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Evangelicals differ on whether Palin's career fits biblical model

Some believe her work outside the home has turned 'husbands lead, wives submit' on its head.

October 01, 2008|Teresa Watanabe | Times Staff Writer

Although many conservative Christians agree that women should place homemaking over working outside, many are hesitant to apply those views to Palin. Christian author Martha Peace, whose book "The Excellent Wife" tells women to submit to husbands and be good homemakers, said she would not make the same choice as Palin.

Ditto for Richard Land, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and recommended Palin to the McCain campaign. He also would not do as the Palins have done. "I'm not hard-wired to be the 'First Dude,' " he said.

But Peace and Land are two of many who say the public should stay out of what is a matter between the Palins and their pastor. "I wouldn't presume to make that judgment for another family," Land said.

Others cite biblical passages they believe affirm Palin's decision to join the GOP ticket.

Take the woman at Placerita Baptist Church, where the women's ministry offers classes on "Heavenly Homemaking" and Bible classes on the apostle Paul's epistle that declared husbands are the head of wives, as Christ is the head of the church.

Eighteen women gathered recently to discuss Palin. They included stay-at-home moms and home-schoolers, small business owners and nurses, some with high school diplomas and others with doctoral degrees. All of them expressed support of Palin, particularly for standing against abortion and embracing her infant son.

Janice Hodgson, who worked in the mortgage business until recently, said Proverbs 31 offers a positive view of working women with servants -- suggesting, she said, that it is fine for Palin to hire nannies to help care for her children.

Barbara Barrick, the women's ministry coordinator, said she looks to Deborah, a prophetess and judge, as a biblical example of a female leader. Ennis cited Abraham's wife, Sarah, and Queen Esther as other women called by God for special missions. "If God has put her in this position," Ennis said of Palin, "then I need to pray for her and look to God to multiply her resources."

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teresa.watanabe@latimes.com

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Scriptural references

Bible verses on the role of women:

Titus 2:3-5

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

Ephesians 5:22-24

"Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. "

1 Timothy 2:11-15

"A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint."

Source: New American Standard Version

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