Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Face of a Future U.S. President?

Today, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (D-IA) announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president. Meanwhile, my eldest daughter, Molly White (12-Left), has said for 2 years that she plans to pursue a career in law & politics with an eye on eventually winning the White House. Well, I changed my mind repeatedly as a youth as to “what I wanted to be when I grew up,” and, as a pacifist Christian, I have reservations about my child wanting any office that requires swearing an oath or being Commander-in-Chief of military forces–both of which seem clearly to run counter to the Sermon on the Mount.

But Molly is already involved in the Kentucky Youth Assembly and will travel to Frankfort (capital of the Commonwealth of Kentucky) in December for a mock legislation where she will try to pass a bill. She is taking citizenship in a representative democracy (a republic) far more seriously than I did at her age. She has all 23 amendments to the U.S. Constitution memorized.

So, is this the face of a future president? Time will tell. She certainly couldn’t do worse than the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue–or most who have held that office in my lifetime.

(Alas! Neither of my children show interest in following their mother into the pulpit or studying philosophy and theology like their father!)

November 30, 2006 - Posted by | politics


  1. I’d vote for Molly today over the current resident. She’s got more wisdom and is more eloquent than W.

    Reclaim the initial, W, Molly!

    Comment by Dan Trabue | November 30, 2006

  2. When I was a kid, I wanted to be president of the United States too. Now that I’m an adult, I know better. Now I just want to have an exciting career as a former U.S. president (like Jimmy Carter). One problem: It’s hard to become a former president without first becoming president. Though, in the remote event that does happen, I’ve decided to have my alma mater–Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado–host my presidential library.

    But I digress!

    Glad to see that Molly’s taking an interest in politics and public service at such a young age. Whether or not she actually becomes president, her experience at the Kentucky Youth Assembly will no doubt be a good foundation for whatever career she eventually does pursue.

    Comment by haitianministries | November 30, 2006

  3. Comments by two wise men named Dan! I agree that Molly’s involvement in KYA will be beneficial for whatever career she attempts. And, yes, nearly ANYONE is more fit to be president than than W.

    Molly made a profession of faith in Christ in the Spring and has already begun to feel the tensions between discipleship and citizenship.

    I’d still like to hope for a child that shares my philosophical-theological bent, but the closest so far is Miriam (6) who, this past summer, flirted with becoming a rabbi after meeting Rabbi Lynne Gottlieb whose Hebrew name is Miriam! She seems to have abandoned that for the moment, but did I ever mention that liberty of conscience is messy??

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | November 30, 2006

  4. Apart from liberty of conscience issues, Miriam’s experience with Rabbi Lynne underscores the importance of having female role models for the young girls in our churches. Not that having a Baptist preacher for a mother isn’t a great role model in and of itself.

    Comment by haitianministries | November 30, 2006

  5. Well, there’s no lack of female role models @ Jeff Street Baptist Community. In fact, we joke that that we have to let straight white males preach at least twice a year just so the kids know they can! Seriously, our pastor, Cindy Weber, is female as are our children’s minister and minister to the homeless. At least 50% of our deacons are female, too.

    But ours is not a typical church!

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | November 30, 2006

  6. Was directed to your blog through a bad search (looking for blogs mentioning my employer Human Rights First and yours popped up based off having all three words if not in that order) But really enjoying what I’m reading. One minor nit however, being president does not require swearing an oath.

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    It was in fact usual for the early presidents not to swear but rather affirm that they would faithfully execute the office of President. Otherwise great post and great blog

    Comment by Gabriel Nichols | December 7, 2006

  7. Thanbks for stopping by, Gabrielle. In my view, substituting “affirm,” for “swear” doesn’t stop the action from being an oath. It is semantics.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | December 7, 2006

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