The web is all a-blaze over the asinine tirade of former governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. She has turned into a useful tool for the neo-con Right, a well dressed cheerleader who can deliver the applause lines with gusto. Among her recent ranting at the NRA convention in my home state was her bluster about things would be if she were in charge: "Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.". Ugh.
Yeah that is the kind of garbage that helps explain why she is not in charge. When the rest of the country and the world (you know those godless heathens who we are supposed to be loving) sees stuff like this they assume that this is what American style "liberty" and American style "Christianity" are all about.
It is not. Or at least it shouldn't be.
To those around the world and across America who see this foolish, anti-Christian ranting and wonder how we can talk about a Jesus who taught us to love our enemies on Sunday and turn around and torture them with simulated drowning on Monday please hear me as it pertains to Ms. Palin.
She does't speak for me as someone who champions limited government and liberty.
She especially doesn't speak for me as a follower of Christ.
I am not sure what she is peddling but the "love her or leave her" nationalistic civil religion is not in any way, shape or form a faithful representation of Christianity.
Many of those who support Ms. Palin on the Right would call themselves defenders of the Constitution. I wonder what the men who wrote the Constitution would think about the state using torture to extract information from detained prisoners, prisoners who are kept overseas to prevent them from being afforded any sort of legitimate legal representation. I doubt they would approve and modern day defenders of liberty should be equally leery because the same government that can detain and torture Muslim terrorists can detain and torture American citizens who become inconvenient to the state. I am quite sure that many of those held in Guantanamo and other CIA holding facilities around the world are bad guys, the worst of the worst. They certainly would kill me and my family without hesitation. If they are not the exact sort of people we are called to reach and love like Jesus then I don't know who is. I am pretty confident that Jesus didn't intend for his disciples to only take the Gospel to any middle class white suburban family that visits their church on Sunday. He calls us to go out to those who hate us, who will persecute and maybe even kill us, confident that if we are Christians we have nothing to fear from those who kill us. In other words those who Ms. Palin would love to torture, or more precisely have tortured by someone else lest she get her own hands dirty.
I am heartened that many conservative voice are calling her out, from Joe Carter at the Gospel Coalition (who unfortunately cannot get by without a nod to defending "our culture, our future, and our lives" with violence) to Rod Dreher at the American Conservative. Unfortunately many more "conservatives", who probably spent yesterday morning in their Sunday best singing about Jesus, are today taking to the internet to call "trolls" those who raise serious, common sense questions about the wisdom of putting someone like Sarah Palin forth as representative of people who love liberty and/or people who love Jesus. It is an ugly, knee jerk, frothing at the mouth brand of a statist mentality that looks more like the fascist rallies of the early twentieth century than a movement that sees government as the problem rather than the solution. That is not hyperbole in any sense of the word. I am deadly earnest in making that comparison, a comparison that gets more apt with each passing day. Between the Right and Left in this country we are left with choosing which style of fascism we prefer.
If the Republican base wants to have as their champions the ugly, lowest common denominator, baser instinct sort of individuals like Sarah Palin or Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, then the GOP deserves to lose election after election. If the church wants to have these same people. among them rank heretics, as the poster children of "Christianity" we can expect to continue to be ineffectual in our evangelism and unfaithful in our public witness. Just leave me out of it. Sarah Palin doesn't speak for me.