Thursday, September 11, 2008

Defending Governor Palin's Church/Religion

The intensely personal attacks on Governor Palin now include attacks on her faith. Some misunderstand her faith, others as Slate did in a recent article, outright attack it. No expert myself on faith or religion, I asked my brother Greg who belongs to a church very similar to that of Governor Palin to clarify what it is and isn’t to be a fundamentalist Christian. Also, following his write up is a part of a write up from Mary McCurry a Roman Catholic who is deeply troubled by the manner in which Governor Palin’s faith has been attacked.

Greg Morrison - MN
First of all, the author [from the Slate article] incorrectly correlates the term “fundamentalist” with the term “extremist”. To be a fundamentalist, simply means to believe in certain fundamentals. The fundamentals of Sarah Palin’s church can be found clearly on their website. They are few and fairly straightforward. They believe…

1. ...the Bible is the inspired and only infallible and authoritative Word of God.
2. ...Jesus Christ is the only Divine Son of God.
3. is inherently sinful and in need of the grace of God.
4 ...salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from works.
5. ...the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues is given to believers who ask for it.
6. Miracles of Divine healing in response to the prayer of faith.
7. the imminent return of Jesus for all Christians.

While individuals (even Christians) can argue as to whether or not this is a partial, complete, or extended list of fundamentals, the fact is that most Christian faiths believe in some if not all of the above tenets…

…most of the above statements of faith are very much within the “mainstream” of Christianity. Consequently while someone may be a Christian fundamentalist that in no way by itself means that they are by default an “extremist”.

Second, many of the freedoms we enjoy today are possible due to beliefs that are found in the Bible. God over and over again in scripture communicates to man that he has a choice to make (ex: Deut 30:19 I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live.) This particular scripture is an example of the choice that God gives us. To paraphrase this passage, God is essentially saying the following. I’m calling everyone to say that I am giving you the freedom to make a choice. Here are your options; Life and Blessing or Death and Cursing. You choose. By the way I’d choose life if I were you. It is much better.

Are there some individuals who have perverted the truth? Of course. As in any segment of society there are those who do not take the time to learn and understand the truth…

…That being said, I have seen nothing so far that would suggest that Sarah Palin or her Church believe anything outside of the above basic fundamentals.

…It should be understood that to a person of Christian faith (even of the fundamentalist nature) science and God are not incongruous. After all from our perspective, God created both faith and science. Some of the theory’s that lead in our scientific circles may in fact be closer than many might think. For example the Big Bang Theory explains how the Universe came to be from virtual nothingness. To a fundamentalist Christian this is not a new revelation. After all, In the beginning…God said, Let there be light, and (BANG) there was light (Gen 1:1&3).

Mary McCurry - CA

…First, there is the wide dissemination of verifiably false stories of her claiming that the Iraq war and the Alaska pipeline are God's tasks. Then that she dared to pray in a Church of all places. I watched and listened to the YouTube clip 4 times where she was in her Church and offering support for her son and all our troops going to war. She prayed that God has a plan and that we be part of it. In other words by praying she was NOT stating what God's plan is, but asking God's guidance and strength that we rightly discern His Will and be empowered and protected to carry that out. That is even a step in the 12 Step programs. This is the same kind of praying that goes on in thousands of Churches of many different traditions.

Attacks on her Pentecostal faith and practices like speaking in tongues or rolling on the floor, etc -- It is not enough to just say that she doesn't do that - that's not the point. The point is that whether she does or doesn't millions of intelligent, educated and faith filled people do and there is nothing insane about that. Charismatic Catholics speak in tongues. Many Protestant groups do as well whether labeled Pentecostal or not. Sts Paul and Peter spoke in tongues along with the rest of the crowd at Pentecost. To attack this practice as making anyone unfit for public office is an attack on all religious practice or beliefs.

Defending Governor Palin's Church and Religion

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