Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 9, 2008

PALIN'S BELIEFS DRAW CLOSER SCRUTINY.... At the outset, it's important to note that Sarah Palin is free to embrace any religious beliefs she wants. It's between her and her conscience what, or even whether, she believes. For that matter, the Constitution makes it abundantly clear that there is no religious test for public office.

But there's been a push of late, most notably from the right, to make candidates' spirituality an important aspect of evaluating those seeking national office. And with that in mind, Palin's beliefs, which stray a bit from the mainstream, are drawing closer scrutiny.

For more than two decades, vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was a practicing Pentecostal.

She belonged to the Wasilla Assembly of God church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. But though she attended the church from her teenage years to 2002, the Alaska governor hasn't talked much about her religion since joining the Republican ticket.

Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, says that like many Pentecostal churches, some members speak in tongues, although he says he's never seen Palin do so. Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."

Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" -- a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.

The McCain campaign told CNN that Palin "doesn't consider herself Pentecostal," but McGraw said Palin's Pentecostal roots may be being downplayed for political reasons. The campaign would not elaborate further of Palin's spirituality, saying only that she has "deep religious convictions."

Now, there are probably going to be some who look askance at a practicing Pentecostal who attends a church where people speak in tongues, and people are free to draw their own conclusions about their comfort level. From my perspective, I'm very much inclined to consider all of this a personal matter, outside the political realm.

I do, however, think Palin, given her public comments, should answer a few reasonable questions:

* Does she believe in the separation of church and state? Is she comfortable with a government that remains entirely neutral on matters of faith?

* Does she believe public officials should use religious beliefs to shape public policy? Palin recently said those fighting the war in Iraq are "out on a task that is from God," and added, in the same remarks, that "God's will" was responsible for a national gas pipeline project in Alaska. Might she be willing to elaborate on what this means?

Steve Benen 9:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (76)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

How about another question. Why isn't she a proud Pentecostal? She must have some reason to believe that she should hide her beliefs. What is it? How is hiding her beliefs being true to her faith? If she can't proudly tell us the truth about her religious beliefs, how can we expect her to tell the truth about anything?

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 9, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

I do, however, think Palin, given her public comments, should answer a few reasonable questions:

Another question she should be asked: does she agree with other "Rapture Republicans" that we don't need to worry about whether the damage that's being done to the environment can be repaired because the "End Times" are coming soon and that will make the question moot.

Posted by: SteveT on September 9, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't Ashcroft also a Pentecostal? I'm not sure this subject is as ripe as liberals would want it to be. As my husband noted last night, this type of publicity about her beliefs likely just shores up the base, maybe the ones who weren't too sure about a woman in high office in the first place.

Yay.

Posted by: tess on September 9, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Might she be willing to elaborate on what this means?

What this means is another administration that:
- has no interest in the environment because the end times are a-coming.
- believes that the almighty told them to run for office.
- will use religious "morals" and wedge issues like gay marriage to persuade the people to accept corporatist policies that benefit the few rich people.
- will start more wars against Islam.
- believes in fairy tales.

Posted by: chrenson on September 9, 2008 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

I really don't want another president who takes a casual attitude toward decision making, because of a bizarre faith that God will fix it.

Posted by: Danp on September 9, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Does she agree with the Bible's verses that women should be subservient to men? That they shouldn't even be allowed to speak in church?

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

Posted by: Speed on September 9, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

From my perspective, I'm very much inclined to consider all of this a personal matter, outside the political realm.

I'm inclined to do so, but won't, given that Palin herself has injected her personal political beliefs into the political realm. If she wants to advertise her religious beliefs in her quest for office, then let's examine the content of Crazy Tongue-Speaking Snake-Handling Rapture Lady's beliefs....

Posted by: Stefan on September 9, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Juan Cole writing in Salon: What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick

Power pull quote:

Palin argued when running for governor that creationism should be taught in public schools, at taxpayers' expense, alongside real science. Antipathy to Darwin for providing an alternative to the creation stories of the Bible and the Quran has also become a feature of Muslim fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia prohibits the study, even in universities, of evolution, Freud and Marx. Malaysia has banned a translation of "The Origin of the Species." Likewise, fundamentalists in Turkey have pressured the government to teach creationism in the public schools.
Posted by: koreyel on September 9, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Believes the earth is 6000 years old = nutjob.

