By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

More on Palin’s religious views

Steve Waldman of Beliefnet, who’s far more learned and sensible on the subject of religion than I am, takes a close look at Sarah Palin’s religious pronouncements and places a few of them in the “scary” category.

In particular, Waldman singles out Palin’s request that people pray that a natural-gas pipeline would be built. “Saying a particular public policy is God’s will is far over the line, considerably beyond anything that George W. Bush ever said,” Waldman writes. “It means the advocate is impervious to argument, and critics are going against God’s will.” No kidding.

My earlier post on the subject.

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  1. Jordan

    I wish some other religiously-minded people would publicly offer a countervailing approach to trying to follow divine guidance, so that the Palin-style approach can be put in a broader context and be seen for what it is. This might be effective in a different way from the way criticism of Palin from a secular point of view is.

  2. Doug Shugarts

    Jordan -“Head and Heart,” by Garry Wills, is an excellent read for believers and non-believers alike. I thought his argument for the separation of church and state and his discussion of Madison and disestablishment were outstanding.Doug Shugarts

  3. O-FISH-L

    If Dan Kennedy in Peabody immediately noticed Obama was tone-deaf, why was the campaign shameless in pointing it out? Are you shameless too Dan, in rushing to point out this Obama disaster? Obviously Obama was referring to Palin, given her recently oft repeated remarks that hockey moms are “Pitbulls with LMcCainipstick.” Dan, I notice when you post something negative on Obama, in this case “Tone-deaf Obama” you almost immediately post something of little significance right after, to steal the top o’ the morning headline. In this case pedestrian notes under the heading “More on Palin’s Religious Views”. Do you think you’re fooling anyone? You allowed Obama’s grave mistake “Lipstick on a Pig” to wallow at the top of the site for a mere 11 minutes, before resorting back to nonsense on Palin. FWIW, both CNN and CBS have debunked most, if not all of your “gotchas” on Palin thus far. I’m writing this at 11:59 on Tuesday night and predict Obama will have apologized within 12 hours. Obama’s “lipstick” comments are not only offensive to all women, they provide fodder for those who believe Obama’s Indonesian school records are accurate. Pigs are considered a dirty and unwanted animal in the Muslim tradition, so to equate Gov. Palin with one will only serve to draw further attention to Obama’s comments about “my Muslim faith” made on Sunday and the contents of his elementary folder in Indonesia. Don’t blame the Republicans on this one Dan. Obama brought it all on himself

  4. Jordan

    I’m looking for us voters to get out from the limitations in which issues are currently framed in political discourse — I think the positions and arguments don’t lead us anywhere helpful — it seems to me the same dance is being re-played over and over again with different people, but the same call-and-response (between liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, the religious and the secular), the same patterns, the same circle of movement — we aren’t making progress this way.

  5. mike_b1

    O-Fish: How’s that federal budget coming along? What do you say, another $400B for Iraq this month?The hell with our roads and bridges and schools! More of the same!”No one ever learned nothing in no school.” — George W. Bush

  6. Jordan

    Doug Shugarts,I meant to thank you for the Wills’ book suggestion (which I will pursue). Do you know of a similar treatment of religion,etc. on a global scale?

  7. Tunder

    Hey o-fish:Last I checked, blogs represented the views of the blogger. I don’t think Dan is out to fool anyone with this blog. By the way, when McCain used the same expression referring to Hillary Clinton’s health plan, nary a word from anyone about it being offensive. However, you probably let the world know that Senator McCain was wrong to use it though…

  8. Peter Porcupine

    DK – excellent article. But to me, there is a question of context.For example, I myself have preached from a pulpit (as an ordained lay speaker) for financial support of a new housing initiative to help people with first-last-security as an offshoot of our ‘Overnight Hospitality’ program where we take in mothers with children and allow them to use church facilites instead of the regular shelter. At the time, I had a job with some relationship to affordable housing. If I had made such a pitch in the name of Christian kindness from behind my desk, it would hav been grossly inappropriate. But at my church to fellow parishoners? Asking God to bless and advance a secular program or cause is not necessarily ‘scary’.

  9. Rick

    Gov.Palin has certainly gotten under your skin for some reason Dan.I have never seen such apoplecticpostings on your blog.

  10. Peter Porcupine

    Rick – ask DK what he thinks about casinos! :~)I think the commenters are far more unhinged than the poster – of course, as commenters, we must bear a share of the burden….

