Sarah Palin's Theocratic End Times - UPDATED
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 03:36:48 PM EST
I have never believed that the evangelical views of George W. Bush ran deep -- at least as far as relating interpretations of the Book of Revelation to American foreign policy is concerned. And although those who do believe such things were and are a part of the domestic political coalition of the willing, there is no evidence that they were anywhere near running the show, let alone running it towards a cataclysmic outcome. Indeed, Bush's senior military and foreign policy team, whatever else one may think of them, never included anyone with such views.

But more evidence has emerged in one day about Sarah Palin's views in this regard than in the entire career of George W. Bush. That said, the idea that Palin might rise to the presidency not only fairly raises the question of the way that her understanding of the Book of Revelation informs her views on foreign policy, but what kinds of people she would choose to carry out her views as Commander in Chief and as the director of American foriegn policy.

Let's examine the revelations from stories in the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, as they will likely inform much of our converation about Palin the days and weeks to come.

Let's begin with Gene Johnson's Associated Press story -- which is based based on a video of Palin speaking at the Wasilla Assemblies of God church in June 2008 (it has been removed from the church's web site).  

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a "task that is from God."

In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it "God's will."

Palin asked the students to pray for the troops in Iraq, and noted that her eldest son, Track, was expected to be deployed there.

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," she said. "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."

Palin told graduating students of the church's School of Ministry, "What I need to do is strike a deal with you guys." As they preached the love of Jesus throughout Alaska, she said, she'd work to implement God's will from the governor's office, including creating jobs by building a pipeline to bring North Slope natural gas to North American markets.

"God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that," she said.

And the Wall Street Journal reports

At the Pentecostal church where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin worshipped for more than two decades, congregants speak in tongues and are part of a faith that believes humanity is in its "end times" -- the days preceding a world-ending cataclysm bringing Christian redemption and the second coming of Jesus.

The Rev. Ed Kalnins, pastor of the Pentecostal church, Wasilla Assembly of God, says he has told church members that God put President George W. Bush in office and that America is locked in a "holy war" with terrorists.

This is the church she has attended since junior high school and where she and her family attended until 2002 (that is also the year her husband left the Alaksan Independence Party, state affiliate of the theocratic Constitution Party.)

The Journal's Suzanne Sataline asked the important question about the implications of Palin's apparent belief that we are living in biblically prophesized end times and her views that the president is acting out "God's plan" in Iraq and that the proposed gas pipeline is "God's will" and got an answer that should raise further questions:

David Gushee, a Christian ethicist at Mercer University in Atlanta, says he is troubled that a public official might presume that government action could be God's intent. "I would never think it is appropriate to describe the actions of the United States military or the strategies of our commanders as a plan from God," Mr. Gushee says.

Mr. Gushee says Gov. Palin should explain her beliefs concerning the inevitability of a cataclysm and the end of time. "To me, it is highly relevant to someone who potentially has her hand on the nuclear button," he says. "If that is her worldview, I would want to know about that."  

The Wasilla Assembly of God and its parent denomination -- the three-million member General Council of the Assemblies of God -- espouse core beliefs not widely ascribed to by major Christian factions. Many members pray in undecipherable sounds or "tongues." The denomination's Web site says some scholars believe that the "end times" foreshadowing the end of the world was confirmed in 1948, with the founding of the state of Israel, marking the Jews' return to the Holy Land, fulfilling a Biblical prophecy. The Assemblies of God is part of a Pentecostal movement that numbers 80 million people world-wide.

The Bible, Mr. Kalnins said in an interview, foretells world events. "I don't think it's God's will to have a war," he says. But in Iraq, America is fighting an enemy that has made it a war over beliefs, he said. "I really think it is a holy war. It's a war of gods. ... When someone fights in the name of God, that becomes a holy war."

Mr. Kalnins is an enthusiastic supporter of "Governor Sarah," as he calls her, and of President George W. Bush, who, he believes, was put in office by the hand of the divine. "I believe criticisms come from hell. God has placed this man in authority. ... You criticize the authority, you're literally bringing in hell with the criticism."

We add to this, the extreme views presented in the churches Palin currently attends -- the Wasilla Bible Church and when the legislature is in session, the Juneau Christian Center, as Bruce Wilson has documented in videos, and we get a more complete picture of Palin's choices in religious community and their worldview. (The AP has a further story running that begins to frame the discussion in terms of how the McCain campaign has tried to downplay, arguably cover up, Palin's Pentecostal background.) The context of Palin's views matters, and help us to understand what Palin's videotaped views mean.

In any case, the question of Palin's views about the end times, and ways and extent to which these inform her thoughts on America's role in the world and how she would conduct herself in office is more than fair game. They are necessary and urgent questions.

In light of Palin's having been vetted, as Max Blumenthal reported by the religious right leaders of the Council for National Policy; Palin's views regarding creationismm; her 100% prolife views (meaning no exceptions for rape and inccest and opposition to stem cell research) her efforts as governor to roll back advances in LGTB civil rights in Alaska; her efforts to censor public library books in Wasilla while she was mayor; as well as he claims that the war in Iraq is "God's plan" and that the proposed gas pipeline is "God's will" suggest that Sarah Palin is by far the most theocratic candidate ever to make it onto a major party ticket.

Update [2008-9-4 17:9:48 by Frederick Clarkson]: After writing this, I learned of Phil Munger of Progressive Alaska's personal annecdotes regarding Palin's beliefs:

In June 1997, both Palin and I had responsibilities at the graduation ceremony of a small group of Wasilla area home schoolers. I directed the Mat-Su College Community Band, which played music, and she gave the commencement address. It was held at her church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.

