Friday, September 12, 2008

Fearing faith

Ralph Peters comments on the left's reaction to Sarah Palin:

NOTHING in recent memory has driven home the divide between our self-appointed aristocracy and "commoners" as sharply as the intelligentsia's rush to mock Gov. Sarah Palin's religious faith.

While the attacks and insults are backfiring on the mortified elites, the double standard applied to "Sarah America" is a disgrace that can't be excused as "just politics."

Certainly, much of the left-wing fury over Palin stems from the Democratic Party's assumption that it "owned" the exclusive right to nominate women to the executive branch (despite the crushing of Hillary Clinton's candidacy). How dare the Republicans advance a woman? How dare they change this year's election script?

But the root of the left's dread of this happily married mother of five seems to be that she actually believes in God: How could anyone be that stupid?

Such a woman wouldn't fit in Washington (nor would a man of equal faith). In the DC area (where I live), plenty of government-affiliated men and women regularly attend a church or synagogue. But their appearances are perfunctory and well-mannered. Passionate faith is regarded as an embarrassment.

Washington fears faith - even nominal believers inside the Beltway have been shaped by secular educations and secular caste values.

Humans fear what they can't understand, and our comfortable ruling class just can't comprehend the power and the glory, the beauty and the ecstasy, the awe and commitment experienced by those who believe in a divine power. To paraphrase the late Leona Helmsley, "Faith is for the little people."

Believers are mocked (if not too publicly at election time). Sen. Barack Obama's behind-closed-doors remark in San Francisco to the effect that worried blue-collar chumps cling to God and guns perfectly captured the left's worldview, equating faith and firearms as equal menaces to an enlightened society.

Then along came Palin to appall the establishment - a moose-hunting Christian with a working-class husband, the precise stereotype Obama had mocked. The media's attacks on her since her nomination have been the most unfair I've ever seen.

[. . .]

Earlier this week, I watched, sickened, as CNN did its best to excite fear of Palin's religious beliefs. She grew up in a Pentecostal congregation - whose members, a smug reporter told us, often talk in tongues. Though the report noted that there's no "proof" that Palin herself had done so, the implication was that Sarah Barracuda must be a nut job.

Then CNN told us about an Alaskan pastor's remark that his state might become a refuge in the "end times." The implication was that Palin must share that belief, too.

The coverage just piled on, unjust, unfair and un-American. The unspoken bottom line was that active religious faith disqualifies a candidate.

Well, for all the joyous noise at those Alaskan churches, I'll bet my life that none of the pastors who preached to Palin over the years ever shouted "God damn America!" or blamed the United States for the world's ills, or accused our government of creating AIDS to kill black Americans.

None of the bigoted, hate-filled rants of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright have been replayed to counterbalance the mockery heaped upon Palin's religious background. Of course, Wright's anti-American tirades fit the worldview of the Dems' left-wing base - so Obama got a pass when he claimed that, over 20 years, he never heard any hate speech in Wright's church.

Besides, Dems believe that blacks are supposed to jump around and shout in church - but whites who do that are wackos. (No stereotypes there, folks!)

There is no question that sincere religious faith frightens the left, especially if it is a Christian faith grounded firmly in the Bible.

Notice however that the distaste for biblical Christianity extends even to some of Palin's defenders. Mr. Peters tells us that an Alaskan pastor thinks that Alaska might be a place of relative safety for people fleeing the catastrophic events predicted in the Book of Revelation. But, he assures us, there is no proof that Governor Palin believes that.

I have the same question for Ralph Peters as I have for Camille Paglia. Do you believe that every church goer in America is a hypocrite?

We are assured by Barack Obama's defenders that even though he faithfully attended a church for almost 20 years which explicitly subscribes to the doctrines of Black Liberation Theology (Jeremiah Wright's belief that AIDS was created by the CIA to kill black people and his "God Damn America" are well within the mainstream of Black Liberation Theology) and yet had no idea that his church taught such things.

We must believe one of three things about Barack Obama. One is that he really didn't know what theological foundation his church was built upon. This makes him impenetrably dense to his surroundings. Surely this does not recommend him for the office of President of the United States. We could believe that Barack Obama is a massive hypocrite who sat in a church for nearly two decades without believing a word of what it taught. And that he allowed his daughters to attend that church and to have their heads filled with its teachings, while believing those teachings to be factually false and morally wrong. Or we could believe that Barack Obama joined that church because he liked what it taught, stayed in it because he continued to agree with it and only left it when it became politically necessary to do so.

In the case of Governor Palin her religious tradition holds that those biblical prophecies which have yet to be fulfilled will come to pass in just as literal a fashion as those prophecies which have already been fulfilled. This is a belief which has been held by persons as diverse as Isaac Newton and Billy Graham. It is a doctrine believed by America's largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists.

Why should anyone, even someone who does not share Mrs. Palin's religious faith, find it necessary for Mrs. Palin to disavow that faith in order to consider her qualified to hold public office?

I will end here by pointing out that to her great credit Mrs. Palin has not thrown her faith under the bus. This is yet another area where she is demonstrated to be superior than Barack Obama, personal integrity. I hope she keeps it up.