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For Palin, It’s a (Christian) Man’s World

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Posted on Sep 14, 2008
AP photo / Al Grillo

The Wasilla Assembly of God church in Alaska. In June, Gov. Sarah Palin, now the vice presidential nominee on the Republican ticket, told ministry students at her former church that the U.S. had sent troops to fight in Iraq on a “task that is from God.”

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

In the mega-churches, the pastor, nearly always male, is obeyed by the congregation. It is the pastor who interprets the word of God. It is why Palin, along with Alaska Lt. Gov. Scott Parnell, went to be publicly blessed before some 6,000 congregants by Wasilla Assembly of God’s Head Pastor Ed Kalnins. It is why she calls Kalnins, who claims that some parts of the globe are controlled by demons and that family curses can be passed down through generations, for guidance and advice. He is her male conduit to a male God. The male leader in this belief system governs through a divine mandate. He can heal the sick. He can speak in tongues. He can prophesy. And if Palin wants to remain in God’s favor, she must be guided by men like Kalnins. 

The movement builds concentric male fiefdoms. They radiate out from the home. They do not permit revolt, discussion or dissent. And women who buy into the paradigm, one that supposedly protects their families, makes their boys into men, their husbands into protectors and themselves into Godly Christian women, cede most of their personal, political and economic power. Those who are weak or different, those who do not conform to the stereotype, those who have other ways of being, must be forced by the stern father to obey. If they do not they will be destroyed by God. 

The religious leaders that Palin admires, such as Dobson, are petty despots. They travel on private jets, have huge personal fortunes and descend on the faithful surrounded by a retinue of burly bodyguards. These little kingdoms, awash in the male leadership cult, mirror the America they seek to create. In this America, there is no questioning. In this America, followers surrender their personal and political power. The divinely anointed male leader rules a flock of obedient and submissive sheep. All must hand over their freedom. All must cease to think independently. 

The simple-minded earnestness on the part of believers such as Palin gives the Christian mass movement its sense of sincerity and decency. Believers are not brainwashed. They are not mindless automatons. They are convinced that what they are doing is Godly, moral and good. They work with the passion of the converted to bring this Christian goodness to everyone, even those who resist. They believe that what they promote is moral and beneficial. They fear for their own souls and they fear for the souls of those who remain unsaved. This earnestness, although employed for frightening ends, is a powerful part of Palin’s attraction. She is willing to make great personal sacrifices for the cause of Christ. But nonbelievers, in the end, have no place on her moral map. 

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Danuta Pfeiffer, who from 1983 to 1988 was the co-host on “The 700 Club” with Pat Robertson, was, on some level, the Palin of her day. She reached heights because of her celebrity status, usually reserved for men, although it was clear she always had a role subservient to Robertson’s. She was the first person to be allowed to lead the mandatory half-hour chapel service held before lunch at the Christian Broadcasting Network, where “The 700 Club” is filmed. She was sent to speak at national Christian women’s groups and later mixed audiences, numbering in the thousands, at several of the nation’s largest mega-churches. 

Her reception at the gatherings she addressed was frightening. Crowds swarmed toward her. They asked her to touch them and heal them. Her status was nothing compared with that of Robertson, she said, “who stands for his followers as the embodiment of God’s conscience.”

“They were seeking a message, a healing, hope, a little encouragement,” she remembered. “They wanted a little piece of God. They thought I could give it to them. People wept when I prayed for them, touched them or hugged them. It was as if they were meeting a rock star.”

She was increasingly disturbed by the power that had been thrust upon her and the emotions unleashed by those who begged her for guidance. She understood how pliant these people had become and how cleverly they were being manipulated. The realization led her finally to leave the movement. Her experience was a window into how willingly followers hand over their conscience to these male leaders. Followers abandon all moral responsibility to obey those who elevate themselves to quasi-deities. 

“They trusted us more than their family,” she said. “They thought we had a clearer path to God because we were on television. They thought we were on television because God put us there. We were prophets to these people. We were seen as people who could walk on clouds and heal and pray. We were God’s special messengers. Pat was seen as having the ear of God. He had words of knowledge that could identify their deepest fears and illnesses. We would identify people on the air by speaking about the color of their clothes or an illness they had. We would say, ‘There is a woman with a blue blouse crying at this moment. She has bad hearing in one ear. She is being healed right now.’ And viewers would claim these healings. They saw our presence on the show as a sign that we were anointed. They wanted to know how to live, how to operate on a daily basis, how to communicate with their family and friends, what jobs to get and how to interpret the world around them, even the daily news. They wanted every type of emotional, spiritual and physical information. We had this kind of authority over their lives. They abdicated their hopes and lives to us because we spoke for God.”

Palin enjoys the enthusiastic backing of the Christian right because she is blindly obedient to the male hierarchy. She does not question. She submits and obeys. Her views on abortion and marriage, on the Middle East, on gays and the war against Islam are precooked. They are handed to her by men who claim to speak for God. And in power she would be the perfect conduit for an ideology that seeks, in the end, to eradicate individual moral choice and replace it with subservience to a terrifying Christian fascism.

Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, is the author of “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.”


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By dale Headley, September 16, 2008 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

400+ years ago, the Calvinists began leaving Europe for America, not because of religious persecution as American textbooks claim, but because Europe was outgrowing medieval Christianity and entering the scientific age.  These Presbyterians fled to America’s east coast in order to continue burning witches and hanging quakers.  When progress came to New England, the religious zealots retreated to the south where they continue to this day to hold sway over the untutored.  Today, throughout the world, Christianity is in rapid decline, virtually gone in some Scandinavian countries.  Only in the United States have the Old Testament fundamentalists found fertile ground to keep sowing their seeds of ancient myth, hatred, and male domination.  Anybody who reads the Bible can hardly miss the clear implication that males are superior to females.  What is surprising is that females in the U.S. submissively buy into their own inferiority and perpetuate the primitive, ignorant belief system of the middle ages.  Sarah Palin is the archetype.

