Caesar and God

With Hillary Clinton being the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party to run for President of the United States there was an article published titled, “God might not want a woman to be president, some religious conservatives say.” My first thought is one should be very careful when he or she presumes to speak for God.

That being said there is much debate in religious circles on the roles of men and women in the home and church. Some Bible scholars hold to a complimentarian view that men and women hold different positions and functions that compliment their gender. Others hold a more egalitarian view that men or women can serve equally as well in any given position. But that would be a subject for another article.

Rick Santorum posed this question during the 2012 campaign, “Is it God’s highest desire, that is His biblically expressed will,…to have a woman rule the institutions of family, church and state?” What does the Bible say about women in government leadership?

Santorum may have asked this question because just four years earlier John McCain had chosen Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential running mate, and had he won a woman would have been only a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States.

It may surprise some to know the Bible says nothing that would bar a woman from serving at any level of government. The patriarchal tenor of Scripture may lead one to think God would prefer men in all forms of leadership, but the Scriptures do not say that explicitly. In fact, the prophetess Deborah was numbered among the twelve Judges of Israel, and the prophetess Huldah was adviser to King Josiah of Judah.

Besides, it is the United States Constitution that establishes the qualifications to be President. Article II, Section 1 reads, “No person except a natural born citizen…attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States” is eligible to hold the office of President. If the framers had wished to exclude the fairer sex I suppose they could have substituted the word “man” for the word “person” and it may have settled the issue.

It seems a little late to consider female leadership when women have been elected to and have served well at all levels of local, state and federal government within legislatures the judiciary and as governors. History attests to women who have served as heads of state with distinction such as Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, and the current Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.

Jesus told us “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s,” Matthew 22:21. It seems inconsequential to me to debate what the sex of the President should or will be, when the question of whether or not Caesar will protect the freedom of conscience to render “to God the things that are God’s” is undecided.

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