Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sinking Sarah

Governor Sarah Palin has endured a couple of rough weeks in the mainstream media. After a bold and successful start at the Republican Convention the forty-something mother of five started swimming in the deep end of the pool. Alaska was the shallow end of the political pool. The Vice Presidency is definitely the deep end for Governor Palin.

Senator McCain's polling numbers appear to be tracking with Palin's radioactive relationship with the media, though the failing economy surely has much to do with Senator Obama's rise in the polls.

According to conservative commentator Bill Sammon, she has appeared fearful a couple of times. He observed that she presented that "deer in the headlights" look in a couple interviews recently. Tomorrow night could make or break the evangelical-Christian-first-woman-Governor-of-Alaska for this election. She is being compared to Dan Quayle whose political future was destroyed by the liberal media, even though he was a very capable man.

Some of her supporters are comparing her to other politicians who they say couldn't do it either. They think Governor Palin should be cut some slack. That isn't going to happen.

Hugh Hewitt observed that liberals in the media are subjecting Governor Palin to "pop quizzes designed to embarrass" her. He asked the Governor what she thought about that and she said she welcomed the "quizzing" allowing that she is doing some learning as she goes. I was impressed with her answer. Here it is:
Well, I have a degree in journalism also, so it surprises me that so much has changed since I received my education in journalistic ethics all those years ago. But I’m not going to pick a fight with those who buy ink by the barrelful. I’m going to take those shots and those pop quizzes and just say that’s okay, those are good testing grounds. And they can continue on in that mode. That’s good. That makes somebody work even harder. It makes somebody be even clearer and more articulate in their positions. So really I don’t fight it. I invite it.
Tonight she has to find a way to appear knowledgeable about matters that she may not be completely knowledgeable about. She is new to this level of politics. She is not, however, new to politics.

During the Hewitt interview she was asked about her religion. Hewitt asked her if she thought the mainstream media understood her religious faith. She replied:
I think that there’s a lot of mocking of my personal faith, and my personal faith is very, very simple. I don’t belong to any church. I do have a strong belief in God, and I believe that I’m a heck of a lot better off putting my life in God’s hands, and saying hey, you know, guide me. What else do we have but guidance that we would seek from a Creator? That’s about as simple as it gets with my faith, and I think that there is a lot of mocking of that. And you know, so be it, though I do have respect for those who have differing views than I do on faith, on religion. I’m not going to mock them, and I would hope that they would kind of I guess give me the same courtesy through this of not mocking a person’s faith, but maybe perhaps even trying to understand a little bit of it.
I was a bit surprised to learn that she doesn't "belong to any church." I can see how this distances her from the public criticisms leveled at her about her pentecostal past. Simplistically, these critiques of pentecostalism resonate with some people in the public.

My view is that religion and life are wonderful, especially when they are fantastic. Hollywood shouldn't be the only institution capable of encouraging wonder. I prefer God's imagination to fiction and computer graphics.

I was raised in the United Methodist Church. I deepened my commitment to Jesus Christ in the pentecostal church. I respect those who find strength, peace and joy in that church, and I thank God for the maturity I have gained by pondering the theological reasoning of many pentecostal friends over the years. I am a member of our local Nazarene Church now.

Here's a possible response I thought about today to the above question:
Hugh, I welcome the critiques, parodies and misunderstandings of my religion. Some of it is hilarious. However, we should go beyond the mocking, parody and fun. Everyone knows that religion has a serious side. I receive comfort, guidance and strength from Jesus Christ. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide enjoy the same relationship. They occupy vocations of all types. In America we don't discriminate against Christianity, or any other religion. As Vice President I look forward to learning about, and respecting, everyone's legal spiritual beliefs and practices, even as I live out my own Christianity.
I'm praying for Governor Palin and her family. I'm also praying for Senator Biden and his family. I'll watch the debate tonight in hopes of finding reason to believe the United States of America is going to turn the corner and head in a more positive direction.

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