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By RU-MCSwan, September 16, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

~~ The article “Gender Gap?” on the Web site lists the physical distinctions between man and woman, including strength, size, red blood cell count and metabolism. For a woman, Dobson writes, love is her most important experience: Love gives woman her “zest,” it makes up her “life-blood,” it is her primary “psychological need.” Love holds less meaning in a man’s life than a woman’s—though a man can appreciate love, he does not “need” it.~~

Guess, Mr. Dobson, will have to agree to disagree with me, Napoleon and USMC Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, about whether men “NEED” LOVE.

It also of course depends on how Mr. Dobson would like to compartmentalize his definition of love; to benefit his argument. And that is just fine. If that makes him happy—his OBSESSIVE NEED with the BLIND HITLERESQUE LIKE ADORATION OF HIS FANCLUB FOLLOWERS WITHOUT A CRITICAL THINKING BRAINCELL BETWEEN THEM—THEN THAT IS A PRETTY PATHETICALLY DESPERATE STATE OF AFFAIRS, IN TERMS OF MR. DOBSON’S PSYCHOLOGICAL STATE OF MIND, AND EGO.

Anyway.. life goes on…

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By thebeerdoctor, September 16, 2008 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

re: Big B,

Is it not amazing Big B, that the kind of religious fringe that has always been with us, quite often in the form of revival tents, and later, the gold mine known as religious broadcasting, was once considered an acquired taste, like wrestling or putt-putt golf. But now it has taken on this enormous mainstream significance, so that now it is considered an essential part of the Republican base. This appeal to religious extremism started with Reagan and appears to be culminated, with the capitulation of Senator McCain.

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By Big B, September 16, 2008 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Rob,

I would suggest you read one of mr hedges books, where he goes undercover in the world of fundamentalist wacos (dominionists).
He has done his homework.
Also, anyone who has ever had contact with the dobson, hagee crowd will tell you the same stories of sexism and racism spewed forth in their weekly sermons.
The end nigh! repent now! women and taxes are evil!
And these people vote.

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By AustinMike, September 16, 2008 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WendyWV:  “One good thing about this country is that we generally don’t block candidates because of their religion - at least not legally.”

That statement is only true for the last 47 years and only because the Supreme Court ruled all laws keeping atheists from holding office were unconstitutional.  If you look at many state constitutions, you will still see laws forbiding atheists from holding public office.  Here’s a link for the one in Texas:

http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/txconst/sections/cn000100-000400.html

Despite this, as an atheist, I know my running for any public office would be pointless (even though I think I am more ethical and honest than either Palin or McCain).  Why, simply because the majority of Americans loathe atheists.

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By OGP, September 16, 2008 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remember when Obama said in Pennsylvania, “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them.”

He went on:

“And it’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

I think he is one smart cookie.

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By Leefeller, September 16, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael,

After reading wildflowers post, I have to return back to my gloves off mode. Even though I believe their is some merit to the fact McCain Palin supporters want their security blanket, religion, war, flag waving cronyism, all these things are a comfort and are preferred as support for their mental makeup.  Obmama means uncertainty to them, change scares them, (find it amusing McCAin is voicing change).  Their is much more which I do no understand, like why issues are not important to Palin and company, maybe after securing their comfort zone then trickle down issues may become relvant.

Maybe I am insulting again, but Palin makes me very uncomfortable for her idealistic world is most mad, especially after reading Wildflowers post.

On topic here, the main thrust of this article about Palin supporting the idea this is a mans world, may or may not be.  Palin’s lack of empathy seems very real to me from the wolf killing to how she handles other people who do not agree, her vendettas and underhanded approach to outing people and animals she does not agree with is troubling to me.  Rule of law as with Bush is not on the agenda.  Except for her own wishes and desires she seems almost criminal to me.  From troopergate to firing a librarian who does not jump on her bandwagon with open arms.  For some reason I feel Palin would be very comfortable with reinstating the inquisition under her guidelines.

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By OzarkMichael, September 16, 2008 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Leefeller states: a very good case for burying the hatchet, I mean in the ground.  It is really very hard to reach out with out drifting back into defense mode.  Your advice is well taken, and appreciated.

It is really my belief and more my hope Pailin and her supporters can drop the divisiveness as I am willing to do and come to some sort of agreement. Must admit I have been having mucho fun.  But fun at someones else’s expense usually creates animosity. Never was a smoker, but trying to give up joking about Palin will be very hard in almost the same degree

Its hard for me to feel any animosity if you are going to be so nice about it.

And poking fun is the American way. If ever it is against the law to poke fun at Palin, you will know that you really do have the fascist christian which everyone here bemoans but which we all know isnt true.

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By Rob, September 16, 2008 at 6:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I disagree with fundamentalists on women’s submission and on the acceptance of violence, but this article is pretty baseless. Do you actually know any fundamentalist Christians? They are often much more egalitarian in practice than their patriarchal language would suggest. This piece reeks of cultural elitism and a failure to understand people who see the world differently. I can’t believe it got past the editors.

