Sarah Palin - Possible 2012 Candidate:
Among the 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls, there are a number of different religious viewpoints. Although all of the frontrunners claim Christianity, each brings with them their personal experience and the background of their individual church and dogma. Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is particularly vocal about her faith and how it has influenced her life and career. While Palin has not officially declared her intention to run in the 2012 election, she has not yet ruled it out (as of August 2011), and is considered a strong possibility by many conservatives.
How Palin's Faith Influences Her Politics:
Palin has been very outspoken about her faith, in particular when it comes to her anti-abortion stance. When Palin learned via ultrasound that her fifth child would be born with Down’s syndrome, she said her belief in God gave her the strength to carry the pregnancy to term, and that she never considered abortion as a viable option. She believes that she and husband Todd were chosen by God “to look after such a special baby.”
Palin remains unapologetically pro-life, and is opposed to abortion. In the case of rape victims she has said, "I would counsel to choose life, and persuade them to choose life for their babies." She is also opposed to any sexual education programs that do not promote abstinence, and is against same-sex marriages and benefits for domestic partnerships.
Fringe Christian Groups:
Palin is known for allying herself with some fairly extreme fringe Christian groups. During the 2008 campaign in which she stood as John McCain’s running mate, a video from 2005 surfaced of Palin attending a service at the Wasilla Assembly of God. In the clip, Palin is surrounded by three pastors, including Thomas Muthee, a Pentecostal minister from Kenya who has achieved fame for his work in “casting out demons and witches.”
Public Statements on Faith and Religion:
During her tenure as Alaska's governor, Palin attended several different churches in both Juneau and her hometown of Wasilla, including Church on the Rock, Juneau Christian Centre and the Wasilla Bible Church.
Palin has often said that she believes America is a Christian nation, and one blessed by God. She has stated that the war in Iraq was a "task from God," and prayed for divine guidance in the issue of the proposed Alaska pipeline. It's important to note that Palin has spent most of her life in Assembly of God churches, which tend to be not only conservative but also believe in an apocalyptic end-of-times outlook, in which the forces of good (in other words, Christianity) defeat the army of evil (everyone else).
In 2010, Palin was interviewed about a proposed Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan, just a few blocks from the site of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. She told FOX News announcer Sean Hannity that she was "all about religious freedom … down the road."
In addition to being opposed to the rights of Muslims to build a community center in New York City, Palin has also been accused of being anti-Catholic, following statements she made that questioned the validity of the faith of both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the late President John F. Kennedy. Interestingly, Palin herself was baptized as a Roman Catholic, but left the faith as a teen when she began visiting Pentecostal churches with her mother.
In 2011, she was accused of promoting anti-Semitic rhetoric during an interview about the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Palin, who was taken to task for putting up images of bulls-eyes on her campaign map - including one on Giffords' congressional district -- accused her critics of "blood libel," and with it, referenced a legacy of hate. The Jewish community was quick to respond, pointing out that the term "blood libel" was also used by Adolf Hitler as justification for extermination the Jewish people of Europe.
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