So why should ‘Orthodox Monk’ get mixed up with politics and, above all, with the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the
We avoid politics like the plague here but there are some issues of a spiritual nature in connection with Sarah Palin’s candidacy.
First of all, why is Sarah Palin important?
John McCain is 72 years old. He spent 5½ years in a POW camp in
They say that he has a 17% actuarial chance of dying in his first 4 years in office as President of the
When the survivors of
However, this model does not apply to McCain. However nasty his treatment in
But that means that a different dynamic comes into play. It is the case of having the **** beat out of you. It is the dynamic of someone who has suffered and thus lost years off his life. Hence, it may be that the actuarial tables, based as they are on the life expectancies of the general American population, are too generous to McCain as regards his own life expectancy.
Add to that the cancers. While McCain has allowed certain reporters, almost none of them medical doctors, to review his medical records for three hours without making photocopies, and is said to be in good health for someone of his age, with no sign of a recurrence of his cancers, surely the cancers cannot be ignored in assessing his life expectancy.
Finally there is the factor that McCain actually comes across as an old man. His famous gaffes suggest to us someone who is entering senility—someone who is starting to feel the intellectual consequences of age. We do not say this as a cheap shot. We really think that McCain’s gaffes are a sign of diminishing intellectual powers because of age.
Add to all this the fact that the Presidency of the
So it seems to us that in the circumstances it is not far-fetched to conceive the day that Sarah Palin is sworn in as President of the
So there will be a nice funeral. What then?
What prompted this post was the issue of Sarah Palin’s religious beliefs and how they might impinge on her possible presidency.
Now the conventional wisdom is that in politics one’s personal religious beliefs don’t matter because no one takes their religious beliefs seriously. On Sunday the President listens to a nice sermon on turning the other cheek and on Monday he gives instructions to the Director of Central Intelligence who to assassinate.
However, in Sarah Palin’s case, things are different. As far as we can make out, Sarah was originally Roman Catholic and baptized as such. She was then rebaptized at the age of ten in the Wasilla Assembly of God church. In other words, Sarah Palin is a born-again Pentecostalist. She really believes. She’s really committed. Some evidence of this can be seen in her early political career: she would like Creationism taught in schools; she really believes the earth is 5000 years old; she wanted a book presenting homosexuality in a positive light removed from the town library; she seems to think that the war in Iraq was ordained by God; she was prayed over by a Pentecostalist pastor from Africa before her election to the governorship of Alaska and attributed her election to that blessing or anointing.
We think that in this Governor Palin is far more a committed born-again Pentecostalist than George Bush ever was a committed born-again fundamentalist.
Now we, ‘Orthodox Monk’, might agree with some aspects of Sarah’s social positions but that is not the point. The point is how Sarah Palin’s religious beliefs are going to impinge on her management of public policy.
To begin with, let us look at something
Now this is a very delicate area, where many serious issues of public policy arise.
But that is not really our point.
Our point is to understand how Sarah Palin’s private religious beliefs are going to impinge on her possible conduct of the presidency—and to understand this before she gets into a position to become President of the United States of America.
One area which has us very uneasy is this. Sarah clearly comes out of a Pentecostalist setting: praying in tongues, prophecies, anointings, healings, castings out of demons and the like. She clearly believes although she is not above hiding her beliefs. As far as we can make out, however, she also seems to be associated with a strand of Pentecostalism that has certain specific beliefs about the end-times. In other words, she seems to belong to the Rapturist school. Now we have never studied this strand of Pentecostalism; it is not something that has interested us. However, we understand that it envisages an end-time nuclear war. Moreover, we believe that Sarah Palin is on record as saying that she believes that Christ’s Second Coming will happen in her life-time—which, we gather, would imply that that nuclear war would occur in her life-time. Moreover, she seems to have connections to a strand of fundamentalism that envisages certain secular leaders specially anointed by God to carry out God’s will, a strand of fundamentalism that organizes itself in tight political cells and seeks political influence, and a strand of Pentecostalism that envisages that believers can make Christ genuinely present on earth.
Sarah Palin would have her finger on the red button. If she has these sorts of beliefs and associations, it behoves us to find out. Now. The issue is whether we might find ourselves in a position where as President of the United States she felt she had a duty to help things out with the evolution of the Second Coming by participating in a nuclear war—as someone specially anointed by God to be President for just that reason.
It might be argued that it doesn’t matter—Sarah is just the politics of resentment: class resentment, gender resentment, even race resentment. Her advisors would restrain her.
We’re not so sure. The President of the
Never put someone unprepared in a position of authority and responsibility. You might find out that they take themselves seriously and intend to do what they understand to be their duty. And Sarah Palin is very ambitious. Unprepared. Self-confident.
Another aspect of Sarah which puzzles us, as it has on occasion with other fundamentalists, is her lack of candour and honesty both about her actions and about what she really believes. We will not rehearse the issues; they are easily available to anyone interested. We would just like to close with the following:
15. Beware of the false prophets who come to you in the clothing of sheep but are ferocious wolves within. 16. From their fruits you will know them. Or do people gather grapes from brambles or figs from thistles? 17. Thus every good tree produces good fruits but the rotten tree produces evil fruits. 18. The good tree is not able to produce evil fruits, neither the rotten tree to produce good fruits. 19. Every tree not producing good fruit is cut down and put into fire. 20. Therefore from their fruits you will know them. 21. Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens but he who does the will of my Father who is in the Heavens. 22. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and did we not cast out demons in your name and did we not do many signs in your name?’ 23. And then I will confess to them that ‘I never knew you; depart from me you who work iniquity.’ 24. Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and does them, I will compare him to the prudent man who constructed his house upon the rock. 25. And the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and fell upon that house, and it did not fall for it was founded on the rock. 26. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be compared to the foolish man who constructed his house upon the sand. And the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and struck against that house, and it fell, and its fall was great.
Matthew 7, 15 – 26.