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By jobart, September 16, 2008 at 5:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found this video, kind of on topic, and thought I’d share it.  It should allay any fears that you may have that Sarah’s religious beliefs are not mainstream enough to effectively govern as V.P. or, potentially, POTUS. As it has been said….”much ado about nothing”.

http://vimeo.com/1679097?pg=embed&sec=1679097

psssst…be afraid———be very afraid.

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By Shenonymous, September 16, 2008 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

Of course I have to jump in on this forum! 
I will laugh with you BruSays.  Her nomination is ghastly for the very reasons you mention.  Also for the reasons Sam Harris tell us.

rage your links are way off topic.  The first one provides no relationship to the above statement, but does offer a correctionist hisory account of slavery!  The second one is a link to a gay man’s argument for gay marriage.  And the third one is A religious-based profamily (profam) essay that charges liberals with anti-family elements as lurking beneath the surface of what the author calls The Liberal Agenga.  So what exactly is yor point again?

bipolar2, I just bought the DVD, thank you for the suggestion.  I will suggest my family and friends also buy it, men and women alike.

lawlessone “Does that mean the hurricanes smashing Texas are to punish Texans for inflicting Bush on America?”  Wicked cool question!

Anonymous – “it reduces the piece to a rant.”  Yes but a great ranting stew it is!  There is lots of meat there. And potatoes.  Both together would make a better meal.  You are rght, we need a full dinner here.

Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD,  ...”Certainly not that directed toward mis-guided, idiotic, supersticious, god-fearing Neanderthals who parrot neocon bullshit.”  Wonderful Dr. Dr.  Nice riposte!

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By Dave24, September 15, 2008 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

LUNATICS.

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By wildflower, September 15, 2008 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

Re: WendyWV

I believe Talbot’s Salon article about the pastor who clashed with Palin is a good clue as to how some of these churches might treat parishioners who disagree with their views.  Their conduct seems downright mean spirited to me:

. . . the Rev. Howard Bess. A retired American Baptist minister who pastors a small congregation in nearby Palmer, Wasilla’s twin town in Alaska’s Matanuska Valley, Bess has been tangling with Palin and her fellow evangelical activists ever since she was a Wasilla City Council member in the 1990s.

Recently, Bess again found himself in the spotlight with Palin, when it was reported that his 1995 book, “Pastor, I Am Gay,” was among those Palin tried to have removed from the Wasilla Public Library when she was mayor.

“She scares me,” said Bess. “She’s Jerry Falwell with a pretty face.

“At this point, people in this country don’t grasp what this person is all about. The key to understanding Sarah Palin is understanding her radical theology.”. . .

. . . “Things got very intense around here in the ‘90s—the culture war was very hot here,” Bess said. “The evangelicals were trying to take over the valley. They took over the school board, the community hospital board, even the local electric utility. And Sarah Palin was in the direct center of all these culture battles, along with the churches she belonged to.” . . .

. . “It’s truly frightening that someone like Sarah has risen to the national level,” Bess said. “Like all religious fundamentalists—Christian, Jewish, Muslim—she is a dualist. They view life as an ongoing struggle to the finish between good and evil. Their mind-set is that you do not do business with evil—you destroy it. Talking with the enemy is not part of their plan. . . .

“Forget all this chatter about whether or not she knows what the Bush doctrine is. That’s trivial. The real disturbing thing about Sarah is her mind-set. It’s her underlying belief system that will influence how she responds in an international crisis, if she’s ever in that position, and has the full might of the U.S. military in her hands. She gave some indication of that thinking in her ABC interview, when she suggested how willing she would be to go to war with Russia.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/09/15/bess/

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By earnest, September 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve wondered from the beginning of McCain’s campaign whether he really wants to be president.  It’s as though he is trying to destroy the Republican party by exposing it clearly to the country by never distancing himself from Bush and choosing Palin who is the perfect example of the Rebub’s backward leaning base. 

Of course I know I’m wrong because a presidential nominee can just phone in his campaign due to American the press doing all the work for the candidates of the corporate controlled major parties.

Something is fishy about McCain.  It’s too perfect.  It’s my pet conspiracy theory that makes McCain a hero wink.

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2008 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

McCain/Palin; a bridge to nowhere.

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By Pravda7, September 15, 2008 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

This doesn’t surprise me. Sarah Palin plays the role of a puppet in this election and she is perfect for it. It goes in line with the culture of masculinity and the constant undermining of women. She did not get chosen because of her cridentials or achievements but because she looks good and is easy to manipulate. Those are very typical reasons for which men hire women to be their secretaries.

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By WendyWV, September 15, 2008 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One good thing about this country is that we generally don’t block candidates because of their religion - at least not legally.  However, I don’t think that means we should ignore their religious ties.  Religions that demand blind obedience of their members are religions to take a second look at.  What happens when members stray from the norm - how are they treated in that church?  Are the counseled or are they rejected?  Are they merely expelled or are they shunned socially and financially?  How much control does that church have over its members socially and legally?  For these reasons, and because of personal experience, I cannot support EVER a Mormon in good standing for a national office.  And, seeing the mindset from which Ms. Palin comes, I would not be able to support her either, as I didn’t when Huckabee decided to run.  Above and beyond feeling the need to change the party in control in Washington.

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By BruSays, September 15, 2008 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller…yes, I understand that what is pathetic to us can appear warm, comforting and safe by others.

Sadly, these are the same “others” who - despite (or in spite of) confirmation that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, still somehow find it comforting and safe to believe it did.

These are the same who, despite a surplus with Clinton turned into a $9.5 trillion debt under Bush, believe the comforting and safe promises of the “tax-cutting” Republicans. 

