Palin’s God Too Much for Presidency?

It seems as though past political attacks come back to haunt the Democrats and Republicans. After Republicans suffered sexist charges by the Democratic Party during the primaries, we now find Barack Obama and the Democrats confronting sexist charges from the Republican Party.

Likewise, as Barack Obama had to deal with his affiliations with Pastor Jeremiah Wright, we now find Sarah Palin and the Republicans having to deal with questionable church affiliations from the Democrats. One could counter here that Republican candidates have had their share of fiery and scandalous pastors, and I have written as much in a past commentary on John McCain’s ties to politically controversial Christian pastors. However, we have a new direction with Sarah Palin’s affiliation with her hometown Wasila Assembly of God, a church she claims to have grown up in.

Palin’s role in the church has not simply been an attendant, but an active leader, where she fused political and religious motives in her climb to the Governorship. This controversial step might electrify conservative evangelical Christians, but could alienate a large voting block.

Wasila Assembly of God is one of thousands of Assembly of God churches in the United States. The Assembly of God is the largest Pentecostal domination with 57 million adherents, and hosts over 280,000 churches in over 200 countries.

Palin’s controversial blurring of Church and State was already present during her term as mayor of Wasila. After Palin and her church raised concerns over certain books at the public library, one dealing explicitly with homosexuality, Palin as mayor asked the head librarian how the librarian would feel if asked to remove some books from the collection. The head librarian replied that it was not acceptable. Shortly thereafter, the librarian was fired, only to be reinstated after a public uproar. The librarian eventually left, citing problems working with Palin:

Palin’s role in the potential book banning is thin, and nondescript, and moreover never led to an actual ban. It does raise into question Palin’s vision of civic duty, i.e., how much of her own faith should she allow into her political life. Ordinarily a non-Protestant candidate would come under fire for this, such as John F. Kennedy and John Kerry for being Catholic, or most recently with Mitt Romney for his Mormon beliefs. But it is not Palin’s Pentecostal background that provides a troubling mix of Church and State inclinations, but rather her acts that merge politicking and proselytizing together.

An excellent example of this is found in Palin’s speech to the Wasila Assembly of God’s Master’s Commission students this past June. Wasila’s Master’s Commission students dedicate 9 months to proselytize and become “24/7 ministry students“. In Palin’s speech to these students, she inserted political, moral, and Christian rhetoric to a captivated group of prospective voters (Master’s Commission students are between the ages of 18-25). The first of two clips is below, the second is here.

In earlier critiques concerning Jeremiah Wright, there were two issues that repeatedly surfaced: 1) Obama was affiliated with Pastor Wright, who brought allegedly non-religious topics to the sermon (such as 9/11, the war in Iraq, racism) and; 2) Obama was passively present during some of Pastor’s Wright’s fiery and controversial sermons. In both cases, Obama was not faulted for the actions, but rather the relationship he had to the person doing the actions. Sarah Palin’s case is much more stark. What we find here is Palin’s actions, not her pastor’s, that become highly questionable. However, let’s get beyond the stage of shallow comparisons and look at something much more controversial to our popular democracy. Palin used her church for politicking, but more importantly, used political platforms to proselytize.

Palin’s views on drilling in Alaska becomes a holy mission from God, and something to pray for. During her speech, she explains to these soon-to-be ministry students:

What I need to do is strike a deal with you guys as you go out throughout Alaska. I can do my part in doing things like working really really hard to get a natural gas pipeline, about a 30 billion dollar project that is going to create a lothttp://www.wasillaag.org/ of jobs for Alaskans and we’re going to 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 in getting that gas line built, so pray for that. But I can do my job there in developing our natural resources and doing things like getting the roads paved and making sure our troopers have their cop cars and their uniforms and their guns, and making sure our public schools are funded, but really all of that stuff doesn’t do any good if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God. And that is going to be your job, as I am going to be doing my job, let’s strike this deal, your job is going to be going out there, reaching the people, herding people, throughout Alaska, and we can work together to make sure God’s will is done here.
*bold added for emphasis*

Palin mixed politics, economics, and God into her pitch for an Alaskan pipeline– ordinarily an odd and questionable combination for a pastor, rabbi, or imam. But this was not coming from a religious figure, but rather Alaska’s Governor, in a church, to evangelical voters. Perhaps this is the key to focus on: evangelical voters. What better way to galvanize a large following and amass loyal and passionate followers, but to intertwine your political platform with Christian evangelicalism? Whether Palin was manipulating the students or not is inconsequential to the worldview she was espousing.