Posted by: jeremy on September 9, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

it is not the same thing to say that (1) the government cannto establish a religious test to get on the ballot and (2) people must disclose their religious beliefs to voters because the voters demand it. The former is prohibited; the latter is not. There public/private distinction is a chimera. What matters to people when voting is what matters to people when voting. If voters believe that somethign is out of bounds, then it is out of bounds, if they think it is legitimate then you answer or fail to answer at your own peril.

orange

eric

Posted by: eric on September 9, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Subj: Sarah Palin - From a Wasilla Resident's Point of View


Hello Everyone -

Millions of people are wondering what the truth is about Sarah Palin. This
will answer a lot of questions and scare the hell out of you. The
distortions and lies of recent days (weeks) leave no doubt it's time for the
gloves to come off.

A friend of mine has a sister who lives in Alaska and sent the following
blog:

ABOUT SARAH PALIN

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she's like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because
she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out
there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin's kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative". During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation
(1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn't even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's
surplus, borrow for needs.

She's not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren't generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren't evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the "old boy's club" when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State's top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla's Police Chief because he "intimidated"
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't
fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn't
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no
background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the "old boys' club" when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man's ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to
nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as "anti-pork".

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as "AGIA" that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned "as a private citizen" against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State's
lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior's decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there's a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.


CLAIM VS FACT
."Hockey mom": true for a few years
."PTA mom": true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
."NRA supporter": absolutely true
.social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
.pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
promote it.
."Pro-life": mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
legislation
."Experienced": Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
.political maverick: not at all
.gutsy: absolutely!
.open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
.has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
."a Greenie": no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
.fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
.pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
.pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
residents
.pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla's history.
.pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn't make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen
when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because
few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out
of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no
fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will
cost me somehow in the future: that's life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100
or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's
attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to
say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

CAVEATS
I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in
spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor)
from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust
for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are
swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the
population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The
day Palin's selection was announced a city official told me that the
current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was
5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to
2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90's.

Anne Kilkenny
HYPERLINK "mailto:annekilkenny@hotmail.com"annekilkenny@hotmail.com
August 31, 2008

Posted by: hab on September 9, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I want a president that tells people to pray for a pipeline! (See Andrew Tobias yesterday)

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on September 9, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

"But there's been a push of late, most notably from the right, to make candidates' spirituality an important aspect of evaluating those seeking national office."

I think this is wrong. The push is to make spirituality important for a Democrat. There has been little scrutany of McCain's faith or lack thereof, his church, or the nuts who have endorsed - like Hagee.

So expect Palin to get a complete pass on this. The "liberal pres" probably won't even bother to consider asking.

Posted by: Mark-NC on September 9, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, for God's sake. The Assembly of God is the fastest growing denomination in the country. Pentecostalism is increasingly mainstream. Digging around in Palin's religious beliefs is a side issue that 1.) makes all of us look like out of touch bigots and 2.) distracts us from focusing on the real issues -Palin's complete and utter lack of competence or qualification for high office.

Let's keep our eye on the ball.

Posted by: on September 9, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

""""
* Does she believe public officials should use religious beliefs to shape public policy? Palin recently said those fighting the war in Iraq are "out on a task that is from God," and added, in the same remarks, that "God's will" was responsible for a national gas pipeline project in Alaska. Might she be willing to elaborate on what this means?
"""

No she didn't...

http://explorations.chasrmartin.com/2008/09/06/palin-rumors/

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/sliming_palin.html

Posted by: yarrrr on September 9, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Don't go down the religion road, it's protected by the constitution an so off focus. And stop hoping for the skeleton in the closet, unless a violent crime was committed they will get chatted away. So she has fudged an expense account. That will appeal to most humans.
It's not what she did, it's what she will do. How to determine this? Ask her.

"Gov Palin, you promise to go to Washington and go after the corrupt. Name them."

"Name the programs that are a waste of money."

"What are you going to do?"

Break through her one liners, force details.

She'll crack.

Look, she is running as a neo-anarchist, ready to smash (parts of) the state.