And they’re the same who, despite the dismal incompetence of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice in world affairs and common-sense diplomacy, cheer the “maverick” McCain/Palin team as comforting and safe.

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Dominatrix Sarah’s little world of pain

Oops!  Was not supposed to be here? 

OzarkMichael,

Ah, better now.  You make a very good case for burying the hatchet, I mean in the ground.  It is really very hard to reach out with out drifting back into defense mode.  Your advice is well taken, and appreciated.

It is really my belief and more my hope Pailin and her supporters can drop the divisiveness as I am willing to do and come to some sort of agreement. Must admit I have been having mucho fun.  But fun at someones else’s expense usually creates animosity. Never was a smoker, but trying to give up joking about Pailin will be very hard in almost the same degree.

From this point on and my fingers are not crossed, I will be nice to Pailin and her supporters. 

What war?

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By OzarkMichael, September 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

per Leefeller: ...Reason, abstract thought and of course enlightenment are nice things to me, but unacceptable to Palin and people like her.

What are we to do?  Try to under stand no matter how hard it is, use empathy, respect peoples differences and try to work together?  Even knowing where people are coming from may be a start.

my reply: Leef, almost… almost you seem to ‘reach across the divide’, but you know that it is an insult that you offered. Maybe you dont realize it was an insult? Okay then, would you accept this ‘olive branch’ from me if I mirror your offer back to you? Try this:

...truth, integrity, and of course morality are nice things to me, but unacceptable to Obama and people like him.

What are we to do?  Try to understand no matter how hard it is, use empathy, respect peoples differences and try to work together?  Even knowing where people are coming from may be a start.

Sounds nice and friendly to me.

Would you work together with me under those terms?

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Marshall,

For once I agree with you, they are Palin it on!

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By wildflower, September 15, 2008 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Re: Blueshift

I believe the secret to the conservative Catholic and Evangelical voting block you are addressing has more to do with the alliance initiated by former Watergate criminal, Charles Colson, and Father Richard J. Neuhaus, authors of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission.”

This alliance began with the anti-abortion movement, but through the years has gradually expanded to include a number of their other “life” issues such as promoting sexual abstinence education and opposing stem-cell research.  Lately, it seems we’ve been hearing more about dispensationalists and their campaigns for Armageddon, especially from churches like Palin’s Assembly of God.

America’s founding principle of separation of church and state appears to mean nothing to these people.  And because the voting block they’ve created focuses solely on what they interpret “life” issues to be, they have indirectly given politicians carte blanche to do what ever they want as long as the politician supports their cause.

Interestingly, Charles Colson was also one of the co-signers of the “Land Letter” which laid out “theological support for a just war pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.” Richard D. Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote the letter. [Wikipedia.]

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

I believe I announced on one of my posts, I was not going to trash Mistress Palin anymore and stated I was giving it up.  Now this may seem sexist and even strange, but my intention is not to offend, but make a comment on oservation.

Palin does not seem special, attractive or even interesting to me, since I am not gay, I have the same to say about her first dude.

Over the years I have worked with and been in meetings with many different women, many of these women have personalities with mucho intelligence. Several women I worked with over the years were witches, not just to me, also most everyone around them, in my minds eye they seem clones to Pailin sort of like the Stepfrod wives.  From demimonde in nature with the same looks and personality of this kind of women.

It seems many people do not see Palin in the same light as I, this is troubling to me. Her religious idealist mental make up, coupled with her   political savvy as the president of the PTA aside.  I relly do not like her.   

My point, if I was in her place I would have a snowball in Alaska’s change of becoming even president of the PTA.

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By Marshall, September 15, 2008 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

OMG!  I think it’s official!  Every single story on Truthdig is about Palin!

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By Big B, September 15, 2008 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

I have always found that you should never trust anyone who is willing to put their belief in a god ahead of your well being.

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By Xntrk, September 15, 2008 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My niece lived with me, while she went to high school. She’s not the brightest - for our family. Probably is close to ‘average’ intelligence, but I always thought with earlier intervention, she would have been brighter [ie she never read a book without pictures till she lived with us] What was really intriguing to me was that the person she felt closest too at any moment became her guru. She would do anything and everything to please them. Luckily, I was that person for the first year…

As an adult, she continued to change focus, careers and gurus searching for the real deal I guess. She found it in a twice divorced, 15 year older, military officer, who became a Promise Keeper.

They are still married, but I have graduated to the “not a good influence” group. Something about my refusal to even pretend to pray before meals, at home or in public, or even to hold hands. As an agnostic leaning towards atheist, I have my own standards to meet.

Or maybe it was some of the anti-Iraq articles I emailed: Like the BBC article showing the little Iraqi girl on the front page of every paper but ours which were celebrating Super Bowl. It may have been the year of Janet Jackson’s tit, but the headline was “What the rest of the World was watching”. Her parents and brother died in a barrage of bullets at a US check-point in Baghdad. A US soldier was trying to calm her down.

The family grapevine informed me that my ‘political articles’  were NOT acceptable, and upset the powers that be… It was news for god’s sake, but the thing about these Fascist Religions is that every thing is about them.

Has anyone else read the novel about the Last Jews in Alaska? The premise is that the Jews wound up in Alaska instead of Israel after the Allies lost the war… They were given a 50 year lease on either Anchorage or Juneau, and time is up.

I may have to reread it now that almost every commentary is about weird politics in Alaska. I think the entire Palin Crew, and most of the cops are featured in that strange story…

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By jackpine savage, September 15, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Rus,

Who said i like Obama?  I like Obama a little bit more than McCain, that is true…but that isn’t saying much.  I do not like how Obama wears his religion on his sleeve; in fact, it’s one of the things that i like least about him.

