I was rather amazed at the headlines about Sarah Palin coming from the Associated Press following her ABC interview with Charles Gibson:
In addition to it’s “God and war” bit, another AP story had the title, “Palin leaves open option of war with Russia.”
Somehow, when I watched the interview, I didn’t hear her threatened to bomb Russia. In fact, she took nearly the identical position that Barack Obama has embraced: that Georgia should become a member of NATO – which would mean that other NATO countries would be obligated to come to her aid should she be attacked.
Obama has said: “I have consistently called for deepening relations between Georgia and transatlantic institutions, including a Membership Action Plan for NATO, and we must continue to press for that deeper relationship.”
But somehow the headlines don’t morph him into a warmongering holy warrior when he takes the same position.
Ah, liberals say; it’s different, because Sarah Palin talks about God. But so does Barack Obama, whenever it suits him.
Let’s consider the “God and war” part of the interview:
GIBSON: 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: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.
GIBSON: Exact words.
Well, not quite. Here’s what Sarah Palin actually said:
“Pray for our military. He [Palin’s son] is going to be deployed in September to Iraq – pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right for this country – that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what he have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan and that it is God’s plan.”
Gibson wasn’t quite fair; he stripped Palin’s words of context in a way that made it sound as though she were some kind of Crusading Holy Warrior. What she really was was a mother praying for her son, for his fellow soldiers, and for the leaders who would command him.
Think about it: should we NOT pray for our military? Is that what Democrats want? Should we NOT pray that our leaders are sending them out to do God’s will? Should we pray that our leaders DON’T do God’s will? It’s really pretty incredible.
PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words.
But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.
That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.
GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”
PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That, in my world view, is a grand — the grand plan.
GIBSON: But then are you sending your son on a task that is from God?
PALIN: I don’t know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.
Are Sarah Palin’s words and prayers out of step with the roots of America and its great leaders from the past? Or is it rather the Democrats who attack her as some religious lunatic who invokes God in a dangerous way who are terribly out of step?
Before you answer, consider the following:
Abraham Lincoln proclaimed “A Proclamation For a Day of National Humiliation Fasting and Prayer” during the height of the Civil War.
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
And Americans – by the tens of millions – in factories, in offices, and in their homes – dropped to their knees and joined with their President in incredibly earnest prayer for our soldiers, for their safety, their resolve, and their success.
We in this country, in this generation, are– by destiny rather than choice– the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility– that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint– and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal– and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
If Democrats want to have any claim to the mantle of FDR, and of Kennedy, then they had better not question Sarah Palin’s religion OR her prayers. The fact that so many Democrats do precisely that – in the face of the statements of faith in God in the face of conflict – proves just how far away from their past Democrats have truly fallen.
Let me conclude by providing a few passages from a speech that John F. Kennedy offered as a Senator in 1955:
I say this and not because I believe Christianity is a weapon in the present world struggle, but because I believe religion itself is at the root of the struggle, not in terms of the physical organizations of Christianity versus those of Atheism, but in terms of Good versus Evil, right versus wrong, in terms of “the stern encounter” of which Cardinal Newman so prophetically wrote:
“Then will come the stern encounter when two real and living principles, simple, entire, and consistent, one in the church and the other out of it, at length rush upon one another contending nor for names and words or half views, but for elementary notions and distinctive moral characteristics.”
This is not to say that we have overlooked religion. Too often we have utilized it as a weapon, broadcast it as propaganda, shouted it as a battle cry. But in “the stern encounter”, in the moral struggle, religion is not simply a weapon – it is the essence of the struggle itself. The Communist rulers do not fear the phraseology of religion, or the ceremonies and churches and denomination organizations. On the contrary, they leave no stone unturned in seeking to turn these aspects of religion to their own advantage and to use the trappings of religion in order to cement the obedience of their people. What they fear is the profound consequences of a religion that is lived and not merely acknowledged. They fear especially man’s response to spiritual and ethical stimuli, not merely material. A society which seeks to make the worship of the State the ultimate objective of life cannot permit a higher loyalty, a faith in God, a belief in a religion that elevates the individual, acknowledges his true value and teaches him devotion and responsibility to something beyond the here and the now. The communists fear Christianity more as a way of life than as a weapon. In short, there is room in a totalitarian system for churches – but there is no room for God. The claim of the State must be total, and no other loyalty, and no other philosophy of life can be tolerated.
At first glance it might seem inevitable that in a struggle where the issue is the supremacy of the moral order, we must be victorious. That it is not inevitable, is due to the steady attrition in our faith and belief, a disease from which we in the West are suffering heavily. The communists have substituted dialectical materialism for faith in God; we on our part have substituted too often cynicism, indifference and secularism. We have permitted the communists too often to choose the ground for the struggle. We point with pride to the great outpourings of our factories and assume we have therefore proved the superiority of our system. We forget that the essence of the struggle is not material, but spiritual and ethical. We forget that the purpose of life is the future and not the present.
We cannot separate our lives into compartments, either as individuals or as a nation. We cannot, on the one hand, run with the tide, and on the other, hold fast to Catholic principles.
Here at Assumption we are taught that Christianity is a way of life, not a means to an end: that eternal truths and the problems of this world cannot be kept separate. You who are graduating from this College today know this to be true and it is your responsibility as well as your opportunity by your works and example to stimulate a revival of our religious faith, to renew the battle against weary indifference and inertia, against the washing away of our religious, ethical and cultural foundations.
What happened to Democrats?