September 1, 2008
Richard Land glows over Palin pick
Richard Land is "ecstatic" over Sen. John McCain's decision to pick Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as vice president, and the women in his office are just as excited.
"They were absolutely giddy, and saying ‘I’m going to volunteer’ after Sarah Palin was picked," said Land, who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "There’s something going on in the conservative independent sisterhood that I can’t tap into. I can’t comprehend it, but it’s there."
I spoke with Land just before news broke that Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.
"I recommended her but I had no reason to believe that they would do it, but I’m happy they did. I think it’s going to tap into all kinds of things. I must say I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the depth of the response among women, among evangelical and Catholics. Clearly, her nominations tapped into something, which I can observe as a white male but can’t experience. My wife says to her Sarah Palin is what the feminists’ movement was all about. You can have a family and a husband and a career, that you can do it all. My wife has a Ph.D. in psychology, she’s in private practice as a psychotherapist.
I find these questions about ‘how can she take care of her children and be vice president’ sexist. Nobody asked that question to any of the male candidates. That’s a family decision. As long as she and her husband are comfortable with it and they seem to have done a wonderful job with the children they have, it’s nobody’s business.
What will this do for John McCain?
The enthusiasm gap has been closed considerably. Let me answer a question you haven’t asked me. I had two secular reporters ask me, ‘Dr. Land, you as a Southern Baptist believe that women are not to be pastors of churches and women are not to be head of the home. Wouldn’t it mean that if Sarah Palin were elected vice president, her husband would tell her what to do? And I said, ‘If you don’t mind my saying so, that’s an asinine question, but I’ll answer it.’ Mrs. Thatcher said that her husband was head of her home and she ran the country. Queen Elizabeth said that Prince Phillip was head of the home and she was head of the country. If Mrs. Thatcher had been an American, I would’ve enthusiastically supported her for president of the United States.
The only restrictions we find in Scripture are, that for whatever reason women are not to be in charge of a marriage and women are not to be in charge of a church. That has nothing to do with governor, or senator or the House of Representatives, or president, or vice president.
I was just in Denver where there were several religious outreach events. There are very few things officially scheduled at the Republican National Convention. What does that say about the parties?
The party that feels they’re not getting the fair share of a constituency are the ones who practice outreach. If the constituency is an integral part of the decision making part of your party, you don’t have to practice outreach. It’s not going to fundamentally shift things. Obama’s not doing as well as John Kerry so far. He’s the most radically pro-choice candidate ever nominated by a major party. That’s a vertical mountain to try to climb with evangelicals and with pro-life Catholics. He’s going to get 20 to 22 percent of the evangelical, because 20 to 22 percent of evangelicals are liberal evangelicals. That’s fine, but I don’t think he’s going to do any better than John Kerry did.
Does he get any credit for trying?
Sure he does. You’re going to attract more voter support in the long term with honey than with vinegar. If you can demonstrate that you at least respect people of faith and that they’re important to you, you’re going to do better than Howard Dean who said Job was his favorite book of the New Testament. If he had been running against Rudy Giuliani, he might’ve gotten half of the evangelical vote, but he’s not, he’s running against a pro-life candidate who has picked a very strongly pro-life running mate."