Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Just As Mitt Romney Got Dogged For His Mormonism, So Sarah Palin Is Now Getting Dogged For Her Pentecostal Background
While Mitt Romney got dogged during his Presidential campaign for his Mormonism, primarily by evangelicals, so Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is now getting dogged for her previous Pentecostal background, primarily by the media, progressives and secular humanists. Full story published September 9th, 2008 by CNN.
For more than two decades, current Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was a practicing Pentecostal, belonging to the Wasilla Assembly of God church. Six years ago, she switched to the non-denominational Wasilla Bible Church, although she periodically attends Assembly of God for special events. But Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, says he's never heard her speak in tongues.
McGraw says Palin's Pentecostal roots may be being downplayed for a reason: "I think there may be issues of belief that could be misunderstood or played upon by people that don't know". When asked about Palin's beliefs, Palin campaign spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton would only say the Republican vice presidential candidate has "deep religious convictions."
But the primary question being asked about her, which is not being asked about McCain and his religious convictions, is how might her religious beliefs impact policy in Washington if the Republican ticket is successful?
Palin's former pastor says he has no doubt her religious beliefs will influence her decision making when it comes to government policy. Regarding her desire to build an Alaskan pipeline and explore for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), McGraw told CNN, "Sarah knows that in Genesis, God creates the world and it's very good and that we're supposed to be caretakers in terms of not destroying the environment, so there's no way that Sarah is going to exploit or damage the Alaska tundra in the name of getting gas if she doesn't have to."
Video of a speech she gave at the church just two months before joining the Republican ticket is making the rounds on the Internet. Part 1 of the video can be viewed HERE, and Part 2 HERE. Speaking of the troops in Iraq, Palin says on the video, "Pray for our military men and women who are striving do to what is right. Also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for -- that there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan."
Her campaign says she doesn't mix her faith with government business. But Palin did ask her audience to pray for $30 billion natural gas pipeline she is on a mission to build in Alaska. In the video Palin says, "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas pipeline built. So pray for that ... I can do my job there in developing my natural resources. But all of that doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart is not good with God."
Pastor McGraw says Alaska has already seen Palin's faith play out. As governor she passed ethics reform and took on what she's referred to as a "good-ol'-boys network." However, she has said she would not seek to impose her religious views on others. "I think one of the most obvious ways it plays out is what you've seen -- is being courageous enough to deal with deception and corruption," says McGraw.
A service Palin attended at the Wasilla Bible Church on August 17th attracted some controversy, particularly among Jewish supremacists. David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus, spoke at the service. He told congregants that terrorist attacks on Israel were God's "judgment" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity. Brickner said, "Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. When a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment -- you can't miss it."
Politico.com reported that in response, the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Ira Forman, chimped out, citing the “cultural distance” between Palin and almost all American Jews. “She’s totally out of step with the American Jewish community,” he said. “She is against reproductive freedom – even against abortion in the case of rape and incest. She has said that climate change is not man-made. She has said that she would favor teaching creationism in the schools. These are all way, way, way outside the mainstream”. However, other Jewish spokesman downplayed this notion.
The McCain campaign says his comments do not reflect her religious views. Palin's spokeswoman says she is pro-Israel.
But Palin has done little while in office to advance a social conservative agenda. She told the Associated Press in an interview in 2006 that she would not allow her personal beliefs to dictate public policy. "I've honestly answered the questions on what my personal views are on things like abortion and a lot of controversial issues," Palin told the Associated Press. "I won't hesitate to answer those questions about what my personal views are, but I am not one to be out there preaching and forcing my views on anyone else."
But in the last week, her religious background and outlook has certainly spurred debate far beyond Alaska. And that's something I take issue with. Why was Romney, at first, and now Palin, being singled out for special scrutiny over religion, while John McCain and Joe Biden are being given a free pass? Perhaps it's because both Mitt Rommey and Sarah Palin belong to religious denominations considered socially conservative. These denominations believe sin is the transgression of the law, and that sin has consequences. They promote the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. And they believe in the sanctity of unborn life.
The reason Romney and Palin have been targeted is because the national media and the establishment elite is biased against Christianity in general, and conservative Christianity in particular. The establishment cynically uses the Bible as a political weapon against Christians; they will selectively play the Jesus card and mockingly deploy individual Biblical verses out of context to put Christians on the defensive. They'll utter banalities like "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality", conveniently ignoring the fact that Leviticus and Romans adequately addresses the issue. The problem is, too many Christians take it. We as Christians need to start acting more like Muslims in defense of our faith.
Sarah Palin should be judged by her platform and her track record as Governor and previously as Mayor. She should not be judged by her religion nor by what the rest of her family do. And the same standard could be applied to Barack Obama as well.