The Last Days Of The Election: Apocalypse Now, Palin?
Read here for more
No one has asked the one I would most like to hear Sarah Palin answer --as she may still hover a melanoma away from holding the most important office on the planet, at one of the most crucial moments in world history.
Does Sarah Palin think we are living in the End Times? It may sound crazy to you, but I'm dead serious.
In June--just several weeks before her nomination was announced--Palin nodded along as her spiritual mentor Pastor Ed Kalnins talked about his belief that "Alaska's one of the refuge states" that people will be flocking to "in the Last Days."
Shouldn't we know if the person in line to lead our nation agrees with this statement, as the widely circulated video clip of this exchange suggests?
Just because a pastor preaches a notion doesn't mean his flock necessarily swallows that concept whole--just ask Barack Obama.
But this is not the only indicator that Palin believes the end is nigh.
An Alaskan teacher and musician, Phil Munger, has blogged about two separate occasions in which then-Mayor Palin said, "The Lord is coming soon," he writes. He says she told him," I can see that, maybe you can't-- but it guides me every day."
You may dismiss such a mindset as mere idiosyncrasy, but rapture readiness is familiar to at least one quarter of Americans who self-identify as Evangelical, especially those who are members of conservative churches like the ones the Palins have attended, where pastors routinely preach that evidence of the Second Coming is right there on CNN whenever a report airs from the Gaza Strip or the United Nations.
Biblical prophecy has long been a consuming passion in many Evangelical circles--an organizing worldview, a filter through which to understand everything from the war in Iraq to the global financial crisis.
Many eschatology-minded souls rejoiced on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the annual Days of Judgment, when the Dow closed 777 points--the holy number of God. Surely, websites buzzed, this is a sign that Jesus is en route.
As the market plummets straight to hell, is Palin herself considering the returns on her higher investment?
...When End of Days appears as literal truth to the person who may determine our foreign policy, her faith impacts us in truly gargantuan ways.
Palin may be more accurately understood as a gasp of brimstone, should she have the opportunity to make any decisions that affect more than the country's special needs children. "We're not going to get into discussing her religion," the McCain campaign told the Times soon after announcing the addition of its feisty Sister Christian to the Republican ticket.
Perhaps the McCain campaign has avoided discussing her faith because her beliefs might make Jeremiah Wright's most incendiary sermons sound positively mainline--and because a number of McCain's Republican colleagues likely subscribe to the same prophetic reading of our moment in history.
McCain tells supporters they don't need to be scared of a Barack Obama presidency, but I wonder if he could similarly assure the nation about his own choice for Vice President?
"The churches that Sarah has attended all believe in a literal translation"--or reading--"of the Bible," a Wasilla resident who has known and worked with Palin for some fifteen years told the Times, adding, "her principal ethical and moral beliefs stem from this."
This literal reading includes, of course, the Book of Revelation, John's big-budget, surrealist account of the apocalypse, as well as the prophetic words shot throughout the Old and New Testaments.
We discuss her inexperience with tabula rasa implications.
But we can't afford to ignore the fact that she says the greatest authority in her life is this brand of faith.
If Palin believes that every word of the Bible is absolute truth, and is in line to direct the future of our military and our diplomacy, her inexperience might be the least of our troubles.
Despite its professed literalism, reading prophecy is interpretive. Eschatology assesses what entities will construct the ostensibly real-life cast of the End. Popular conjecture imagines various pillars of the Islamic world, the United Nations, and the European Union as havens for the Antichrist.
Were Palin to become the Decider in Chief, would she fight these forces, confident that, as she has said, she's carrying out "God's will?"
When Palin talks about Putin "rearing his head"--is she telling her fellow Christian soldiers that she agrees with many of them who think that Russia might be The Beast?
And don't forget Iran.
Palin explained her policy leanings this way to Katie Couric: "It is obvious to me who the good guys are in this one and who the bad guys are. The bad guys are the ones who say Israel is a stinking corpse and should be wiped off the face of the earth."
This may be more than a continuation of the reductive Manichaeism of the Bush administration, which the world perceives as fighting crusades rather than just wars, but rather the trailer to a real -life reenactment of scenes from the bestselling Left Behind novels, in which the Tribulation Force battles the minions of the Antichrist, who happens to be the U.N. Secretary General.
We know that Palin's perspective on family planning and creationism has not yet impacted Alaska policy during her short time behind the governor's desk.
But as a possible president, Palin would not merely oversee legal adjustments, but wage war and diplomacy.
When her phone rings at 3am, would she reach for her worn Bible on the bedside table to confirm that her crisis management is in line with Biblical prophecy?
And would she do so ballasted by a belief that she is ordained by God to do so, that, as she has said "there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan?"
That, to me, would be a real tribulation.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Last Days Of The Election: Apocalypse Now, Palin?