Christianity Today Hits Media for 'Misunderstanding' Palin's Evangelical Christian Faith

Having held their peace long enough, or perhaps being longsuffering in abuse, Christianity Today (CT) released an editorial today addressing the media's penchant for misunderstanding Gov. Sarah Palin's evangelical Christian faith.

NewsBusters has been tracking the media's cluelessness and biases on that front since at least early September.

In an October 28 posting to their Web site, Christianity Today's editors tackled how the media misconstrue evangelical views on two matters: teenage daughter Bristol Palin's unwed pregnancy and how the media insist evangelicals view the role of women in secular society, the family, and the church (emphases mine):

First, reactions to news of Bristol Palin's out-of-wedlock pregnancy: liberal pundits gleefully announced that this was going to seriously undermine Governor Palin's standing with the Republican Party's evangelical base. Any informed evangelical watcher or evangelical believer could have told them that this is a non-issue.

It is a non-issue because John Newton's famous line, "I once was lost but now I'm found," defines the evangelical ethos. We specialize in troubled lives. Stories of transformation from sin and degradation to righteousness and wholeness frame the way evangelicals see life. From the slave-trading Newton to the White House "hatchet man" Chuck Colson, God saves people from their slavery to sin and uses them to restore others...


The second media reaction that caught our attention was liberal puzzlement over conservatives who believe that only men should lead churches and marriages, yet who would not hesitate to have a woman a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Richard Land told Christianity Today that such concerns are asinine. The president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission compares the Palins to the Thatcher household: Dennis was head of the family, while Maggie ran the government. Land subscribes to the Baptist Faith and Message, which teaches that ecclesiastical and marital leadership are male territory. But Land is married to a strong woman, a professional with a Ph.D.

Are Christians like Richard Land inconsistent? We don't think so. Gender is complex and fundamental and not a mere social construction. It functions in archetypal ways. Many conservative Christians (though not all) believe these archetypes provide symbolic structure to church and marriage. God distributes gifts across gender lines, and women and men who develop their gifts do so to the Giver's glory. God created church and marriage, they say, and God wrote the user's manual for each. But God also created society, and he gifted women from the biblical Deborah to Israel's likely new Prime Minister Tzipi Livni with the gifts to govern.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.