Friday, January 7, 2011

Women leaders and the conservative philosophy

Pence was asked his reaction to the growing talk of both Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann as presidential contenders in 2012:

"If we believe that the fundamental bonding matrix of public life is a communion of men who share the same duties -- precisely because they are men -- then what are we to make of female leaders and personalities in the conservative movement or national public life or church history? Will we join the English invaders and demand that Joan of Arc be burned at the stake for cross-dressing?  Are we dismayed that Catherine of Siena traveled to Avignon?

"Let us begin by remembering that the call of Joan of Arc was not for more female soldiers but rather: 'Men of France, do your duties!'

Catherine of Siena did not offer herself as a new female chancellor to the Vicar of Christ residing in southern France.  She urged Gregory XI (elected pope in 1370) to do his duty in the proper city for the Bishop of Rome: 'Fulfil what you have promised to God.'

"These are more measured responses than Sarah Palin putting herself next in line as commander-in-chief of the US military. She should have had the good judgment and prudence to refuse the cynical maneuver of John McCain to 'energize the base.' While so much of the media sniping at her is mean-spirited and unfair, that does not make her acceptance and John McCain's offer any less a colossal error in judgement. Sarah Palin should be the Oprah Winfrey of the Right, not a military leader.  She could play a valuable role; but I see no understanding by either her (a new mother) nor Senator McCain (a septuagenarian) that the office of the Presidency is a place for matured judgement, not a platform for 'mavericks.' Think what a victory it was for the adolescent culture: this spectacle of two perfectly fine people, so utterly out of place and ill-suited as the representatives of tradition."