Palin’s evangelical politics manifested when she spoke on the war in Iraq, when she called soldier’s missions a task from God:

(Track) is going to be deployed to Iraq in September, pray for 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 out on a task that is from God, that is what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan, so bless them with your prayers of protection over our soldiers.

And speaking of Track also, he just turned 19, and when he turned 18, right before he enlisted, he had to get his first tattoo. And I was like, “nyah, I don’t think that’s really cool son,” until he showed me what it was and I thought, “Oh, he did something right.” ‘Cause on his cap he has a big old Jesus Fish.”
*bold added for emphasis*

The question here is not whether you believe in Palin’s views, but rather do you believe in her politics? This issue is compounded when juxtaposing Palin’s comments in church to those during a recent interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson. In the interview, Palin seems to be backing away from these comments, posturing herself more as a secular politician. Unfortunately, she is misrepresenting her worldview:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side. That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”

PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That, in my world view, is a grand — the grand plan.

GIBSON: But then are you sending your son on a task that is from God?

PALIN: I don’t know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.

We are in the stage of ‘repainting images’ and Palin is trying to give herself a secular makeover. Both McCain and Obama argue that their vice presidents are qualified to serve as president of the United States. Regardless of which Palin image prevails, the question remains: in this new age of politics, is there room for an evangelical president?

  • Babs

    Well Michael, I’m really not going to slam you on this one except for a thing or two. 😉 I don’t think that we can compare a couple of things here:

    1) The homosexual remark by a pastor who is no longer her pastor is irrelevant – she left that church. The same as we can no longer hold it against Obama for anything Wright says in the future, he’s left that church.

    2) I think while we ARE able to look at Palin’s beliefs more clearly than Obama’s here because we have her own testimony and leadership in her church, we cannot compare her to Wrightgate. I have yet to hear anything in any of your videos that damn America, accuse America of giving aids to blacks, and on and on. So I think Wright is off the table here.

    I think the Democratic Party would very much like to be able to hold Sarah up and say “Look! She’s a religous fanatic!”, but I really don’t think that’s going to work.

    We speak in a manner – all of us – that is dependent on who our audience is. I don’t discuss the same things with my 11 year old grandson that I do with you. Obama doesn’t go home and give his daughters stump speeches, or discuss Black Liberation Theology with them, I’m sure. We tailor our messages to our audiences. The fact that Sarah’s faith is highlighted in messages to her church family should be expected – and applauded. To discuss your faith with others of your faith is normal.

    The fact that she sincerely hopes that our actions are God’s will – that he approves of our actions, in other words – is not something you’re going to be able to convince the majority of America is a bad thing. We as Christians, all of us, pray that our actions will be sanctioned by God.

    You know, Assembly of God members are a breed of their own. I’ll give you that. I grew up with them, my mother of one before she married my Dad, the Baptist Minister. My Aunt was a devout Assembly of God member, and I’ve attended this church, and I’ve heard the speaking in tongues. I learned that outside the umbrella of the obvious, they are simple Christians devoted to God who have their own way of living their faith, which is a benign faith not having anything to do with Holy Wars or Jihad. We don’t question Budhist idols and customs, we don’t question Muslim idols and customs, we don’t question Jehovah’s witnesses, we don’t even question Freewill Baptists’ custom of washing feet. And I don’t think we should question the customs of Sarah’s faith, or the particular language or idioms they use in discribing their faith. There are no anti-American sentiments here, and as long as there’s not, it’s a private matter. You seem to want to portray them as a cult, as many do, and that’s a false assertion.

    You ask “in this new age of politics, is there room for an evangelical president?” Well Michael, that is the question, isn’t it? You have provided the number of Assembly of God members in your commentary. Try going back and getting a count on the number of generic “evangelical” voters in this country – whether Assembly of God, Protestant, or Catholic – and you will probably have your answer. It may frighten you, though, if you are one who believes God has no place outside the doors of a church.