But at least he’s fairly consistent.  One day John McCain is calling people “agents of intolerance” and now he’s cuddling up to the same people in the most craven way imaginable…by nominating someone who is probably a long, long way out of the Christian mainstream.

Dick clearly indicated that he doesn’t like the teachings of the church he used as an example, but he didn’t say that only churches that he doesn’t like should be taxed.

What, you don’t want to play?

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Brusays,

It is pathetic to you and I, but some people need to hold a blanket while sucking their thumbs, this provides a comfort zone which makes them feel like they can predict what is going to happen next. Wave the flag comfort, goto to war comfort, blind faith comfort. Being among peers really cronyism comfort.  Common sense very uncomfortable, the list is much longer. For this mental make up being forced to make a decision on merit is very uncomfortable, deciding on issues using logic the same. 

In fact the comfort zone is protected with such vigor, and we are the evil ones trying to take away their security blanket, no reason or logic can dissuade them.

We may with some empathic soul searching try to understand who they are and why, but this may be impossible for they are sometimes enveloped in hate.

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By eileen fleming, September 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control.”-Jeff Halper, Founder and Coordinator of ICAHD/Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee for 2006.

My question to ALL the professing Christians seeking the White House is are you on the side of democracy or ethnocracy?

President Abbas has presented ideas and demands on the status of Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state, settlements in the West Bank, refugees, security and water resources, but no reply has been received from the Israeli side.

My question for ALL the candidates is and how will they deal with a Palestinian partner who is talking and an Israeli partner who is not?

2,000 years ago The Cross had NO symbolic religious meaning and was not a piece of jewelry. When Jesus said: “Pick up your cross and follow me” everyone back then understood he was issuing a POLITICAL statement, for the main roads in Jerusalem were lined with crucified agitators, rebels, dissidents and any who disturbed the status quo of the Roman Empire and Military Occupying Forces.

My question to ALL the professing Christian candidates for the White House is how do they reconcile their faith in Jesus, the Prince of Peace who promised it is the peacemakers who are the children of God, with the American-Israeli military empire?

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group asserted that “all key issues in the Middle East-the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and terrorism-are inextricably linked” and that the United States “cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict and regional instability.”

We the people need to know if ANY of the candidates will support diplomacy and be an honest broker for peace who will deal with all sides as equals which will demonstrate moral leadership and bolster U.S. national security interests. The question to the candidates is will they support the indirect Israel-Syria talks mediated by Turkey or insist that only America can offer plans and road- maps?

We the people need leaders who will support direct and sustained negotiations with Iran and work with the international community to address Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well as demand Israel open up the underground Dimona nuclear weapons facility in the Negev that has never allowed International Atomic Energy Inspectors into.

Another question for ALL the Christian lusting for the White House is if they will stand up for FREEDOM OF SPEECH and movement for their brother in Christ, Mordechai Vanunu, who returns to court in Jerusalem on September 23, 2008. He will then learn if he will serve six more months in jail for speaking to foreign media in 2004 after his release from 18 years in jail for telling the world the truth that in 1985, Israel was building as many as 200 nuclear warheads.

“Blessed are the Peacemakers-THEY shall be called the children of God.”-Jesus, Matthew 5:9

Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor WAWA:
http://www.wearewideawake.org/
Author “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

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By kath cantarella, September 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The worst thing? This kind of thinking spreads. When no dissent is heard, people forget there is such a thing as dissent. Everything becomes about fear and authority instead of common sense.
How about we all visit an extreme right-wing blog every day and post a dissenting (be respectful, don’t give them an excuse to delete you) comment? Might help.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 15, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Funny thing about this Governor Palin thing. When I pointed out her use of Westbrook Pegler in her acceptance speech. Some people did not understand. Others on truthdig (Cyrena for instance) picked up on what I was trying to point out. Well now Robert Kennedy Jr. has posted a piece about Governor Palin’s use of the American fascist writer’s words, pointing out what Pegler said about his father, Robert Kennedy, back in 1965. Pegler hoped that “some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.”
After all the nonsense about Barack Obama’s former pastor, shouldn’t the Governor of Alaska be held accountable for quoting words from this genuine American fascist?
Chris Hedges is not exaggerating when he speaks of Christian fascism. To quote the late Hunter S. Thompson: “you are not paranoid, they really are coming after you.”

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By BruSays, September 15, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Two concerns about Sarah Palin.

The first: To even THINK about filling our nation’s Number Two Spot with a person who believes in Creationism, who believes God calls us to Iraq, who’s absolutely lacking in foreign policy experience, and who issues bald-face lies and about-faces about pork, bridges and abortion, underscores our nation’s failed politcal system. People, this is laughable!

The Second: That a person with these beliefs and experience was even SELECTED - and from so many far more reasonable options - confirms the Republican’s willingness to place their party before their country - at all and any costs. Seriously, can anyone with even an ounce of sanity even imagine Palin in the Number One Spot?

Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 15, 2008 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

@rage:

Good for you.  But do you think for one second that people whose lives are faith-based can even begin understand what the hell you’re talking about?

This is why we’re where we’re at today.  These people have hi-jacked our government because that’s what god wants them to do. Onward Christian Soldiers.

This election is a battle between the faithful and the rational and between the haves and the have-nots.  The fact the wacko right has done so well against a veritable cornucopia of negative performances demonstrates their ignorance, resolve, ingenuity and wiliness.  We need to try harder against such a formidable opponent.

