Palin on the Political Prowl

July 3, 2009

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is walking away from her job and into what will likely be the Mother of All Presidential races in 2012.

The New York Times reports:

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska announced Thursday that she would step down by the end of the month and not seek a second term as governor, allowing her to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

“We know we can effect positive change outside of government,” she said in making the announcement.

Palin hinted earlier she may seek a U.S. Senate seat.

In case you forgot, Palin accepted the blessing of Pastor Thomas Muthee, who asked Jesus to fund her political campaigns, and protect her from witchcraft. And she went along with up. Let’s bring up that classic video.

And let’s not forget her answers to Katie Couric in a Sept. 2008 interview:

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We– we do– it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

About her taste in periodicals:

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where, it’s kind of suggested and it seems like, ‘Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C. may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska?’ Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote in 2008:

Pentecostals are “gifted” people. Besides speaking in tongues, they also practice other “gifts of the spirit” (charismata) described in the New Testament, such as “interpretation” of tongues, prophecy, faith healing (”The prayer of faith will save the sick,” James 5:15), miracle working, and discernment of “evil spirits.” I saw some “casting out of spirits” (exorcisms) in that church. The Assemblies of God practice a direct worship, often with tears and raised hands, in intimate “spiritual” (emotional) connection with the creator of the universe. They are in love with Jesus and think he has a special love for them.

Most pentecostals are fundamentalists, believing that the bible is perfect and true, the only source of truth. I did not know a single Assembly of God believer who was not a young-earth creationist who believes dinosaurs roamed this planet a few thousand years ago. They believe in the non-metaphorical existence of demons and Satan (who, according to the book of Revelation, is a seven-headed dragon) who are roaming the earth luring vulnerable souls into evil. They believe in a historical talking snake and donkey, and in the existence of witches, wizards, and evil creatures that can infect not only an unlucky individual but an entire geographical region, which must be purged by prayer.

… They believe in an approaching Armageddon, a fiery end to the world, which they will escape in the Rapture. And that is what makes them so dangerous. They don’t really care about this world. They don’t want peace on earth — they want the violent biblical prophecies to be fulfilled so that they can get to heaven and be rewarded with eternal life. They want to say, “We told you so!” One of the pastors at Sarah Palin’s church announces that “the storm clouds are gathering.” Another of her Assembly of God pastors reports that “Sarah is a great woman. A religious woman.”

When Sarah Palin told her Assembly of God church earlier this year that the war in Iraq is “a task from God,” she was not speaking allegorically. As a pentecostal fundamentalist, she has to believe, as I used to preach, that we are indeed living in the end times. This is no harmless delusion. In America there is “no religious test,” and anyone can run for high office, as an individual, but that doesn’t mean we must not fear religious zealots exercising control. Although the First Amendment guarantees private citizens the “freedom of assembly,” the establishment clause requires that the government should be free from the Assembly of God.

Hat tip to Hemant Mehta

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Burkha Brouhaha

July 1, 2009

Several European leaders are apparently looking to fight oppression with oppression.

Last week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned the wearing of burkhas — headgear worn (sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not) by Muslim women.  He said burkhas “will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic” and members of France’s parliament are considering whether or not a ban would be appropriate.

In Great Britain, a member of parliament echoed Sarkozy’s sentiment saying of burkha wearing,  “it does not belong in 21st century Britain.” but seemed to stop short of calling for a ban.

It’s obvious that thousands of women the world over are forced to wear head coverings in the name of Islam and, yes, the practice is seen as ridiculous for those of us who don’t believe there is a sky god running a heavenly version of “What Not to Wear.” But secular prohibitions are no better than religious dogma in this case and this seems like a clear attack on the freedom of those women who wish to wear burkhas as a religious expression.  Our focus as a society ought to be on ostracizing those governments that force religious practice into the secular arena like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and, yes, sometimes the United States.  How about putting Le Fashion Gendarmes on the back-burner and go after the source of the problem — religious zealots who violate their fellow humans’ rights.