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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sarah Paulin's Religion...O.M."F."G.

Yeah Baby! God is her fund raiser!

Three months before she was thrust into the national political spotlight, Gov. Sarah Palin was asked to handle a much smaller task: addressing the graduating class of commission students at her one-time church, Wasilla Assembly of God.

Her speech in June provides as much insight into her policy leanings as anything uncovered since she was asked to be John McCain's running mate.

Speaking before the Pentecostal church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

Religion, however, was not strictly a thread in Palin's foreign policy. It was part of her energy proposals as well. Just prior to discussing Iraq, Alaska's governor asked the audience to pray for another matter -- a $30 billion national gas pipeline project that she wanted built in the state. "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that," she said.

This is person could possibly be the Vice President or, considering the health of her partner J. McCain, furthermore President. Allow me to make a “prophetic declaration” that seems to be more predictive than any pronouncement from pulpits of this sort: the continuation of conversations like this from public officers can do nothing but detriment our civic health. Why is it that some leaders of the United States insist that a “higher power” or “Jesus” is giving them support and providing them with impetus to govern? Why is it that Governor Palin’s friend and obvious ally Steve Allen called “this a god thing?” What does that even mean?

I submit that one of the many deleterious effects of claims to religious affiliation is the absence of use of intellectual faculties generally. When GW Bush vetoed federal funding on the most promising research in the history of science, namely stem cell research, he did so because it was a “god thing.” When the Archbishop of Canterbury claims that England ought to adopt Shar’ia law for its muslim population, he did so because it is a “god thing.” In present political situation it is beyond difficult to challenge the religious backing that so many politicians, of classically opposing faiths nonetheless, use to gain support. Look at how this unknown mayor was able to garner support from the faithful by her religious devotion alone. Shouldn’t it be asked what she really believes economically, sociologically, or politically? This is the pain of religious moderation. We no longer hear the truth about her personality but her lofty and diaphanous ideas about how the god of Abraham ought to be consulted for energy policy. One ought to wonder why it is that other nations of opposing religious traditions who seek the same god’s favor in explicitly opposite requests receive his grace at times. Are the believers of Alaska less valuable?

Sarah Palin’s preacher, Pastor Kalnins, it seems wouldn’t think so. He has preached that critics of President Bush will be banished to hell; questioned whether people who voted for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 would be accepted to heaven; charged that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and war in Iraq were part of a war "contending for your faith;" and said that Jesus "operated from that position of war mode."

It is impossible to determine how much Wasilla Assembly of God has shaped Palin's thinking. She was baptized there at the age of 12 and attended the church for most of her adult life. When Palin was inaugurated as governor, the founding pastor of the church delivered the invocation. In 2002, Palin moved her family to a nondenominational church, but she continues to worship at a related Assembly of God church in Juneau.

Moreover, she "has maintained a friendship with Wasilla Assembly of God and has attended various conferences and special meetings here," Kalnins' office said in a statement. "As for her personal beliefs," the statement added, "Governor Palin is well able to speak for herself on those issues."

Clearly, however, Palin views the church as the source of an important, if sometimes politically explosive, message. "Having grown up here, and having little kids grow up here also, this is such a special, special place," she told the congregation in June. "What comes from this church I think has great destiny."

And if the political storm over Barack Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright is any indication, Palin may face some political fallout over the more controversial teachings of Wasilla Assembly of God.

By AlecsDeLarge

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