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By alaskankid, September 15, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

I believe all churches should pay property taxes. The argument that they do some good in the community should not be a factor. The owner of the town hardware store might also spend most of his free time volunteering in soup kitchens, organizing fund raisers for charity, and donating to worthy causes. Does he get out of paying property tax? No. Churches are a business, in some cases very big business. To retain their tax break they must not get involved in politics.

http://tinyurl.com/4kqn9z

Do you think that evangelical churches are going to remain neutral when one of their own, Sarah Palin, is running?

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By rage, September 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The decline of America is ascribed to the decline of male prowess.”

That statement, in and of itself, is antichrist and anathema. I defy anyone to twist a single passage of Scripture to justify the statement above.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/1/11/191549/134

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2005/12/12/2041/2567

http://www.profam.org/docs/acc/thc.acc.051128.marriage.amendment.htm

“In response to a militantly anti-family ethos prevalent in the ‘post modern’ West,” while the “World Congress of Families fosters an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, and leaders that seeks to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the ‘seed bed’ of a sane society.”—Alan C. Carlson, founder and chairman of The World Congress of Families

My first question is this: How does Carlson explain the Palins?

Not every family ethnically hails from this modern Occidental era. Should they be removed from our society and cultures, just so a few bigots can feel good about their personal conviction? If so, where does Jesus say that in the Bible?

I don’t have a problem with people living their personal religious convictions, so long as they grant me the same liberty. Please don’t impose your personal beliefs on the rest of us and call it evangelism. Living your convictions so well you make me envy you and want your life is letting your light so shine. Trying to limit my human rights and liberties through manipulation of my civil rights because you presume to feel you know better than I do what is best for me, is nowhere near close what Jesus would do.

Some of us like our families just the way they are, whether our families fall neatly into the limits of another’s definition of family or not. There are whole lot of woman-headed households that are none the worse for the absence of a man. There are also male headed households where there is no woman, where things run just as smoothly as if there was a woman there. A real family is best defined by the commonality of love, not statistical demographics tailored to meet the needs of a common belief system very narrowly interpreted by a limited few.

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Bipolar2,

It works for me. “Dominatrix Sarah’s little world of pain”. 

It is very hard to try and understand peoples ideals and different ways and how they prefer to live their lives.  Different fetish’s for different folks. 

When they prefer to dominate and force their own belief system on others, then it is time to call them on it. For some reason people blinded by their ambitions or religion feel everyone else should accept their point of view as a given right.

We should realize it is possible Palin and people like her, are in a comfort zone, not designed by them and not their choice, but instead like being gay, she may have inherited the way she is. 

Palin’s comfort zone is like the twilight zone for some of the rest of us.  Impossible if not very hard to empathize with.

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By bipolar2, September 15, 2008 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

. . . wanna experience the redemptive power of suffering?

** Welcome to Dominatrix Sarah’s little world of pain **

McCain is a doddering dupe. Now he’s just along for a ride into an all-American abyss of fundamentalist political ideology, Dominionism.

Dom Sarah comes “wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.” She is exactly the gender traitor dominionists need to jumpstart their wet dreams of a xian tyranny.

Like some pernicious Tinkerbell, Dom Sarah would make “The Handmaid’s Tale” come painfully alive. A one sentence synopsis of the film:  In a polluted dystopia ruled by xian tyranny, a rebellious woman finds herself condemned to sexual slavery because she holds a rare gift, fertility. (adapted from IMDb.com/title/tt0099731)

Margaret Atwood’s novel depicts a society where women have been stripped of all rights.  Gilead, a fragment of a failed America, is a small nation controlled by christo-fascists and their transnational corporate overlords.

Dom Sarah ought to energize the BDSM crowd. She is a true believer, a puritanical atavism born in Atwood’s dystopia who wants to treat America to some strict, xian discipline.

Dem-attack-PACs should buy “The Handmaid’s Tale,” novel and DVD, by the box load and hand copies to every media person. Get TV outlets to broadcast it. If necessary buy time to show “The Handmaid’s Tale” in critical markets.

bipolar2

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By yellowbird2525, September 15, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

BTW, why are the “anti abortionists” fighting the deliberate harming & killing off of the babies who are born here in the USA? STOP abortions so they can harm & kill the babies & the children? make some SENSE. Want to know WHY the USA has the highest rates of babies deaths? CHEMICALS. You are “shown” on TV, read in magazines, “presented” at the stores: you “clean” your home with TOXICS; cuz that is the way THIS country is run: chemicals in every single way they can get into your home: formaldehyde in clothing, baby shampoo, shampoos, deoderants, furniture, filling shoes, carpeting, purses, laundry soaps, dish soaps, dryer sheets, floor cleaners: to make even MORE $ for the pharma’s who give the doctors $ for meeting prescription quotas & major $ for pill of the month; they go to schools & PAY THEM to keep young kids from recesses & deliberately FEED THEM foods with chemicals causing restlessness: tell them to go to docs who prepared say AH HA! ADD, ADD & give them METH. NOW they are claiming they need STATINS which CAUSE heart attacks: but hey, go ahead with your “war” on abortion; guess once they are born it’s a-ok in YOUR “book” to KILL & HARM THEM anyway!

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By GrammaConcept, September 15, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

“Susan”.....your comment is exactly to the point..Thanks for saying it…

My dear father used to say:
“At war with onself, there can be no peace with others..”

Strive On..

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Tolerance of the self righteous, shell set us free.

