So much has been written about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin that she’ll be a celebrity for many years, whether she gets elected or not. Two months ago, the number of people outside of Alaska who even knew who Palin was could fit on the island at the end of her famous “bridge to nowhere.” Now she’s the one who’s famous, though with fame comes scrutiny, and her luster seems to be fading.
Many have commented on Palin’s appeal to the Christian right, which is substantial. Lots of conservative Christians who were very lukewarm to John McCain (but would have held their nose and voted for him anyway) have been energized by his choice of Palin, whom they see as a savior of sorts, a living example (mostly) of values they hold dear.
One thing many folks have overlooked is that Palin’s Christian faith appears to be thoroughly Pentecostal, a belief system that puts a lot of stock in modern-day prophecy and Spirit-led leadership. While her pastor has been quoted as saying some rather outrageous things, I didn’t think it was fair to judge Barack Obama on the basis of statements his former pastor made, so I wouldn’t criticize Palin for things that her pastor has said.
What Palin has said with her own lipsticked lips are quite sufficient cause for concern. Palin once told her church in Wasilla that the U.S. war against Iraq is God’s plan, and asked them to pray that the plan would be fulfilled.
In the same speech, she also described a proposed new natural gas pipeline as God’s will for Alaska, and asked them to pray for that.
I worry about anyone who paints every important issue in colors of “God’s will” or “not God’s will” — especially someone who could potentially have her finger on the trigger of a nuclear arsenal.
J. Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma magazine, has declared in a recent article entitled “Sarah Palin and the Deborah Anointing” that he considers Palin to be “a prophecy to America” and a role model who wears the anointing of Deborah, an Old Testament leader “who rallied God’s people to victory at a time when ancient Israel was being terrorized by foreign invaders.”
I’m a big fan of Deborah, too, and wish more people would recognize that she was a spiritual as well as military and political leader, an inspired woman who didn’t let her gender get in the way of following God’s leadership for her life. Grady is a strong proponent of women in ministry, for which I am grateful. With Palin, however, he seems most excited about what he perceives as her Deborah-esque warrior credentials: “Sometimes it takes a true mother to rally the troops,” he wrote. “I hope that Palin, a woman who believes in prayer and is filled with the Holy Ghost, will take her hockey stick and smash the glass ceiling in American politics once and for all.”
It’s way to early for anyone to anoint Sarah Palin as a new Deborah. I doubt Deborah achieved her place of influence by distorting her own record and insulting her opponents, a mainstay of Palin’s stump speeches, and I’m quite sure a hockey stick was not involved.
Pentecostal or not, people who rise to anoint modern day prophets make me about as nervous as politicians who insist their favored bills are God’s will.