  • Stalin

    Babs,

    Don’t bother. People like Michael will not be happy until America has been stripped of her Christianity, both culturally and historically and atheists are running the country.

  • I don’t think any controversy whatsoever will come from any of Palin’s religious affiliations, and here’s why. She attended two evangelical Bible teaching churches, something millions of Americans do every week. There was no “God damn America” or anything of that nature, just churches where the Bible is taught, big surprise.

    Plus, Greta Van Susteren on Fox News tracked down Palin’s former Pastor and her current Pastor for interviews, they seem totally normal to me. In fact, they seem like the type of Pastor most people would want in their church:

    Former Pastor:Current Pastor:Both normal guys with good things to say, even about each other. They teach the Bible, it happens in thousands of churches every week.

    Plus, when you read the entire quote from her prayer concerning soldiers in Iraq, it is nothing different than you might here a Pastor or anyone else pray in any other church around the country. She’s praying asking that the soldiers are being sent as part of God’s plan, that is, hoping that the soldiers are not going against God’s plan. It’s very basic and will not amount to any controversy unless the media can create it.

    I think this type of publicity about her faith only helps her with evangelicals who were not so fancy on McCain.

    She answered this question perfectly and I think anyone else with similar faith would agree:

  • Stalin

    OBAMA’s HERO- Excerpts from JFK’s Inaugural Address”

    “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

    “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

  • Stalin

    OBAMA’s HERO part II – FDR’s D-day Prayer

    My Fellow Americans:

    Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

    And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

    Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

    Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

    They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

    They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

    For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

    Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

    And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

    Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

    Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

    And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

    And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

    With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

    Thy will be done, Almighty God.

    Amen.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt – June 6, 1944

  • Babs

    Shoot, I could have saved my breath. You guys did an awesome job. 😉

  • Michael, I will say an extra prayer for you tonight!

  • OBAMA_SUCKS

    Stalin good job with the quotes from Kennedy. Liberals seem to forget that some times. I dont understand why mostly all liberals have some type of problem in a greater belief in God. Why is it always a big deal if someone believes in God like she and I and many others do???

  • Babs

    Oh my, my, Michael. You might have to rethink your position a bit. Seems ABC fudged a little with Sarah:

    “Millions of TV viewers who watched ABC News’ interview with Sarah Palin Thursday night never saw her take issue with a key question in which she was asked if she believes that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is “a task that is from God.”

    The exchange between Palin and ABC’s Charlie Gibson, in which she questioned the accuracy of the quote attributed to her, was edited out of the television broadcast but included in official, unedited transcripts posted on ABC’s Web site, as well as in video posted on the Internet.

    But in the version shown on television, a video clip of her original statement was inserted in place of her objection, giving a different impression of how Palin views the Iraq war.

    In the interview, Gibson asked Palin: “You said recently in your old church, ‘Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a Holy War?”

    Palin’s response, which appears in the transcript but was edited out of the televised version, was:

    “You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.”

    “It’s exact words,” Gibson said.

    But Gibson’s quote left out what Palin said before that:

    “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 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 that plan is God’s plan.”

    The edited televised version included a partial clip of that quote, but not the whole thing.

    Gibson’s characterization of Palin’s words prompted a sharp rebuke from the McCain campaign on Thursday.

    “Governor Palin’s full statement was VERY different” from the way Gibson characterized it,” read a statement circulated by McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

    “Gibson cut the quote — where she was clearly asking for the church TO PRAY THAT IT IS a task from God, not asserting that it is a task from God.

    “Palin’s statement is an incredibly humble statement, a statement that this campaign stands by 100 percent, and a sentiment that any religious American will share,” Bounds wrote.

    In the rest of the segment that aired, Palin told Gibson that she was referencing Abraham’s Lincoln’s words on how one should never presume to know God’s will. She said she does not presume to know God’s will and that she was only asking the audience to “pray that we are on God’s side.”

    A promo posted on Yahoo! News Friday continued to misrepresent the exchange. It displays Palin’s image next to the words, “Iraq war a ‘holy war?’” implying that Palin — not Gibson — had called the War on Terror a holy war.

    ABC News did not respond to requests for comment from FOXNews.com.

    ABC’s mischaracterization of Palin’s words was not the only one in the media. The Washington Post also did some last-minute clean-up in one of its articles on Palin — a front-page story Friday with the headline “Palin Links Iraq to Sept. 11 in Talk to Troops in Alaska.”

