Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

God’s Will & The Alaska Pipeline offered me kind words for pointing out that when Palin’s religion came up in the ABC interview, Charlie Gibson was wrong and Sarah Palin was right.Good press watchdog that he is, Terry Mattingly has challenged ABC and AP to issue a correction. I agree. Terry, the driving force behind GetReligion, also challenged me to provide the evidence for my suggestion that there are other Palin faith-related issues that do put Palin on thin ice, if such a thing exists in Alaska.Fair question. The most troubling comment was her claim that it was God’s will that a natural gas pipeline get built. Let’s go to the videotape:Here’s the transcript:

“I can do my part in doing things like working really, really to get a natural gas pipeline. It’s about a $30 billion project that’s going tol create a lot of jobs for Alaskans and we’ll have a lot of energy flowing through there. And pray about that also. I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas pipeline built. So pray for that.”

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posted September 14, 2008 at 2:29 am

What is the point behind whether Palin asked people to pray for the gas pipeline? is very biased about Gov Palin as if she is Saint Palin. I find it very hypocritical when Christians demonize Senator Obama, while ignoring the many lies by Senator McCain and Gov Palin. Jesus called us to be above all the smear, spreading rumors, lies, and righteous judgment.

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posted September 14, 2008 at 6:20 am

You made the following point:
” It turns policy issues into religious conflicts. Such a politician may be impervious to reason, evidence or compromise. If God has blessed an idea — and told you so personally — what possible argument could dissuade you?”
However, one wonders if she really believes that or is just using it to gather support. Someone should ask her how she receives God’s instructions about public policy. I know you agree. Maybe they have and I missed it. She seems to qualify everything she’s ever said, so I’m having a hard time listening to her.
By the way, did you ever receive an answer from Terry?

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posted September 14, 2008 at 9:50 am

Getreligion is often encouraging people to ask hard questions and do more reporting when it is about issues the bloggers support, but remain silent on asking for better reporting when it involves issues they oppose. This is a great example. While trying to innoccclate Palin from any criticism on the alleged “Holy War” speech, they are silent on other more disturbing parts of her faith.
Since it now appears that analyzing sermons and prayers is a part of our political reportage, Palin’s faith life and churches are now fodder for reporting even if it does raise questions about Pentecostalism and Evangelicals and their core beliefs.

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posted September 14, 2008 at 10:37 am

I don’t think that God care whether a pipeline is built or not. Her final statement was that the way to make sure the pipeline was built was to “get right with God.” I’m not exactly sure what that means. If her definition of getting right with God is to accept Jesus as your savior. Then Jews and other non-Christians are by their mere existence in Alaska are preventing the pipeline from being completed.

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posted September 14, 2008 at 4:09 pm

GetReligion allows false comments about Obama and the comments are often off topic, but they remove comments that rebut the smear with facts.
I would love to see a religious website do an article about the professed religion of a candidate to obtain votes, but the candidate lies repeatedly.
Government officials should avoid mixing religion and politics, such as praying for a pipeline. They need to consider that not all US citizens are Christians and some US citizens do not believe in any God. Our country was not founded as a Christian nation. We were founded on freedom of religion, which includes no religion.

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posted September 15, 2008 at 10:45 am

What I would like to see is someone who measures public proclamations of faith against the way the person not only lives their life, but how their professed belief system is shown in their legislation. I am tired, oh so tired, of polticians claiming to be religious and to supporting the middle class/traditional family values only to find out that their record in no way resembles the lif of Christ of whatever values they are abusing to get votes.

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posted September 15, 2008 at 11:40 am

finally someone agrees with me that its troubling that she is saying its god’s will.
It would be especially troubling if she publicly said she really believed it rather than just pandering.

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Warren Cheswick

posted September 15, 2008 at 11:51 am

Sadly, I don’t have confidence in your average American to think critically about the bible, which is what it would take for someone to try to hold conservative, overtly religious politicians to the standard found in scripture. I think there are many, many conservative Christians in our land who think that reversing Roe v. Wade and preventing legalized gay marriage are the two most important issues facing our nation. I don’t know why they don’t believe this, since the bible has at least as much to say about lying, religious hypocrisy, fraud, and pride than it does about sexual sins. The best way I can explain this is that they have been told this by their religious leaders or conservative politicos like Rush Limbaugh, because if they really pored over scripture with a critical mind, I don’t see how they can miss this truth. So these people hear politicians mouth platitudes about being “pro-family” or “pro-life” and they see videos of the candidates up in front of a church congregation, talking about God’s will for this and praying to Jesus for that, and they are suckered in without a second thought. I can’t tell you how many of my conservative friends from day one proclaimed an unfathomable respect and devotion to Sarah Palin, despite all her problems with credibility, including corruption, lying, flip-flopping, treating others in an un-Christian-like manner, and mocking her opponent. How can they be so sure that she’s the next coming of Ronald Reagan? She loves God and hates abortion. That’s all they have to hear.
To me, the greatest problem with Evangelical Christianity in America is that churches (some openly, but most subtly) frown upon critical thinking, and there is a pervasive anti-intellectualism that exerts a powerful pressure on individuals to let the Church do their thinking for them. A university degree doesn’t even necessarily mean that an individual will be taught to think critically about all things – including scripture, as many conservative Christian colleges and universities are doing little more than indoctrinating their students into the party line. Why is it that precious few Evangelical universities hire faculty from a variety of faiths (or non-faiths) – but instead create homogenized faculties where no one is really allowed to contradict the stated doctrines of the institution. In my book, that’s not really education.
So all that to say, I don’t have a lot of hope for this changing any time soon.

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Warren Cheswick

posted September 15, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I’ll give you an example of the kind of unfathomable thinking that I have seen again and again down here in Texas. We have a friend who has lost her house because of unscrupulous bankers who have been allowed to ruin people at will because of lax government during these years of Republican-controlled everything. She struggles to provide for her family with rising food and fuel prices, and she has no insurance, nor would be able to afford to buy any. Her son is over in Iraq now because that was his only shot at going to college (they can’t afford it), and they have already had to file for bankruptcy. They are just praying that the son makes it through his tour and gets home in one piece.
Every aspect of their lives has been affected by Republican run government, and none for the better. Yet, when asked who she will vote for in November, she undoubtedly says, “McCain.” Why? “Well, Sarah Palin just seems like a really down-to-earth person, and she really wants to bring her deep faith into her politics – we need that in our government leaders – and she wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, which needs to happen.”
So what do you do about that? Nothing. Nothing can be done about that. And this scenario – I promise you – is not only 100% true, but I bet that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans in this same exact boat who will keep voting Republican even though the Republicans are directly responsible for running their lives into the ground.

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