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By lawlessone, September 15, 2008 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some Christian Fundamentalists loudly speculated that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment of New Orleans for being a sinful city.  Does that mean the hurricanes smashing Texas are to punish Texans for inflicting Bush on America?

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By Anonymous, September 15, 2008 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wait a minute—sourcing is BADLY required!

To place Dobson, Third Wave, Robertson and 700 Club all in the same stew is a mistake and winds up missing the mark; it reduces the piece to a rant.

Stick to the links between Palin’s actual churches and ministers and their theology (which is highly suspect, even more so than Dobson)—there is lots of meat there.

My disgust with Dobson and company equals your own, but they are truly not the issue here. Palin’s minister may well be an even bigger whackaloon and make Jeremiah Wright look like a moderate, but you still have to TIE her to it.

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By yellowbird2525, September 15, 2008 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

another time I watched as a minister different one but had a big congregation spoke directly to men & women but especially geared to the women re their husbands infidelity: with either sex: he stated the TRUTH: do NOT stay with a man who does this! He is NOT trustworthy, and God does NOT want this for you or your household! They can bring home deadly diseases to harm YOU and YOUR CHILDREN: GOD wants you SAFE! (hallelujah!) BTW, coming from a long ancestery of ministers & going to many denominations of churchs: I stopped attending churchs when the last one I attended ran by husband & wife ministers told a wife of a man who frequently beat her & went out getting drunk & sleeping with various women; that it was her responsibility to STAY in the marriage; Blah blah blah; I could not believe I was hearing the same old crap dished out by “religious” folks to condone atrocities that should be PREACHED against; and here it comes again;*****if TRUTH were to be told, the USA would NOT be in the state of atrocities AGAINST the people of this nation in every conceivable way that there is: I have LISTENED to preachers claim “God has blessed the USA”; the hollowcast was “God’s will”; bomb bomb bomb Iran; go and kill him! because a leader of a country would NOT bend to the dictatorship run by large Corps oppressing the people, lying, deceiving, killing off babies, children, men, women to profit their pocketbooks ONLY; because it has been said incessently that “we are free” does NOT mean it is TRUTH! TRUTH is what will set you free. The babies dying from “bad infant” formula from China is a RUSE: the USA chemical companies have DELIBERATELY put poison in every conceivable thing including infants formulas for over 16 years: THAT is how old my grandson was when I 1st learned of it: THAT is the reason for the high mortality rate of babies;the one who KILLS, STEALS, & DESTROYS is NOT GOD! Nor oppression: HE wanted this monstrous evil Gov destroyed in 1949/1950; BEFORE they sent the aids virus to Africa for “population control”; HIS PEOPLE fasted, prayed, and THOUGHT it better for their children etc to NOT have it destroyed; it will get bad is what HE said; NOW you know the TRUTH; embrace it: and WE can be free!

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By yellowbird2525, September 15, 2008 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

unfortunately, this is the same type of garbage that was used in the churchs to keep women in hostage in marriages where the men beat, battered, abused them; and/or ran around sleeping with everyone under the sun (shades of our Congressmen & others) and women were supposed to “put up” with it; I told God one time just 1 time I would LOVE to hear a Preacher actually tell it like it was: my sister showed me a TV program of a man she watched on TV: his name was Fred Price: he was talking to a huge audience & was talking about men abusing women: & how horrible it was; he then spoke to the women in the audience & flat told them: do NOT put up with this! If you STAY with a man who is hitting or abusing you or your children you will answer to God for it because you are His temple: and the children a direct responsibility for their care; (hallelujah!) NOW if all OTHER preachers would LISTEN to the SPIRIT and not their own inclinations wow! what a wonderful world it would be!

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 15, 2008 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Oops.  Superstitious.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 15, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Russ7355, you may be right.  I don’t condone name-calling.  Certainly not that directed toward mis-guided, idiotic, supersticious, god-fearing Neanderthals who parrot neocon bullshit. 

I apologize.

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By felicity, September 15, 2008 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Crowhaul - Right on, and I eagerly await the passage of laws disallowing all dancing in public and all playing of and listening to music.  Our Muslim brothers can teach us a thing or two about how to run a godly country.

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Rus,

Basically, I believe you supported my premise.

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By wildflower, September 15, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Somehow I can’t see Palin and women like Abigail Adams getting along, but I could be wrong.  .  . Wonder if Palin is a supporter of an Equal Rights Amendment?


THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

As supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment between 1972 and 1982 lobbied, marched, rallied, petitioned, picketed, went on hunger strikes, and committed acts of civil disobedience, it is probable that many of them were not aware of their place in the long historical continuum of women’s struggle for constitutional equality in the United States. From the very beginning, the inequality of men and women under the Constitution has been an issue for advocacy.

In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John, “In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.“1 John Adams replied, “I cannot but laugh. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems.“2

The new Constitution’s promised rights were fully enjoyed only by certain white males. Women were treated according to social tradition and English common law and were denied most legal rights. In general they could not vote, own property, keep their own wages, or even have custody of their children.

http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/era.htm

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2008 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Palin is to women’s rights what Clarence Thomas was to racial equality.  She is the anti-woman, female candidate.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 15, 2008 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Russ, I see you’re back to your school-yard name calling.

Can we stay on issue here?

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By Sean01, September 15, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

...an American Taliban.

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By blueshift, September 15, 2008 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

As has been recently pointed out in the New Yorker, the deep secret to the evangelical voting bloc is the conservative Roman Catholic voting bloc. And how they reinforce women’s subordination! Without a single shred of evidence, this branch of Christianity has ‘elevated’ Mary to the status of a goddess (virgin birth, bodily assumption) because of the example her *total* subservience to male religious hierarchy: the angel Gabriel, God, and her own son (and Son of God).