    As pointed out by The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, the original version posted online used harsher language than the one that hit Beltway newsstands early Friday morning.

    The original passage, written by staff writer Anne E. Kornblut, read:

    “Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would ‘defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.’

    “The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped Al Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself. On any other day, Palin’s statement would almost certainly have drawn a sharp rebuke from Democrats, but both parties had declared a halt to partisan activities to mark Thursday’s anniversary.”

    But in the print version, and the version now appearing on the newspaper’s Web site, the article softened its claim a bit by swapping in the last line with this: “But it is widely agreed that militants allied with Al Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.””

  • I never brought up the pastor issue regarding homosexuality. That is what other people are doing, not me. My issue is with her actions and worldview.

    Babs, I do not think I misrepresented Palin in the commentary, although apparently some news accounts did this. I gave the full context in writing, and supplied a 15 minute video clip of her talking about the issues.

    OS and Stalin, the issue here is how intimate is the vision of Church and State to a candidate. It is one thing to cast remarks around and say, “God bless the United States,” but it is another thing to envision one’s civic duty as involved in one’s personal church’s direction.

    FDR and JFK (and Lincoln, and Nixon) did not try to impose book restrictions based upon their religious convictions. They did not work the base of their political platform from their personal church, and certainly did not tell voters it was God’s plan to bring a railroads, or oil, or whatever, to them.

    There is nothing wrong with believing in a god, gods, or a higher power. My point is not about castigating Palin’s personal beliefs, but about how she seems to project them into her civic duties. The Baptists of Rhode Island, among others, were the earliest and strongest supporters of the U.S being a country where Church and State was divided. Baptists are clearly Christian, but they believed Christianity’ place was in the private sphere. That belief is unfeasible in many ways, but the desire is an important one to hold.

    Currently most wars in the world around between religious and secular nationalism. It is not about how many Christians or evangelicals we have in this country, but how we choose to present ourselves politically to the world, and to ourselves.

  • Anyone who believes the Iraq war is a “task from God” is a dangerous nutjob and shouldn’t be trusted.

    How can the right argue that fundamentalist muslims are wrong and evil when they believe that their fight with America is a task from their God? Yet here you have Sarah Palin saying the same thing but from a fundamentalist Christian point of view. Didn’t also Bush call the Iraq war another crusade? and anyone who knows their history knows how the crusades turned out.

    If Edmund Burke is right and that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” then why isn’t that enough? why does it have to be a ‘task from God’?

    Keep religion out of it, as religion has started more wars than solved them.

  • Floyd

    If you think you’ve seen everything, Google “Zombietime” and click on “Up Your Alley Fair.” After recovering, Yahoo “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up” (even Jesus told Judas to hurry up – John 13:27). Also Yahoo “Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right.” What’s scary is that Gaydom’s agenda is to sneak its depravity on to every Main Street on earth in front of children while decent folks stay asleep and do nothing! Floyd

    (Obama, Pelosi, and Newsom did NOT approve of this message.)

  • PeoplePower

    Michael – I *really* liked your follow-up commentary.

    I think one thing that is missed by the crowd who really thinks Church & State should be merged is the harm that can, and will, be done *to* the Church *by* the State. Keep in mind that any one Church that becomes the “official State Religion” (should this nightmare ever come to pass) may not be YOUR church!

    Federal Aid means Federal Interference.

    The Faith-based Initiative provides Federal Funding for Faith-based groups doing various work around the country & world. I would assume, and *hope*, that these organizations are not allowed to discriminate against anyone willing to work for them or receive their services based upon religion (or any other protected status). That right there is interference in the Church’s goals. It wouldn’t (and couldn’t) happen, if they were not receiving federal dollars.

    Also, if I remember correctly, any tax-exempt organization is not allowed to promote any one candidate or party over another. My understanding on this is that they can have their tax-exempt status revoked for doing so.

    As such, why haven’t these Mega Churches and things like Pat Robertson’s organizations, who stump so hard for Bush and the Republicans, lost their tax-exempt status? They *should* so long as they are receiving federal moneys (including aid by being tax-exempt). I don’t want my tax dollars to pay for Robertson or Dobson or others to promote any political candidate or party – and I mean *any* (even Obama or the Dems).

