Women's Ministry Applauds Palin Pick

An international Christian women's ministry expressed enthusiasm for the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the running mate of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

Palin adds a woman's perspective to pressing national issues such as energy, the economy, abortion, marriage, children, and the role of women in today's society, said Jane Hansen Hoyt, the president of Aglow International.

"This is an exciting day as women across the nation realize that their voices are gaining momentum in the presidential race due to the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) vice presidential running mate," Hoyt said in a statement.

Palin is the first woman to be on the Republican presidential ticket, and the second – after Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 – to run for vice president on a major-party ticket.

She is also the first woman and youngest person to hold the office of governor of Alaska.

"Our organization of women is dedicated to the transformation of this nation through the voices of Christian women and we congratulate Governor Palin on her opportunity to do the same," the Aglow president said.

Aglow is one of the world's largest Christian organizations. It began in 1967 with four Christian women meeting across denominational lines for prayer and fellowship.

Today, Aglow has grown to include more than 200,000 women who meet in more than 170 countries, including some that are traditionally closed to Christianity.

Other Christian leaders who have praised McCain's choice of Palin expressed that they can now rest assure the likely Republican nominee is serious about supporting the values of religious conservatives – an important voting bloc that traditionally is aligned with the Republican Party.

Conservatives are pleased that Palin is a strong pro-life proponent not only in terms of policies, but also in her personal life.

Her fifth and youngest child was diagnosed with Down syndrome during a prenatal exam, but she and her husband decided to still give birth to him. Studies show that about nine in 10 pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis choose to have an abortion, according to The Associated Press.

She is also said to be active in her church and side with the majority evangelical view in opposing gay "marriage."

But critics of Palin for the Republican VP spot have pointed to her lack of experience on the national political level and on foreign policies.

She is a first-term governor with 20-month experience.

Some supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was vying to be the first female U.S. president, say they were offended by McCain's selection of Palin.

"It's an insult," said Jan Roller, a Clinton delegate from Cleveland, as she arrived home from the Democratic convention, to The New York Times. "You have to be qualified for the job."

Independent voter Darlene Pace, 65, from the battleground state of Pennsylvania said she has still not decided who to vote for, but was "disappointed" with McCain's pick.

"No one in my office has any idea about her, and the only comment I'm hearing, which is not good, is that 'she's a woman and that's why she was picked,'" Pace said.

However, she said she will wait to hear the speeches at this week's Republican convention before making up her mind.

It is still unclear what impact Palin will have on McCain's White House ambition.