The evidence of tradition, however, with hints from the Bible, indicate the truth is very different: that Mary was the first functioning overseer (episcope, ie bishop) of the Jerusalem church, collecting and distributing alms for the poor and sick.

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By jackpine savage, September 15, 2008 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

No, Rus, you did twist it by trying to draw a comparison between the Assembly of God and Trinity.  Dick never proclaimed one church better than the other, and we should probably assume (since he didn’t state otherwise) that he feels Trinity Church should pay property taxes too.

Many people on this site agreed with the snippet of Wright’s sermon saying that “America’s chickens had come home to roost.”  Considering that the official 9/11 Commission report cited blowback, i’d say that Rev. Wright and those here who agreed with him are on fairly firm ground.

We do not/cannot know if Obama would govern based on the teachings of his former church.  If some of the things attributed to that church are true and Obama does govern from that position, then there is a serious problem in my mind.

On the other hand, we can see from Gov. Palin’s executive experience that she will govern based on the teachings of her church…and proudly so.  Still, she is free to worship as she sees fit.  Though she is not free to impress her worship upon me.

The real problem is politicians wearing their religion on their sleeves.  I used to like John McCain because he kept his religion where it belongs, to himself.  Apparently, he’s done with that.  And that is one of the reasons that i’m done with him.

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By Leefeller, September 15, 2008 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Ideals and acceptance of people who agree with Palin on the many aspects of political, religious and and how life should be lived in general,  may just be inherited from birth. A throw over from tribalism.  It is a comfort zone for them, their security blanket everything from cronyism to strict religious views make them comfortable. Waving a flag and making war is a comfort to them.  Not sure even hate of differences may be part of their accepted inheartence, t attacking gays and illegals, is like eggs and bacon to them.  There is no reason, thought or logic which may sway them.  End the end I Guess it works out to who is a majority, and who is minority must follow suit.

Now I find all these things disagreeable and very uncomfortable to swallow, but people like Palin may feel the same way about my ideals and the way I see how things should be.  Reason, abstract thought and of course enlightenment are nice things to me,  but unacceptable to Palin and people like her.

What are we to do?  Try to under stand no matter how hard it is, use empathy, respect peoples differences and try to work together?  Even knowing where people are coming from may be a start.

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By Susan, September 15, 2008 at 6:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“They are taught to ready themselves to engage in a final cataclysmic clash with the forces of Satan.”

The right-wing McPalinites are unable to recognize themselves as the forces of Satan they are readying for…

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By jackpine savage, September 15, 2008 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Way to go, Rus, you took a little snippet of Dick’s comment and twisted the essential message of it to suit your needs.  Note that he ended the comment with this:

It’s time to make churches pay their fair share of property tax.

It doesn’t sound to me like he’s saying churches he doesn’t particularly like should pay property taxes, but that all churches should pay taxes.

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By jackpine savage, September 15, 2008 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Dick, thanks for that little tidbit about the property…nothing like an inside scoop.

Ok, i’m as frightened as anyone by a for real Christian fundamentalist being in the White House.  Still, i’m getting pretty tired of all Palin all the Time.  She’s not going to bow out without a serious scandal, and this religion thing is one of the reasons why she was picked.

But i thought the major issue is how Palin was dominating the news and Obama can’t get a word in edgewise.  Here at Truthdig, the same goes.  It’s been almost a week and everything is all about Sarah Palin

Could we please move onto to other pressing issues?

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By Nino, September 15, 2008 at 3:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The comments re: right wing whatever is old hat…in the saddle one knows that opposition will appear,,so I know,lets also control the ‘opposition”..since it was Jesus the Founder of Christianity that was the first world leader to elevate women up to equality with men and later His church ,The RCC invented Nuns and Sisters to then teach kids..the above column just does not make sense..This Palen person is a perfect feminist..for she is never home to take care of her kids..one got knocked up..I guess Palen just was too busy to talk to her child about her latest heart trob or date..she also has a sad child with a mental problem..I know I know,lets use that child for pictures..then hand it back to her nanny…the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world..we need more stay at home moms then part time moms!!! later this gal can follow her own career,all well and good..as my wife did..after the kids grew up and went to college (all seven)she became a youth leader then a golf champ…o hum another boring Hobsons choice…no wonder Marx used to smirk when he would say..“ya gotta luv the masses..drop the M..they really believe we care about them”.......Nino

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By Joshua, September 15, 2008 at 3:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Looking at our vice-presidential candidate, do you think she submissively obeys male authority figures? Authoritarian personalities are not solely male character structures.

This column oversimplifies a great deal. Like many supposedly strict patriarchic movements, evangelical churches contain major pockets of matriarchy.

It is common to see the feminist movement as a reaction to male domination. Less often perceived is the existence of patriarchic ideology as a reaction to female dominance.

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By Dick, September 15, 2008 at 1:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s bad enough that Juneau Christian Center believes in all of this crazy Young Earth nonsense, preaches the inerrancy of the bible, and the pastor, Mike Rose, goes on the radio and TV and blasts evolution and says that Darwin is dangerous.
It’s the fact that the church sits on property next to the largest retail store in Juneau, on some of the most valuable commercial property in town, and pays no property tax, that irks so many people here. We are subsidizing an institution which teaches lies (intelligent design), intolerance, hatred, and ignorance. It’s time to make churches pay their fair share of property tax.

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