    Finally, I think it’s completely okay for a candidate to have religious affiliations. I just think that religious doctrine does not belong in government. That does not mean that laws being proposed cannot be formed from a religious base of morality. Only that that particular religion has no place directly in the law.

    I don’t recall the quote – but didn’t Jesus say something like, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”? That is, there is Man’s Law (for us, the Constitution, Bill or Rights and laws we have created) and God’s Law – separate and distinct, but the former *can* (and will) be guided by the latter.

    My parents were of a mixed-marriage. 😉 My dad was Catholic and my mom is Lutheran. I was exposed to the Judeo-Christian ethic, as I believe most of us here probably were. It affects my ethics to this day, despite not being a person practicing any given religion presently.

    I believe, strongly, that no one knows the mind of God or God’s plans. Any who claim they have the corner on God’s Will is either a whacked-out lunatic or simply lying for personal power, prestige and control.

    I fear Sarah Palin’s (and any hard-core evangelist-type’s) religious attitudes being tied so strongly with her political acts for this reason alone. There are plenty of solid laws that have a basis in religion, but that does not mean I want the religion mandated to me.

    As an example, I’ll touch on one that may create a fire-storm, but it is the most common difference: abortion.

    I think abortions are not good things and would prefer they do not happen. All but the most whacked out pro-choice people feel this way. I don’t think anyone is jumping up *recommending* abortions.

    One exception may be in the case of the mother’s life being in danger – as in, “choose who lives, the mother or the baby.”

    However, it is not my place to tell someone else what they can or cannot do with their life or their unborn child. That is between them, their doctor and their God.

    Making a blanket law saying they are forbidden will not stop them from happening. Daughters of privilege will have access to them through private doctors. Daughters in poverty will die in back-alley attempts to have them.

    So, rather than attacking the symptom (abortion), perhaps attacking the cause would be a better approach? Perhaps if we understood the reasons people choose not to keep their unborn babies, we can work to prevent the need for one rather than getting to the point of whether they have one.

    Phew! Sorry for the long one here, but I really get my hackles up whenever there is a threat (or hint) of tying Church & State together. They belong distinct for the protection of *BOTH*.

  • Dreadsen

    All the Kennedy, Lincoln stuff is no where near in the same ball park as the soldiers in Iraq are doing a task from God and let is pray for that Oil pipe line.

    Or did you see when her Church pulled out the cardboard cut out of George Bush, then the lady started speaking in tounges and the kids started crawling up to him trying to touch him?

  • Realist_77

    Babs, you hit the nail right on the head when you said “(Atheists) …will not be happy until America has been stripped of her Christianity”. That is exactly when I will be happy. Then we can have leaders who make decisions based on logic and reason.

    Although I dont expect you will be able to see this, making decisions based on religious beliefs in todays world is extremely dangerous. World peace and ultimately our survival may depend upon us being able to evolve beyond this archaic way of thinking.

    I know I will probably ruffle a few feathers with these statements, but I have to listen to religious non-sense every day. Voices of reason cant wait any longer.

  • I’m more agnostic than atheist and don’t really care who worships what, when and why, so long as they keep it to themselves and out of politics.

    Realist_77 you seem the type of person who reads Richard Dawkins, if not then you should, he’s a very smart man who makes a lot of sense about the nonsense of religion.

  • IndiMinded

    Ah, using God to sell a gas pipeline to the public. Reminds me of the song “God Thinks” by the singer Voltaire

    “‘God is a Liberal’
    ‘God is a Democrat’
    ‘God wants you to vote Republican’

    Never trust a man
    who puts his words
    in the mouth of God
    and says they’re absolute truth
    — they’re lies and they smell like death

    Self righteous
    Judgemental
    First to throw the stone
    Using his name
    for your own agenda”

  • Babs

    Well, the last few comments are based on a misrepresented sound bite, so I won’t answer them.

    Realist_77, why in the world do you atheists believe that Christians do not use logic and reasoning. Not a very realist view, I must say. Rather elitist of you, in fact.

