Praise the Lord and pass the ballot box.
Sarah Palin may be “right with God.” But is she “right with America?” Talk about separation of church and state…I was just watching the accompanying video with my wife and she–both of us having been born and raised in New York–said: “Can you imagine a governor of New York saying these things?” Frankly, I can’t imagine a governor of any state saying such things, at least not as a sitting governor.
Things are different in Alaska perhaps because politically there is less at stake. But now that Palin seeks to move onto a national stage, it is precisely videos like this that will allow a national audience to determine whether she is fit to be elected.
Here are some of the choice quotations from the video that jumped out at me. In his introduction, controversial Pastor Ed Kalnins notes that when he first met Palin, she was the mayor of Wasilla:
When I got the chance to meet our mayor, I said: “This person loves Jesus. That’s the bottom line. She loves Jesus with everything she has. She’s a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ before she’s a mayor.”
After boasting that her 19 year-old son Track had enlisted in the military and was about to be deployed to Iraq, Palin preached:
“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 them [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.
Subsequently, she makes another boast about a $30 billion natural gas pipeline which she’s seeking to build from Alaska through Canada to the lower 48:
” I can work really, really hard to get a natural gas pipeline, a $30 billion project that’s going to create a lot of new jobs for Alaskans and will have a lot of energy flowing through here. And pray about that also. 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 then lists the tasks she can do as governor to make the state a decent place to live. But she adds:
None of that is gonna do any good if the people’s heart isn’t right with God. We can work together to make sure that God’s will be done here in Alaska.
After watching this video, I can perfectly understand why evangelicals are overjoyed with her nomination. But I can’t understand why John McCain was as well. Did he not think that videos like this might disturb non-evangelicals, not to mention non-Christians of which, believe it or not, there are a few in this country?
Religiously, Sarah Palin is George Bush unbuttoned. The latter manages much of the time to disguise the evangelical passion of his political mission. Palin possesses the same zeal, but lays it on the line for all to see. There is no artifice, no subtlety. It’s all right there. So America, judge for yourself. If this woman is “right with you” to be vice president, then evangelical Christianity is even more frighteningly pervasive and powerful than I feared.
Frankly, candidates like Palin are the Jews’ worst nightmare. The sentiments she expresses are part of a vestigial memory we internalize about what intolerance and bigotry sounds like. We know it when we hear it. And we hear it here. Not perhaps, in full-bore anti-Semitic mode. But we know when we’re not wanted and as non-believers we’re not wanted in Sarah Palin’s theocratic world view.
We are a minority who in a way, lives on the kindness of strangers, to quote Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire. In the words of this candidate there can be no kindness for Jews, except as instruments of some Hagee-like plan to wreak destruction and redemption on the world.
John McCain till now had the highest poll ratings of a Republican presidential candidate in a long time (around 32%). No longer. With Palin on his ticket he can kiss much of that Jewish vote goodbye. Sure, he’ll still retain 15-20% of the hardcore true believers. But forget the rest. As Ben Smith writes about an e mail he received from the Republican Jewish Coalition touting Palin as a friend of Israel because her office has an Israeli flag on the wall:
…The fact that this tiny image [of an Israeli flag on her office wall] is the best the official voice of Republican Jewry has to defend Palin is a mark that McCain may have just helped solve Obama’s Jewish problem.