And if there's one thing this country needs now it's chaos.

Posted by: Himself on September 9, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Given that she seems to embrace the tactics of secrecy and deception used by the current administration, do you really think you'd get straight answers to your questions?
She only needs to deceive for eight weeks. That's not enough time for a lazy horse race press to challenge statements in time for voters to absorb the information.

Posted by: carsick on September 9, 2008 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, for God's sake. The Assembly of God is the fastest growing denomination in the country. Pentecostalism is increasingly mainstream. Digging around in Palin's religious beliefs is a side issue that 1.) makes all of us look like out of touch bigots and 2.) distracts us from focusing on the real issues -Palin's complete and utter lack of competence or qualification for high office.

Let's keep our eye on the ball.

Posted by: Matt on September 9, 2008 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe she'll be overcome by the Spirit and start handeling snakes at the debate with Biden.

On a side note. There is a story today with the headline: "McCain, Palin Want Fannie, Freddie Restructured" Has Sarah Palin co-opted McCain's campaign? Is John McCain running for President or co-President. It seems like we're being presented with some kind of co-regency. Will there come a point where John McCain has lost control to his vp nominee? Everyday there are more dubious ethical questions surrounding her public life, her views are clearly extreme and her religious beliefs out of the mainstream, her family situation is not an asset. At some point will John McCain find himself trying to pry his campaign back from a monster of his own making?

They certainly are being presented a set pair. They seem almost like weird sitcom being previewed for the new season.

Perhaps the Obama campaign should begin to question whether or not John McCain has ceeded half of his "presidency" to Sarah Palin

Posted by: Saint Zak on September 9, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Himself: it is not protected by the Constitution.

You have a First Amendment right to beleive whatever you want and the Government cannot limit the access to the ballot based on your religious beliefs, but if people want to know if you are Chirstina, Jew, or Muslim, or some variant thereof, it is not unconstitutional. You may find it distasteful or irrelevant, but that is not the same thing as saying inquiry is forbidden by law.

orange

eric

Posted by: eric on September 9, 2008 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know what the climate is like down in the States, but I know that up here in Canada Catholics don't really feel comfortable with the speaking in tongues Pentecostal weirdos.

Biden is Catholic right?

How big is the Catholic demographic in the US? Pretty big I suspect (what with the Hispanic community and all). If they're hell-bent (pun intended) on a culture war, then here's a soft flank to attack - Catholic v. Fundie.

Posted by: neilt on September 9, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

We have video of Sarah Palin addressing the Masters' Commission of the Wasilla Assembly of God. In that video, she makes it extremely clear that she was baptized and "saved" as a member of the Assembly of God church.

Posted by: jonp72 on September 9, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

If someone in high office claims to be a Christian at this time, the place to hit them with questions are the places where Bush has gone against Christ's teachings. They should ask her "Do you believe that torture is moral and in line with Christ's teachings?" Or how about "How does pre-emptive war fall in line with biblical teachings? Would this not be the opposite of faith?"

Posted by: Capt Kirk on September 9, 2008 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

As much as you dimocrats continually whine about the separation of church and state, you seem very willing to disregard that to attack dear Sarah.

What is it that you do not understand about the rules as we have defined them for our corporate media?
Questioning anything about Sarah is sexist!
Questioning anything about McCain is unpatriotic!

As Pat Buchanon explained last night on Rachel Maddow's show: Bringing up Rev. Wright over and over again is legitimate. Bringing up Sarah's preachers and churches is 'out of bounds'.

Get a grip! Get a life! Give up your support for 'His Arrogance' the Afrikan Muslim and get behind our good white patriotic Americans - John & Sarah!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on September 9, 2008 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

I'd do it this way:

"Is the United States a Christian nation?"

(She must answer yes, just as McCain had to tell Rick Warren that a blastocyst ia a toddler.)

"How do you reconcile that view with the Establishment clause?"

Posted by: jayackroyd on September 9, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm curious...When she speaks in tongues, does she use a teleprompter?

And I find the claim that this is the fastest growing denomination dubious. Would the anon commenter care to support this claim?

