I heard this amusing report on All Things Considered yesterday which attempted to figure out whether her time as First Lady counts as policy experience for Hillary Clinton. It included her incisive analysis that the use of trains to relocate refugees might tellingly remind people of Schindler's List (or North By Northwest? Murder On the Orient Express?). Am I the only one who finds this idea utterly ridiculous? Does anyone consider who the first lady will be in casting a vote for president? Was there anyone who thought the First Lady had any business writing policy on health care or anything else? Would you be thrilled if your surgeon's wife scrubbed in for your operation? Do the wives of cops ride shotgun? See where I'm going with this?
Now, someone answers the phone at the pastor's house, and sometimes that person gets an earful whether or not it's the pastor. It also happens that the pastor's family, wife included, is usually among the better catechized families in the congregation and therefore a useful source of Sunday School teachers and lesser included offenses. But this mentality really stumps me. A proponent of the entity purveying said mentality was shocked and offended by my scornful wondering what wives had to do with it (I conceded that I didn't get what any of it had to do with whatever "it" might be). Have these people noticed that there's a fairly major Christian tradition that has been actively disproving this notion of the indispensable pastor's wife for centuries with its celibate priesthood?
All's I know is, a lot of icky stuff goes down in a parish and I don't understand how my getting tangled up in it would help anyone. I see how these things burden my husband, and I'm pretty sure I serve him better by making sure he has some treats to cheer him up and by keeping my own spirits up, which is a lot easier if I'm not also depressed about the dirt on everyone. I think it is a great offense against parishioners to let anyone other than the qualified person from whom they sought help in on their sad secrets. Furthermore, I honestly doubt I'd be any more or less involved at church if my husband weren't the pastor. I like church and would probably be more involved than most people--but it just doesn't have anything to do with him. And when it comes to theological questions--I even have some formal education in this department, but I know very well that sticky matters should be passed on to the local professional. I can't tell when these questions aren't just academic, thus again rendering them none of my business even if I think I do know the right textbook answer (not to mention the fact that he's just a lot smarter than I am).
Well, anyway . . . I don't think "First Lady" is a foreign policy credential.