  11. mike_b1

    Unhinged wouldn’t be the word I would use. Shocked and dismayed that so-called Republicans are so quick to abandon what few principles they lay claim to in their typical “win-at-all-costs” grab at the presidency, and that the GOP apologists on this board appear completely ignorant of the events of the past eight years.

  12. Steve

    Rick – Dan has certainly gotten under your skin for some reason. I have never seen someone so unaware of what the word “apoplectic” means.

  13. Steve

    PP – last week my Rabbi (and every Rabbi, afaik) preached a sermon on Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 (the portion known as “Shoftim”) which begins “Appoint yourselves judges and police for your tribes in all your settlements that God your Lord is giving you, and make sure that they administer honest judgment for the people.” An appropriate portion for this season. In the course of this sermon, he commented on the disputes between the house of Hillel and the house of Shammai, two rabbinical schools with different views about the strictness of the laws (among many other things).He prefaced his remarks with the admonition that he was not advocating ex cathedra (so to speak) for one candidate or another, or one political party or another, “so as not to jeopardize our tax-exempt status”.Since you might be in a position to know, I was wondering what the limits of this are? If, from the pulpit, you advocate for a particular vote on a referendum, are you crossing the line? If you question whether supporters of a particular candidate will be accepted into heaven, have you crossed a line there?

  14. Doug Shugarts

    Hmmmm….I wonder what Monica Goodling is up to these days, since the DOJ released the findings (pdf) of its investigation of Goodling and her former Justice Department colleagues in July.Two brief excerpts, the first detailing information about a prospective candidate for the Civil Rights division of the United States Attorney’s Office which Goodling thought relevant:“The handwritten notes Goodling took during this interviewcontained the following phrases: “pro-God in public life,” and “pro-marriage, anti-civil union.” “A second quote, from the conclusions of the report:“In sum, the evidence showed that Sampson, Williams, and Goodling violated federal law and Department policy, and Sampson and Goodling committed misconduct, by considering political and ideological affiliations in soliciting and selecting IJs, which are career positions protected by the civil service laws.”Stay tuned for more of the same from Palin et al if McCain wins this fall.Doug Shugarts

  15. Peter Porcupine

    Steve – I have no clue, as a goyim, what would be acceptable in Shabbas. However, my gut reaction to your questions -If, from the pulpit, you advocate for a particular vote on a referendum, are you crossing the line? I would say Yes. Voting belongs to Caesar – and should be practiced – but to embroil the Almighty in a Prop. 2 1/2 override, for example, is too specific. Advocating for your schools – OK. Specific vote – No.If you question whether supporters of a particular candidate will be accepted into heaven, have you crossed a line there?I have a single line which disposes of so many of these questions – “As you judge, so also will you be judged.” Nobody knows the day or the hour, as it were, and to claim you do is actually blasphemous, IMHO.

  16. MeTheSheeple

    In broad response to Doug, I’d suggest Iraq be looked upon as a dangerous example of when ideology trumps competence. This is exactly the kind of stuff we need to be fearful of — regardless of what a specific ideology is.Take a look at this transcript of a Frontline episode, “the lost year in iraq”, and search for the word “micromanagement.” Start reading.THOMAS E. RICKS: It was this children’s crusade, especially of former Republican campaign workers, White House interns, Heritage Foundation people.NARRATOR: They were vetted by the White House liaison to the Pentagon.RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN: The hiring process involved questions that would have landed a private sector employer in jail. They asked people what their views on Roe versus Wade were, whether they believed in capital punishment. A man of Middle Eastern descent was asked whether he was Muslim or Christian. People were asked who they voted for for president.Amb. JAMES DOBBINS, Fmr. Asst. Secretary of State: The CPA operation became an exercise in heroic amateurism, in which hundreds of dedicated, courageous Americans went and filled positions for which they had not the slightest preparation.NARRATOR: At the Ministry of Interior, there was a new staff person handling planning for the prisons and police.Col. THOMAS X. HAMMES (Ret.), Counterinsurgency Adviser, CPA: The plans counterpart, who I had to work with in the Ministry of Interior, was a 25-year old. It was his first job after college. So I asked him- I said, “That’s pretty interesting. How big a plan cell do you have?” He said, “I have four guys.” I said, “That’s pretty small.” He said, “Yes, but we’re really tight because we’re frat brothers.” I never in my life thought I would encounter “frat brothers” and “strategic planners” in the same sentence.

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