Posted by: doubtful on September 9, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I, too, think that this is a "go nowhere" conversation. It will only serve to push moderate Christians toward her because they will see their religion under attack. Speaking in tongues is not solely something that happens in Pentecostal churches (though it is more central to their religion), and is not considered to be something particularly kooky.

Furthermore, her comment about Iraq and God's plan doesn't mean what people want it to mean. To Christians, it means that we should pray that the Iraq war has not been pure folly and that a purpose for all the death and destruction will emerge. It's a prayer that the soldiers haven't died in vain, not a prescription for God-ordained war or something.

I do think she should be pressed on the "end times" and dominionist doctrine since "end times" may affect how she addressed foreign policy, and dominionism explicitly says that Christians should run the government, and therefore our lives.

Posted by: Taritac on September 9, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I am a fifty-something southern white male who grew up in rural Southern Baptist and Methodist churches. Believe me. Even the most ardent Baptists, Methodists, Church Christ and so forth consider the Pentecostal (speakking in tongues) Christians are kooks.

That doesn't make them kooks. But sometimes I think that people "not from around here" think southerners and southern evangelicals are more homgenous and united than they really are.

Posted by: Catfish on September 9, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, hap! That blog post from your friend is outrageous. Sounds like Sarah Soprano runs is her own mafia.

If she (Anne) is one of the 100 who opposed Palin's attempt at book-burning, hopefully she can get more of them to chime in.

Posted by: MsMuddler on September 9, 2008 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

And does she believe in The Rapture? In recent footage, she's standing next to her pastor, nodding, while he talks about how Alaska will be a haven when endtimes arrive.

People who believe in The Rapture have NO respect for the environment, as they believe the faster earth is destroyed, the faster Jesus will come back to Hoover them all up to heaven. So that has a direct bearing on her public policy decisions.

Posted by: sullijan on September 9, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I'll side with those who want to know why Palin doesn't want her Pentecostalism brought into the public view, but my question goes much, much deeper than that.

Specifically, I want to know what Palin's convictions are concerning the Pentecostal concept of "Joel's Army," in that the "endtimes army" tasked with waging the final battle of Armageddon is made up, not of Jesus and his angelic hosts, but of "righteous mortals, who will cleanse the Earth of all iniquity as the means to bring about the return of the Christ."

Such a philosophy fits perfectly with McWar-Forevermore's philosophy. The Palin/McCain campaign needs to step up to the plate and come clean on this one....

Posted by: Steve on September 9, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

As neilt and Catfish allude to, making light of her Pentecostalism can drive a wedge between Christian voters and speaking-in-tongues fundamentalists, effectively undermining her "values voters" support.

Posted by: Tyro on September 9, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/sliming_palin.html - yarrr (10:03)

That's some pretty selective fact checking there. It distorts claims and then spins the corrections. For example, on the book banning, Palin asked the librarian about the process of banning books, and made it clear that there were books that people considered objectionable, then fired the librarian. Factcheck, titles their section "Not a Book Burner" as though that was the accusation. Then they claim "the librarian continued to serve in that position." Later they admit that she was fired, but only as part of a loyalty purge, and was rehired the next day.

What factcheck is doing here is relying on Palin's explanation as the truth, while in some cases distorting the claims against her.

Posted by: Danp on September 9, 2008 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Someone should ask her if Jesus would approve of her lying about her record.

Posted by: david1234 on September 9, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Is Ms. Palin against faith based initiatives sponsored by the Catholic Church? She seems to have a problem with Obama's employment in such an organization in his first job out of college.

Posted by: Nat on September 9, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

On this whole 'rapture' business, the thing that gets under my skin the most is that it is a FIGMENT OF SOMEONE'S IMAGINTION!!! IT IS FICTION. There is nowhere in the bible that mentions anything even remotely similar to the 'rapture'.

What a depressing realization, that millions of Americans actually believe as truth someone's fantasy.

This may have been mentioned in an above post, but I saw a video the other day on Palin's church, and these people actually believe that the earth is ruled by demons, and that God will give 'superhuman' powers to a select few to do battle with these said demons.

Oh my God. Whatever happened to the age of reason?!?

