Good Lord. Another ‘gate’. Just talked to one of our local progressive radio talk show hosts (yes, we have them in Alaska!) and she said her head is spinning. Mine is too. No one knows where to turn. Keeping up with the tidal wave of what’s hitting the fan in Alaska is fast becoming a full-time job. It feels like that old-time video game “Centipede”. It’s easy at first to blast those little centipedes as they work their way down the screen, but the longer you play the faster they come and bigger they get, and the more you have to work to keep them in check.
There’s fundraising for indicted senator Ted Stevens’ 547, not actually knowing “what the VP does all day”, her affiliation with the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, earmarks after earmarks for her small town projects, zero international experience, Troopergate, Babygate, Dairygate, Bridgegate, Toddgate, and now…..Churchgate.
I’ve picked this particular centipede today, (shall we call it the Jesus-pede?) because this is something that crosses the line between a candidate who is unqualified, and a candidate that is not using the same play book as most of the rest of us.
I did a drive-by of Palin’s church when I was traveling through Wasilla yesterday, not realizing the furor that would be churning the blogosphere less than 24-hours later about a speech Palin delivered there only three months ago. Here’s what she said regarding the war in Iraq.
“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.”
Let that sink in a minute. A task that is from God. Sarah’s war is a holy war. It’s not, apparently from the God that says “turn the other cheek” or “I am my brother’s keeper” or “the greatest of all these is love”. It’s not about diplomacy, international relations, figuring out why we are so despised in the Middle East, keeping Israel secure, revamping how the U.S. deals with its unsustainable dependence on foreign oil, combating poverty and desperation that leads young men to terrorism. Nope. This war is God’s will. It’s God’s holy war. She went on:
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.
So the plan is to pray for a plan? Perhaps it would have been better to pray for a plan beFORE we went to Iraq. Better still to sit down and create a plan – a thoughtful, intelligent, human-type plan.
Knowing that Palin has only been out of the country once, in 2007, to visit the Alaska Guard in Kuwait, we rightfully wonder what might influence her international policy. How will her decisions be made? What is her style of governance? Well, folks, this might just be it. Pray for a plan and hope it’s the right one.
Beyond that one speech she made in June, what else do we know about Palin’s church? Good question. Anchroage residents, who comprise the vast majority of the population in this region of Alaska, know that Wasilla is the heart of Alaska’s Valley Bible Belt. This is evidenced by the dozens and dozens of roadside churches, the Christian schools and bookstores, and how many people are wearing crosses in the local supermarket. But I, and most others I know really don’t know much more than that. But, the press, bloggers, and curious citizens are now McCain’s post-facto vetting team, and they are opening can after can of worms.
Let’s break the vacuum seal on that latest can, shall we? (giant sucking sound, behold worms) This is from Ed Kalnins, the senior pastor of Wasilla Assembly of God. Palin attended here for most of her adult life, until her new affiliation with a similar church in the state’s capitol, Juneau:
What you see in a terrorist — that’s called the invisible enemy. There has always been an invisible enemy. What you see in Iraq, basically, is a manifestation of what’s going on in this unseen world called the spirit world. … We need to think like Jesus thinks. We are in a time and a season of war, and we need to think like that. We need to develop that instinct. We need to develop as believers the instinct that we are at war, and that war is contending for your faith. … Jesus called us to die. You’re worried about getting hurt? He’s called us to die. Listen, you know we can’t even follow him unless you are willing to give up your life. … I believe that Jesus himself operated from that position of war mode. Everyone say “war mode.” Now you say, wait a minute Ed, he’s like the good shepherd, he’s loving all the time and he’s kind all the time. Oh yes he is — but I also believe that he had a part of his thoughts that knew that he was in a war.
How will the Republican party and the pundits handle Palin’s “Reverend Wright Moment”? Did McCain vet her on matters of her religious ties, knowing how devastating the impact of his church selection turned out to be for Obama? You’d think. But maybe McCain knew all along, and thought it was no big deal. Which scenario is more sobering? And how do non-Christians in the rest of the country and in Alaska feel about the “end times” philosophy of this church?
Is this one more step toward the End Times of the McCain-Palin ticket? Let us pray.