Thursday, October 9, 2008

palin's pentecostal problem

From Amy Sullivan in Time magazine:
If conservative columnist William Kristol is to be believed, Sarah Palin is surprised that her own campaign hasn't made a bigger deal out of the controversial remarks of Barack Obama's former pastor. The relationship between Obama and Jeremiah Wright is, according to Palin, fair game in the presidential campaign because it goes to the question of the Democratic candidate's character. "I don't know why that association isn't discussed more," Kristol, writing in the New York Times, quoted Palin as telling him.

McCain campaign aides could probably answer that question for Palin. The ink on Kristol's column had barely dried before they were on the phone to political reporters declaring that the GOP nominee had long believed it would be inappropriate to raise the Wright issue. But McCain's current sensitivity is much more related to his running mate's own pastor problems than to any newfound campaign honor code.

Palin's religious background initially was surely seen as a positive by McCain campaign vetters, who assumed that her faith would appeal to the conservative base of the party that has always been suspicious of McCain. But ever since she joined the ticket in late August, the Alaska Governor's various religious affiliations have caused headaches. First came reports that her pastor at the nondenominational Wasilla Bible Church was connected to Jews for Jesus, an organization that seeks to convert Jews to Christianity. Prominent Jewish leaders, including the co-chair of McCain's Jewish outreach effort, have since demanded to know whether Palin also believes that Jews must be converted. The Bible Church became an issue again when Katie Couric asked her about the church's promotion of a program to help gays "overcome" their homosexuality.

And finally a videotape surfaced of a 2005 service at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church, the Pentecostal church that Palin attended for most of her life. In the scene captured on video, Palin stands at the front of the sanctuary while a visiting African pastor prays that God will help her gubernatorial campaign and protect her "from every form of witchcraft." Later in the same service, the pastor complains that "Israelites" held too many prominent positions in business, a comment that has further alienated Jewish voters...

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