Posted by: citizen_pain on September 9, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

I don't particularly care about her religion.
I do care about her 'family values', judgment, and character:
What 'family value' parades a 5 month old long into the night in front of a live audience of thousands and a TV audience of millions?
What 'family value' parades a pregnant 17 y/o in front of that same audience, then adds in the father and announces a shotgun wedding?
What judgment enables a pregnancy just after taking office, many years after a 4th child, and then hides it from everyone that might just have a need to know because you now have a large responsibility to your constituents, and also hides from your daughter the reality of this child's future until she sees the baby herself?
Where is there good character in keeping a Down's syndrome baby because if you are pro-life, there can be no 'choice' in the matter. Bringing the fetus to term regardless of that child's future quality of life, and of the impact on the entire life of everyone else in your family, is the only option you have given yourself and everyone else.

Posted by: GVC on September 9, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

neilt: Bingo. (And I don't mean the kind played in church auditoriums on Saturday.) The Dems need to get it out there that these people are anti-Catholic bigots (and their only use for Jews is in the context of Jerusalem). Gore and Kerry both dropped the ball on this when Bush cozied up to the Bob Jones ("Catholics are the Pope's streetwalkers" crowd. Obama must not make the same mistake. Catholics are a huge demographic, and if they knew how much the fundamentalists hate them, they'd think twice about supporting a ticket that kowtows to these bigots.

Posted by: sullijan on September 9, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Why would she want a second coming of Jesus Christ? Wasn't he a community organizer with no responsibilities?

Posted by: mle detroit on September 9, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

from a strategic point of view, you do not have to ask her any questions about her faith. She has belonged to (1) a Pentecostal church and (2) a church that hosted David Brickner.

That is all you have to say without passing judgment without inquiring into beliefs. The people for who it matters know what the beliefs are.

It is the questioning of beliefs that turns off christian moderates.

Give it time and it will percolate.

orange

eric

Posted by: eric on September 9, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

for WHOM.

sorry

eric

Posted by: eric on September 9, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

It's time to get real.

While I don't particularly like bringing religion into the fray, her views on creationism have got to be explored.

If she doesn't believe in fossils, as we have come to understand them, then how can she recommend drilling for fossil-fuels in her home state?

The Obama camp has got to continue to talk about faith.... BUT also science.

We cannot move forward as a country unless we have a loud debate about science versus religion.

If one is in a position of public service, and they use their faith to drive policy, then...by all means they need to be held accountable for their actions.

Just which god wants the gas lines in AK?

The looney tunes are carefully getting us all to believe that science is a crock of dung. In, a way, this mindset actually belittles the miracle of our being. What is the age of the earth? 6K years or 4.5 billion years?


Posted by: Tom Nicholson on September 9, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

It will only serve to push moderate Christians toward her because they will see their religion under attack. -Taritac

I disagree. Most other Christian denominations despise Pentacosts and rightfully think they are out of the fucking minds.

Posted by: doubtful on September 9, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, and Atrios before him, casually assert that a candidate's religious beliefs are an irrelevant, and private, aspect of a candidate which ought not to bear on a voters choice. They claim that it really comes down to a respect for the establishment clause in the constitution.

But this is absurd. Individual decision=making is determined by a ranking of personal values. A self-identified Christian (of certain stripes) may/will make decisions thru a prism of exclusively 'Christian' values. This importantly contrasts with making decisions in a non-religious, secular, value scheme, where objective, observable evidence plays a crucial, sometimes exclusive, role in determining those decisions.

How much kool-aid a candidate has drunk is a very relevant question for any informed voter to ask and ought not be dismissed as simple irrelevant.

Posted by: scudbucket on September 9, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

For Obama to question how Palin’s beliefs would pay out in practice could be dicey.

1. Invite for the GOP to bring up Wright again.
2. Obama himself has said he wants to EXPAND some of Bush’s faith-based programs
3. Biden has the “personal vs. political Catholic” angle on abortion.... So far, no priests have called for him to be barred from communion, but that could come up again.

Obama's "requested" shutdown of MoveOn's 527 work will again bite him in the butt.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 9, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

If you start quizzing Palin on the provocative/weird things said in her church, you open the floodgates for another round of questions for Obama about the outrageous comments of Rev. Wright, and questions for Biden about his policy stances at odds with Catholic doctrine. A no-win proposition.

Is it disquieting to see politicians discuss public policy in religious prophetic terms? Yes.

