Last night a CNN reporter asked that question of Palin’s former pastor. The media is on the hunt and they smell a kill. Didn’t Obama’s pastor seriously damage his cause? Won’t Palin’s Pentecostalism hurt her? So why does Barack Obama still seem to be in a stupor over John McCain’s pick for Vice President? And what is the source of John McCain’s cocky smile? Because Obama and McCain are politicians and not just your average politicians, they are among the best. The American people are getting their money’s worth in this contest. And as politicians, they know the numbers, the numbers that the media in their supreme arrogance over anything religious, always seems to disbelieve. John McCain .. why he is still in a race that the Democrats should have already won. And it is why Obama is looking stunned. According to Barna, 36% of the American public are charismatic or Pentecostal Christians. We are talking about huge numbers, probably 80 million adults. Consider that 24% of the American public are Catholic. 13% are African American… to be counted in this 36% you had to say that you had been “filled with the Holy Spirit” and that you believe that “the charismatic gifts, gifts such as tongues and healing, are still valid and active today.” So the 36% Penteocstal-Charismatics are hot. They are adult and active. Now, here’s where it gets even more ironic. It turns out that 33% of all Catholics are charismatic.. Most of the 33% are adults, and active.
Some in the media are falling all over themselves to show that Palin is out of step with the nation, that she is a fanatic or, at least, her church is fanatical…What percentage of Americans would agree with “God Damn America” as opposed to “the charismatic gifts, gifts such as tongues and healing, are still valid and active today”? Obama was specifically attempting to peel off the Pentecostal-Charismatics from the rest of the evangelical herd. Democrats had several meetings set up with Pentecostal leaders. McCain had misstepped with endorsements from John Hagee and Rod Parsley, both Pentecostals. Republican, Chuck Grassley, a Baptist, had awakened the Baptist – Pentecostal doctrinal rift by specifically targeting Pentecostal ministries in an “investigation” but exempting any Baptists. If the Baptist-Pentecostal fracture had endured, it would have rent the last remaining base of the beleaguered presidency of George W. Bush and the melting iceberg from which the McCain team had to launch their campaign. Now, with one decision, a VP pick, John McCain has turned it all on a dime.
The media rushes greedily on, thinking they have something of interest that will break McCain. But Obama and McCain know the truth. The more the media confidently ridicules and attacks the Pentecostal-Charismatics, the more they unite what had been a fractured Republican base and drive this massive constituency into the Republican fold. In their ignorance, or innocence, the media will use a shotgun approach, (now here’s where their failure to do any homework on religion really hurts them) and they will end up hitting all evangelicals, not just Pentecostals. When they attack the idea of healing for example, they make Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and even many New Agers nervous. Oh, yeah, there is that 33% of Catholics who will wince when media pundits laugh at Palin’s doctrines. And when they ridicule the born again experience they blow out Baptists and fundamentalist Lutherans.
Thus the media will do the work that a clumsy, liberal Democrat nominee usually did in the past. In forty years, only two Democratic nominees have won, Carter and Clinton, and both hailed from the South and understood and appealed to evangelicals. (42% of all Americans claim to be born again Christians, which includes the Pentecostals and Charismatics.) Barack Obama had this all figured out. He needed the Pentecostals to balance his liberal voting record in the Senate, to make him something more than a Dukakis or Kerry. Indeed, the head of his religious outreach is a young Assemblies of God political operator. (Maybe the media will ask him if he has ever spoken in tongues?)
Sarah Palin is not qualified to be vice president because she was raised in such a church and exposed to such doctrines? Maybe Pentecostals and Charismatics should not able allowed to operate heavy machinery or be doctors or lawyers. Maybe 36% of the American public should be exempted from public life.
Obama can only pine as he watches all of his brilliant, nuanced work slip away. It will take the most informed in the media a few days to figure this out and add a measure of balance to their reporting, to at least offer Pentecostals as much respect as they do Muslims fundamentalists but some won’t ever know what they have done. Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “He who says that religion and politics don’t mix, understands neither one.”
* In Sarah Palin’s first big media interview, on September 11, Charlie Gibson of ABC News asked: “You said recently, in your old church, ‘Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a holy war?” Palin responded: “You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.” Gibson pressed: “Exact words.”
Viewers had no way of knowing that, in fact, Gibson was distorting Palin’s meaning by leaving out critical context and thus making an unremarkable exhortation to prayer sound like a declaration of holy war. Palin had not said that the war was a task from God. She had urged her listeners to “pray” that it was a task from God. A September 3 Associated Press report by Gene Johnson distorted Palin’s meaning in exactly the same way.
* A front-page story in the September 12 Washington Post, by Anne Kornblut, was headlined: “Palin Links Iraq to Sept. 11 in Talk to Troops in Alaska.” This was misleading, as were the first two paragraphs. They implied that Palin had advanced the long-discredited “idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped Al Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.” In fact, Palin’s reasonably clear meaning was not that Saddam had a role in the 9/11 attacks but that (as the article backhandedly acknowledged) the troops would be fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is related to the group that launched the 9/11 attacks.
* The New York Times did a huge (3,120-word) front-page story on February 21 implying that McCain had had a sexual affair with a female lobbyist while doing her political favors. But the article lacked strong evidence either that there had been a sexual affair or that McCain had crossed legal or ethical lines to do favors. Would The Times have printed the same story had the senator been Barack Obama or John Kerry? I doubt it.
I am also deeply skeptical when I see front-page headlines like “As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood” (Washington Post, September 14), or “Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes” (New York Times, same day). Such loaded language is a badge not of a newsroom committed to impartial investigation but of an ideological echo chamber.
NewsMax.com, FL – 19 Sep 2008
There was a gigantic turn toward John McCain in the two weeks immediately after the GOP convention. In large part this was due to the Sarah Palin nomination …
Cumberland Times-News, MD – 19 Sep 2008
The true agents of change in this election are John McCain and Sarah Palin. There is a reason that the Democrats are attacking her viciously with lies.
Letter: Palin the right choice
The Grand Rapids Press – MLive.com, MI – by Wes Dekker | Wyoming My wife and I are excited about John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin for the vice presidency. The reason? Gov. …
A lot has been said in recent days about what foreigners think about the campaign for president in the U.S. The general message is that all foreigners hate John McCain and especially Sarah Palin, and want Barack Obama to win. Elsevier, one of the best political magazines in the Netherlands, decided to ask female politicians – members of Parliament and cabinet ministers – what they think of Palin. The answers may surprise you. http://poligazette.com/2008/09/19/dutch-female-politicians-on-sarah-palin/
Readers’ Forum: Sept. 20, 2008
Terre Haute Tribune Star, IN – 19 Sep 2008
I have to give the Republican Party credit. They’ve come up with a bullet-proof pair of candidates. John McCain is a war hero (he never misses an …
But it seems too often that the immoral, liberal media persons wrongfully like to bash the persons who clearly have better values than them still too.