on the subject:
All things considered, some women are better than some men in positions of power. For one thing, some men have an effeminate temperament or an effeminate ideology. They don’t bring masculine virtues to public office.
Obama is soft and dovish. Palin is much tougher. Margaret Thatcher is another example.
Deborah is the paradigmatic exception to the rule.
Would Palin be acceptable as vice president because she would still be under the ultimate authority of McCain as president, like the structure of authority that occurs in some of your churches?
Palin’s acceptability as vice president isn’t contingent on her subordination to a male president.
Have you fully come to grips with the fact that if after his election McCain were to die, Palin would be in authority over every male in the USA as president?
This question contains some faulty assumptions.
i) Presidential authority is limited to presidential prerogatives. In a system of popular sovereignty, authority is ultimately vested in the electorate, and not our elected officials.
ii) Does a president have authority over every male in the US? The executive branch is not the only branch of gov’t. Does the president have authority over congressmen or Supreme Court justices (not all of whom are men)?
Likewise, a president doesn’t have unlimited authority over mayors or governors.
If you agree that God can call a woman to serve as president, does this have any implications for your views on women's leadership in church life?
i) I don’t agree that God calls either men or women to the presidency.
ii) It has no implications for church office. That’s determined by whatever the Bible has to say on the subject.
Would you be willing to vote for a qualified woman to serve as pastor of your church? If not, why not?
Whether a woman ought to serve as pastor depends on the polity of the particular church or denomination. How much authority does the pastor have? That varies from one denomination to another.
Can a woman teach? I think so. Is teaching an exercise of authority? No.
Can a woman exercise church discipline? No. That would be an exercise of authority over men.
Megachurches often have a number of pastors who assume different roles. Any answer, yes or no, would depend on the way in which a pastorate or multiple-pastorate is structured.
For example, it’s not a bad thing for a woman to counsel other women. Indeed, it can be a problem for a man to counsel women (one on one).
Do you believe that Palin is under the authority of her husband as head of the family?
She’s under the authority of her husband, although that’s a qualified authority. A husband can abuse his authority.
If so, would this authority spill over into her role as vice president?
I don’t see that her husband’s authority spills over to her vice presidential authority, or vice versa. A 4-star admiral has authority in the naval chain-of-command. That doesn’t spill over to the civilian sector, or the air force chain-of-command.
Do you believe that women carry primary responsibility for the care of children in the home?
i) No, I don’t think that a woman has primary responsibility for child-rearing. Both mothers and fathers have a distinctive and indispensable role to play in child-rearing.
Indeed, Christian conservatives have been complaining for some time now that feminism marginalizes the role of men in the lives of their children.
ii) Even if I disapproved of the Palin’s domestic arrangements, that’s irrelevant to my voting criteria. I’m not electing a president or vice president to be a role model. I vote for a candidate based on his (or her) policy positions.
Suppose I had a military operation to carry out. I could choose a more competent general who’s a womanizer, or I could choose a less competent general who’s a wonderful family man. Which general should I choose?
I should choose the general who’s better at completing the mission. The fact that he’s a womanizer who will burn in hell when he dies is irrelevant to my military criteria. I’m not responsible for his sexual ethics. I am responsible for the success or failure of the mission.