Is it abnormal? No. Every war we've ever fought, from the Revolution onward, has been cast as a divinely ordained crusade against the forces of evil. The same goes for all our social reform movements, not to mention most instances of anti-reform pushback. All of our presidents and presidential hopefuls - even Deists, Unitarians and closet agnostics - sooner or later call on God to promote their agendas.

Read the lyrics of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic

...then consider the likelihood of success, in this country, in attacking a politician who invokes the deity to support a "reform" agenda.

The wiser course is to question whether the agenda really constitutes reform or change.

Posted by: allbetsareoff on September 9, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Talking in tongues doesn't bother me, nor does eating peyote, nor does smoking Jah herb, nor does Dervish dancing, nor does any other religious practice that does not cause harm to sentient beings (e.g. animal sacrifice does bother me).

Sarah Palin wants the Judeo-Christian Biblical creation myth to be taught in public school science classes as an alternative to biological evolution.

That alone is sufficient to disqualify Sarah Palin from holding any national political office.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 9, 2008 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

The news media should not ask Sarah Palin anything, they should ask McCain all these questions. "Sarah Palin said the Iraq is a mission from God; do you agree?" "Palin asked her church members to pray for her pipeline proposal; do you think that was appropriate?" "Gov. Palin's church believes that when the spirit comes on them, they start speaking in tongues; are you worried the spirit may come on her when she is meeting with a foreign leader?"

The faster we stop talking about Palin as anything other than an anvil around McCain's neck, the better. Make him hide from the press.

Posted by: Th on September 9, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

"God's will" was responsible for a national gas pipeline project in Alaska

God was an angel investor.

Posted by: dr2chase on September 9, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

How big is the Catholic demographic in the US?

Catholics make up about 22-25% of the US. They're the single largest religious denomination.

Posted by: Stefan on September 9, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

SocraticGadfly,

I thought you might find this post by Ambinder interesting:

http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/quietly_obama_campaign_flashes.php


looks like the 527s are quietly being given the greenlight by the Obama camp.

(and not a moment too soon.)


p.s. I'm not so sure about your characterization of Biden's stance on abortion. It's pretty much par for the course for Catholic liberals and social democrats in Canada...and it's been widely lauded as a sensible way to govern (i.e. I have my personal faith, and that's between me and my priest, and I have my job as a servant of the people yadda yadda yadda). I suspect most Catholics in the US would find his stance fully acceptable (the wing-nuts who want to keep up with the (Bob)Joneses aside of course)

Then again, keep in mind that French Catholics are just about the most half-assed Catholics going, so take that for what it's worth. Maybe the American variety is a bit more strident. (and I say that as a marginally less than half-assed French Catholic myself :)

cheers!

Posted by: neilt on September 9, 2008 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

If you start quizzing Palin on the provocative/weird things said in her church, you open the floodgates for another round of questions for Obama about the outrageous comments of Rev. Wright, and questions for Biden about his policy stances at odds with Catholic doctrine. A no-win proposition.

What? Like the Republicans aren't going to do this stuff unless we question Palin's bizarre and out of the mainstream religous beliefs? Face it, they're going to do it anyway, no matter what, so all you're advocating is unilateral disarmament.

Posted by: Stefan on September 9, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Has Pentecostalism changed in the last 20 years? Two decades ago, women were not encouraged to take leadership roles ("a woman shall be silent in meeting"). Women were also not allowed to wear pants, sleeveless shirts, makeup, or cut their hair. That was the case in the small, rural town in which I grew up, so I'm surprised that the Pentecostal churches in Alaska would be different.

Posted by: Stacy6 on September 9, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Then again, keep in mind that French Catholics are just about the most half-assed Catholics going, so take that for what it's worth.

I have often suspected that they're in it mainly for the wine....

Posted by: Stefan on September 9, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Quote: Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."

This is pretty much the opposite of biblical speaking in tongues. At Pentecost, the apostles are said to have spoken in their own language—presumably Aramaic—and visitors to Jerusalem from foreign countries heard and understood them in their own languages. It was enhanced communication or early-times simultaneous translation, not gibberish.

Posted by: tamiasmin on September 9, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking in tongues

"These people are delusional and full of shit, no exceptions!"

