In addition to being a woman, Sarah Palin is also a religious person. These two factors certainly played a role in her selection as the Republican VP candidate. While many Americans are religious, some people think that there are reasons to be worried about Palin’s religious views.
Speaking at her former church, Palin had this to say about the war in Iraq:
“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”
While it seems quite normal and correct to pray for the soldiers and leaders, her view that our task there is from God might trouble some. After all, leaders who think that they are doing God’s will have tended to prove rather problematic. I much prefer what Lincoln said about God and war: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
Of course, special attention should be paid to this assertion: “that’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” This can be interpreted as her enjoining people to pray that what we are doing in Iraq is in accord with God’s plan-which would seem to be much like what Lincoln said.
While I am not particularly religious myself, I do agree with the underlying moral view put forth by Lincoln (and perhaps Palin). When we go to war, we should be sure that we are on the side of right.
In addition to invoking God in the context of war, she also claimed He approved of a gas pipeline: “I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that.”
While I am not a theological expert, I suspect that God’s role in the universe does not include making sure that pipelines get built in Alaska. Praying for that sort of thing seems more materialistic than spiritual. While I am not very religious, I do not think people should pray for financial gain. It seems somehow wrong to ask God for money. Of course, praying for this sort of thing doesn’t make Palin a religious oddball. I’m sure that many people pray for material gain and hence she is quite mainstream in this regard.
While I do worry about a person’s religion leading them to making poor decisions, I see no special problem in Palin being religious. After all, all the candidates have gone out of their way to express their faith. To single Palin out for being especially sincere seems to be rather unfair.
That said, her religious views and how they might affect her political decisions are fair game for investigation and concern. The same is true for all the candidates. Ironically, I suspect that Palin worries people the most because she seems to be the most sincere in her faith. She certainly presents herself as a true believer. Of course, it could be a clever charade-she is, after all, a politician.