  • Jon

    What’s wrong with a Christian leader? Let’s look at this country’s history shall we. Of the 54 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 27 were pastors. This nation was formed by Christians! Thomas Jefferson, the man credited with instituting separation of church and state, endorsed the Bible as an essential textbook in schools and attended church in the House of Reps building where church services were held every Sunday! This really brings into question whether his writings were taken out of context to come up with this separation of church and state baloney! I could go on and on with how religion and politics were inseparable at the foundation of this country but space and time won’t allow it, but I would like to wrap with the statement that religion is essential in government in order to have true freedom and equal rights for all!

  • Realist_77

    Hi Babs, I am sure that Christians use logic quite frequently in their everyday lives. However, when it comes to your “faith” then by that very definition, you are saying you don’t need logic or reason in order to believe in something. You have never seen any physical evidence to justify your beliefs, but you maintain them anyway. Getting a person to throw logic out the window is a tricky task. That is why organized religions like Christianity and Islam start the indoctrination when children are very young. You must deeply ingrain these ideas before a person has developed a sense of rational thinking then reinforce these beliefs using fear and the constant threat of eternal damnation. They do such a good job that it was difficult for me to break out of this way of thinking when I was in my early 20’s.

    I find it funny that you think I have an elitist point of view. The tangible scientific evidence we have backs my point of view and generally contradicts yours. On the other hand, you believe that your faith is the one true faith and that everyone else is wrong. I can’t think of a more elitist point of view than that. Had you been born in India, Saudi Arabia, or Thailand you most likely wouldn’t even be a Christian. You would have been indoctrinated into their respective religious beliefs and you would probably be equally proud in your sense religious superiority (well maybe that isn’t fair to say about India or Thailand since they generally don’t practice proselytizing religions).

    All that aside, I still probably wouldn’t be so anti-religion if it wasn’t so destructive. The problem is that with religions like Christianity or Islam, many people practicing them believe simply don’t believe in the concept of “live and let live”. Instead they feel they must try to convert everyone or at a minimum subject everyone to their version of morality. That is why we have these ongoing wedge issues in the USA and so many voters who will eliminate an candidate entirely based solely on the candidates stance on one specific issue. Again, that’s not very logical.

    So to come back to your original question …“why in the world do you atheists believe that Christians do not use logic and reasoning”… it is not that I don’t think you ever use it, it is because I am afraid that you may not use it when it counts the most. For example, a evangelical leader may let the Christian prophecy of the end times in the middle east affect a foreign policy decision in the middle east. This can be seen in the unwavering evangelical support of Israel (which helps to shape our foreign policy). This policy runs counter to the national security interests of the USA (just to clarify before I get labeled anti-Semitic that I am not necessarily saying we shouldn’t support Israel. I am just saying it shouldn’t be done unconditionally based on Christian beliefs).

    Finally, let me be clear that I don’t say any of these things to insult you on a personal level Babs. I am sure you are a decent person and have the best of intentions. I just feel very strongly we would live in a much more peaceful world if religion where purged from it. I could name examples all day starting with 9-11.

  • IndiMinded

    Is the pipeline quote a misrepresented soundbite, Babs? So far as I’m aware, it’s accurate and no one’s mentioned that particular quote in this thread. It would be a relief if it were though, so please let me know if it has been.

    There’s been a great deal of smearing and misrepresentation so far as Gov. Palin is concerned. I’m just afraid that some of the more disturbing stuff seems like it could be true.

  • Dreadsen

    Well I don’t care if it’s religion or not.I’m on her side on this one. After looking at the Title of this book. I suspect that she did want it banned. She should have gone through the proper channels to do so though.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/13/author-of-book-palin-targ_n_126236.html

    Dad’s Roommate? I mean come on man do the kids need to learn at that early of an age about Male partners? That should be a book which someone chooses to buy to show their kids. Not in a public Library. Maybe a highschool library or something.
    I don’t think someone should be accused of being a Religious Fanatic for being against this book being in the children section. That would be abuse of power to just fire someone for not getting rid of the book. She could have made some noise in reference to this book and maybe through political pressure it would have been removed. I don’t see it hurting her politically in the state of Alaska even if it was motivated by religion.

    But you know diplomacy = appeasement and being weak so i guess that wouldn’t be an option.

  • Dreadsen

    “Well, the last few comments are based on a misrepresented sound bite, so I won’t answer them.”