Wait, did you just understand what I said?!

Posted by: Mommie Dearest on September 9, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

What Secular Animist said at 10:56. Every word.

I would add to SA's botherment about the teaching of creationism in public school science classes my own concern about Palin's desire to overturn Roe v. Wade and, further, my own interest in discovering whether she joins many of her fellow Feminists for Life members in believing that contraception they define as abortifacient should be illegal.

Neither of those positions need be religiously motivated, even though for Palin they evidently are. It doesn't require an examination of her religious beliefs to ask the question of how she plans to translate her positions into policy.

Posted by: shortstop on September 9, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Considering that the Pentecostals always preach that women are to be subservient to men, and that it's God's will, shouldn't Mr. Palin, the First Dude, be given more scrutiny? After all, he'll be just as much of a Vice-President, if not more so, than his wife, since she's supposed to accede to his will.

Which means if McCain, kicks it, under the rules the Pentecostals set for themselves, a guy who was geuinely a member of a party that wanted Alaska to secede from the union is in charge of the president & can tell her what to do. oh boy...

Posted by: slappy magoo on September 9, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

I have often suspected that they're in it mainly for the wine....

And the frocks--er, cassocks. Some of those Eastertide numbers are really stunning.

Posted by: shortstop on September 9, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

I would add to SA's botherment about the teaching of creationism in public school science classes my own concern about Palin's desire to overturn Roe v. Wade

I don't know Palin's position on the issue, but McCain is on record as wanting to overturn Griswold -- the decision that codified the right to privacy -- and, not incidentally, confirmed the right to birth control.

Palin should make her position on Griswold clear. The more her extremist views on abortion are known, the harder it'll be for McCain to pretend to be a moderate on the issue.

Posted by: Gregory on September 9, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Steve - Palin did not say that the Iraq war was a task from God. She prayed (i.e. hoped) that it was so. There is a difference. However, as an atheist I agree that we should find out her views on the separation of church and state and whether she would uphold the Constitution if she thought that it conflicted with her religious beliefs. We will probably have to draw our own conclusions from her record, since she has already shown contempt for the biblical commandment against bearing false witness.

Posted by: Ben on September 9, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

There's a big class issue here; for all his pious airs, George W. Bush would not be caught dead in a church if there were people present who affected to speak in tongues. Pentecostalism is completely declasse, for fans of Jimmy Swaggart and his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis (nothing wrong with the latter) only.

Given this matter of class, it's important to tread lightly but also to recognize an opportunity if the message is cast narrowly enough. Contrary to one of the upthread posters, charismatic forms of Christianity are deeply weird to people who grew up in mainline congregations, especially older people.

Posted by: kth on September 9, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Griswold is precisely what I mean, Gregory, although they've now learned enough about the public's overwhelming support for contraception to couch their opposition in terms of banning only "abortifacients." Many Feminists for Life remain quite vague about whether they oppose barrier methods of contraception. I would really like to know Governor Palin's policy views on this matter.

Posted by: shortstop on September 9, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

@yarrrr

The chasrmartin link didnt work for me, but the factcheck article you linked did nothing to debunk the claim you quoted.

Palin did, in fact, say that the pipeline was God's will, etc.

Posted by: TG Chicago on September 9, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop & stefan,

thanks for picking up the humour ball and running with it! God knows we need to lighten up around here every so often :D

p.s. that's French-Canadian Catholic - we don't dig on the vin so much as the biere ;)

Posted by: neilt on September 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Digging into Palin's religious convictions is a loser. She may not be a high-church Episcopalian, but she's not exactly a snake handler, either. I normally really like Keith Olbermann, but last night when I saw him sneering about her belief in speaking in tongues, I had to wonder when we lost the meaning of the word "liberal."

Americans instinctively know this is unfair. They knew it was unfair in the case of Obama, and they know it in the case of Palin. There are plenty of galaxies to attack in the Palin opinion constellation without trying to make her justify her religious practices.

Posted by: Jim Strain on September 9, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

God is up for grabs, always has been, always will be. Like a handy ventriloquist's doll, God can be made to do, say, support and bless anything you damn-well choose. How convenient.