Palin had recently become Wasilla mayor, beating her earliest mentor, John Stein, the then-incumbent mayor. A large part of her campaign had been to enlist fundamentalist Christian groups, and invoke evangelical buzzwords into her talks and literature.

As the ceremony concluded, I bumped into her in a hall away from other people. I congratulated her on her victory, and took her aside to ask about her faith. Among other things, she declared that she was a young earth creationist, accepting both that the world was about 6,000-plus years old, and that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time.

I asked how she felt about the second coming and the end times. She responded that she fully believed that the signs of Jesus returning soon "during MY lifetime," were obvious. "I can see that, maybe you can't - but it guides me every day."

Our next discussion about religion was after she had switched to the less strict Wasilla Bible Church. She was speaking at, I was performing bugle, at a Veterans ceremony between Wasilla and Palmer. At this time, people were beginning to encourage her to run for Governor.

Once again, we found ourselves being able to talk privately. I reminded her of the earlier conversation, asking her if her views had changed. She was no longer "necessarily" a young earth creationist, she told me. But she strongly reiterated her belief that "The Lord is coming soon." I was trying to get her to tell me what she felt the signs were, when she had to move on.




Display:
Appealing and effective, Sarah Palin is deadly. She stole Obama's thunder last Friday, replacing that day's post-speech news bump with the announcement of her candidacy. In contrast, her speech last night dominates much of today's news. Hidden more deeply from public view, however, are the religious beliefs that drive her. Her sarcasm with a smile is devastatingly effective. Not backing down, she goes in for the kill. It is the quality of an adroit cult member (clean, nice looking, wholesome appearance, smart, with an ambition focused by perceived marching orders from god) that scares me the most: smiling, Sarah could gut you with a knife while saying that you will be better off because you are going to go to heaven when she's done. Doing you a favor, she implements her belief in god's plan for man. From Palin's persepctive, as against God's Will, the gutee's position can only be meaningless, irrelevant. Even though Obama's pastor has been big game, the media is unlikely to give equal treatment to Palin by confronting her with her religious beliefs. To forego exploration of Palin's religious pedigree is inappropriate. It would deprive the public of vital information regarding her values and decision-making process. Without providing the accurate context for Sarah Palin's smilingly relentless aggression, it is easy to mistake her plucky demeanor and smooth presentation as that of a champion instead of the western jihadist she appears to be. Palin may be a soldier of god, but with the devil's agenda. If that's the case, as with all unbelievers, god's champion will make us chumps.

by fordgreene on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:26:06 PM EST
I hope that you're mistaken about the media questioning Ms. Palin's religious fanaticism. We've seen that many moderate Christian groups have already spoken out about this, and I doubt the talking heads would be able to just ignore this. We'll see.

by trog69 on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:05:38 AM EST
Parent


It is already clear that the mainstream media has not ignored Palin's fanaticism. What I would like to see is a direct treatment of the implications of the belief that a chosen one can "rapture out" out of any hell that the consequences driven by a rapturee's earthly actions might wreak. If a rapturee gets to opt out of an horrible earthly scene, her motivations to preserve that scene would seem much less than those of those of us who remain. My hunch is that were Palin to be directly and persistently confronted with her beliefs (there are very few mainstream media persons who are willing and able to persistently confront anyone about anything), her sparkley presentation might start to crack a bit. It would be good to see what lies beneath that.

by fordgreene on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:29:23 PM EST
she has not been allowed to talk to the press at all...

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 03:27:48 PM EST
Parent
a rather startled obscenity!  So they are keeping people from asking her questions?  You only get to see what THEY want you to see???

Well, that fits right in with my (our?) experience of the groups that I call dominionist (I do tend to lump them together for a number of very good reasons- not the least that they tend to be VERY abusive).  It's also typical of politicians and top-level bureaucrats.

Then, it's up to us- all of us who fight dominionism- to get the message out.  Maybe in the meantime something will happen that will expose her to the world, in such a way that people would see the truth (that's my prayer!)

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 02:59:49 PM EST
Parent




Not in questioning her viability as a VP or as a person but in her theocratic views and how they relate to whether she will support the Constitution/Bill of Rights she will be sworn in to protect. So far if you violate your oaths, nothing happens to you. Soon the Bill of Rights will be a banned and burned memory among those of us who even know of its contents. We are in a bad state as our republic does a slow fall to a dictatorship of the ecclesiastical & corporate. The fact that they can control the media they own (90%) means they control the message to most of the people. I am worried they will steal this election too and then where will we be? Impeachment? Not from the infiltrated Democrats. Just a few of them like Kucinich stand up to them but it isn't enough. I wonder what can be done in these dire times? Suggestions?

by Nightgaunt on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:11:12 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Two Overlooked Indiana Outcomes that Could Haunt the Christian Right
I think there are two underreported features of the fallout from Indiana that we should make sure do not get lost in the hoo......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.Yet that's what......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Team Jeb Bush's Liaison to Religious Right Is Hardcore Culture Warrior
In 2008, Senator John McCain's campaign recognized that he needed to shore up his credentials with the Religious Right, which was skeptical about his......
By Bill Berkowitz (3 comments)
American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And `Biblical Law' In America
Every now and then, while scanning the day's news, I come across a headline that's hard to believe.Like this one: "California lawyer proposes ballot......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Will our Prisons Overflow with Christians this Summer?
Many leaders of the Christian Right, from megachurch pastors like Rick Warren to the top prelates in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)

Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (2 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (1 comment)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.