    “2) I think while we ARE able to look at Palin’s beliefs more clearly than Obama’s here because we have her own testimony and leadership in her church, we cannot compare her to Wrightgate. I have yet to hear anything in any of your videos that damn America, accuse America of giving aids to blacks, and on and on. So I think Wright is off the table here.”

    So you want to stop using misrepresented soundbites of Rev. Wright as well?

  • Realist_77

    I have heard these arguments before Jon. The problem is they still aren’t true. Some of our founding fathers were Christians, but most of the prominent ones were Deists. Others even mocked religion (Ben Franklin for example). Had they wanted religion mixed with our government then to end all the speculation all they would have had to do is say so. In our founding articles, neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights mention the words, God, Jesus or Religion One Single Time EXCEPT for the first amendment which uses the word “Religion” in order to say “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. If they had wanted the two intermingled, doesn’t it seem a little odd that they forgot to mention it given the historical context under which these articles were written (1700’s). Leaving it out at that time would have been very radical and would have required consciousness.

    In 1796, our government went further than simply not mentioning it and verbally rejected the notion of us being a Christian nation in the “Treaty with Tripoli” saying in article 11…
    “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, – as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, – and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    Despite what’s mentioned above, some Christians manage to ignore facts and presume to know what the founding fathers were thinking even though they didn’t write it into our government articles.

    I would also beg to differ that religion in government grants true freedom. In the case of most of the wedge issues on the table the religious point of view is the one limiting our freedoms not expanding them.

  • Jon over 200 hundred years ago when the nation was being formed they looked towards the leaders of communities to help form a country and that nearly always was the Pastors. But what was relevent 200 hundred years ago, like the right to bare arms, isn’t relevent or necessary in this day and age.

    Dreadsen if you go to a library looking for that particular type of book then you have a pretty good idea already what goes on. Also doesn’t the the librarian check the books first before being signed out? At my library there’s an adult section specifically with adult themed books and kids can’t go near it.

  • The oil “soundbyte” is part of a full 8 minute speech she gave to the Master’s Commission, and I included the paragraph in transcription.

  • Babs

    Michael, I was referring to the creative editing of ABC, answers were reduced to misleading soundbites.

  • Spring_Morning

    All I can say is AMEN to Realist_77. Here is my take. I am an Atheist but I have nothing against ANY religion. All I ask is that I am left to live me life as I see fit. I am a good person, I do good things and am a very ethical person. We aethesist, agnostics, … are good people.

    What people don’t realize is that freedom of religion includes the freedom to have NO religion. I don’t stand on corners and proclaim that everyone else is going to some hell because they don’t belive as I do but I do believe that it’s the right of the person standing on the corner to proclaim it.

    I could care less who believes what in governement as long as they keep it out of their governance. By allowing religion to influence policy it forces that religion on those that do not share those beliefs. If you, as a religious person, do not believe in something that is allowed by law then don’t do it but there is no rational reason to not allow those of us who have no qualms about it to not have the right to choose to do it or not.

    Very simple example: I don’t like network television. I think most sitcoms and so called “reality tv” are insulting to anyone with average intelligence and so I choose not to watch them. Most days I don’t even turn on the television because the shows are ridiculus but I am not in anyway trying to keep anyone from watching what I consider to be
    dangerous television that is dumbing down America. Who am I to tell anyone what to watch and what not to watch?

    This is what most of us who do not hold to the religious right are trying to say. You can believe and do and say what you want- all we want is the same respect both from our government and from everyone else. Voting in anyone who allows their religious views to drive their political policies goes against everything that was written into the founding documents and beliefs of this country.

    Once elected to office it is the duty of the official to protect the rights of EVERYONE not just those of the majority. I am just as much a citizen of this country as the most devote Christian. I deserve to have my rights just as protected.

  • GreenFuzzyFern

    You know… I’ve been reading through all the replies, etc, and I just had to add a bit of something.

    There is supposed to be a separation of church and state. SEPARATION people. Doesn’t mean politicians can’t be religious, just don’t bring it to work.

    Also what came to mind, is the Declaration of Independence. Or a small portion of it:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by THEIR creator”

    The word their, being important. That doesn’t specify any one religion, or God, specifically. But instead encompasses the fact that we have a right to a freedom of religion. And that also means not forcing any one religion on others, hence the separation of church and state.