The country would be a millions times better off if the whole charade were removed root and branch and chucked in the bin. Removing the 1950's "under God" addition from the Pledge of Allegiance would be a good place to start.

At the end of the day, the God stuff is just a load of baloney producing mental infirmity, credulity and incoherence by any practical or rational standard. Eagerly anticipating some fanciful "End Time" is the surest imaginable recipe for disastrous governance. No person who subscribes to such nonsense should be allowed anywhere near public office.

So - YES - it is extremely important to know if her religious beliefs tend anywhere near that direction.

Posted by: Goldilocks on September 9, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I normally really like Keith Olbermann, but last night when I saw him sneering about her belief in speaking in tongues, I had to wonder when we lost the meaning of the word "liberal."

Liberal does not mean "can't mock deeply crazy and bizarre superstitions."

And please, you think that if, say, some Democrat believed in something equally batty such as the healing power of crystals, that the GOPers wouldn't be running with it day and night on Fox as evidence of how out of the mainstream that candidate was?

Posted by: Stefan on September 9, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

As a liberal, mainline Protestant I am willing to overlook some of Palin's views - God does work in mysterious ways and perhaps people do speak in tongues.

HOWEVER, the so-called rapture is a huge distortion of the book of Revelation; any candidate espousing that belief and/or rejecting science should be automatically disqualified from office as he/she does not have the judgment or best interests of America or the world in mind.

And, by the way, Gov. Palin, God is not in favor of war.

Posted by: Hannah on September 9, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Agreeing with David1234 that this question should be asked of Palin:

As a Christian, and a public servant who is running for higher office, why have you chosen to break God's commandment against lying?

It's really pretty simple.

Posted by: Hannah on September 9, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

I can buy into overturning Roe vs Wade. Every stupid damn woman who votes for McCrap deserves that!

I can buy into teaching creationism in our schools in place of science. Every stupid damn person who votes for McCreep deserves that!

I can buy into a president that believes that he/she is guided by divine presence to start more wars. Every stupid damn person who votes for McBush deserves the continuation of that!

WHAT I CANNOT ACCEPT is the effort to overturn Griswold vs Connecticut!!! It is much, much more than the foundation for the court's decision on Roe vs Wade. Without Griswold, there is no legal basis for individual privacy AND I AM WILLING TO GO TO WAR OVER THAT!

Posted by: SadOldVet on September 9, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Removing the 1950's "under God" addition from the Pledge of Allegiance would be a good place to start.

Religiosity in politics is irksome but tolerable, and of course people's religious practices are their own business.

But...in light of the Bush administration's contempt for the Constitution, the shared interest between neoconservatives and some evangelicals in promoting chaos in the Middle East, the global warming crisis, and declining literacy rates in the US, it's fair to ask:

If you win the election, in your role as vice-president would you consider the Constitution or God the higher authority?

What is your interpretation of "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s"?

Do you support teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes?

Do you believe in the Rapture?

Could you explain "dispensation theology" for people who are unfamiliar with the term?

Etc.

Posted by: Lucy on September 9, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hannah, I must disagree about God and war. The Old Testament God (who, incidentally, is described as the God of the Jewish people and not anyone else) is a jealous and vengeful God. Large parts of the OT are full of righteous war against enemies and sinners. Back in those good old days, defeating an enemy was proof that your god was better than his. Nothing has changed, since apparently the Muslims and Christians have yet to settle whose side God is on. Hmm, that's problematic... If our god wins, than that means he's better than theirs, but it's supposed to be the same guy...

Maybe I'll just convert to Judaism.

Posted by: Mac on September 13, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

On speaking in tongues, i believe in the saying if you speak in tongues and no one interprets them for you, then you will be considered a fool.
on religion, all are of the same mind, we are the only way to get to heaven. Palins being a pentecostal to me means nothing, i have myown religion, read the bible and decide for yourself instead of letting someone tell you what to think. give her a break, but i am an obama supporter, ive met muslims and discussed their religion no different except it is taken from the old testament.. not new...

Posted by: john carter on October 29, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

Posted by: Phlebotomy Certification on December 28, 2010 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks very much for writing this good content! I am looking forward to checking out more blogs.

Posted by: Shea Grustas on December 29, 2010 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly