If Sarah Palin Were in Charge

I am grateful for Robynn’s voice on Communicating Across Boundaries, whether on Friday or another day. Today she reacts to something we both found deeply offensive. We know there are varying opinions on these things. Please feel free to use the comment section to voice your thoughts, keeping our guidelines of communication and respect for honest dialogue in mind.

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My blood is boiling. I’m so furious I could spit. I just heard a segment of Sarah Palin’s speech at the recent National Rifle Association Convention. During her speech she said,

If I were in charge they would know that water boarding is how we baptize terrorists”.

As someone who takes my faith seriously I am deeply offended. Here are a couple of things I’d like to say to Ms Palin:

  1. Thank God—-You are not in charge! Jesus is Ruler Supreme. He is King and He alone is in charge!
  2. Water boarding is evil. It is torture of the worst possible variety. According to Wikipedia, waterboarding is a form of torture, more specifically a type of water torture, in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning. Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage, and death.[1] Adverse physical consequences can manifest themselves months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years. More so, torture itself tarnishes the image of God in both the one who tortures and the victim of that torture.
  3. In my faith tradition, baptism is a holy sacrament reserved for those who’ve publically declared allegiance with Jesus. He welcomes anyone to come. No one is excluded. And for those who chose to believe, to follow after him, they’re invited into the sacraments as well. Baptism is a means for people to enter into the death and resurrection experiences of Christ. They voluntarily go down in to the water, dead to themselves, their sin, their old nature. They come up out of the water, alive to Christ, to new life. It’s a beautiful statement—a public commitment– of declaring loyalty to Jesus.
  4. There are those around the world who think that baptism is forced on the naïve and culpable. There are those who believe that Christendom is still stuck in the crusades, that converts are numbered and forced to drink blood and be baptized. This is NOT true. Christians in the past who did these things were WRONG to do them. Such exploitation of the name of Jesus is evil and blasphemous. It is our job—our mandate—to demonstrate that this is no longer true. We do that by quietly loving people. By laying down our lives for them. By caring for widows and orphans, by loving the poor, by reaching out to the ostracized, the marginalized, the foreigner, the minority, the misunderstood. These are the people who Jesus came for.  He came to invite lovingly, gently, the weak and the wounded to come.
  5. Ms. Palin, these types of comments made in public places by public figures, such as yourself, do nothing to erase the evil stereotypes that exist out there about Christians. You are reinforcing things that are not true about Christianity—and by association—about Christ. Please take back this thing you’ve said. Repent. Acknowledge the harm you’ve done. Ask for forgiveness. Jesus will welcome you back.
  6. When you use the word, “terrorists”, Ms Palin, I’m assuming by the greater context that you mean Muslims. I take deep offense at this gross generalization.  Terrorists are those whose violent acts are intended to promote deep fear. Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes. They wear jeans and miniskirts. They wear the hijab and turbans. They speak English and Chinese. There are millions of Muslims who are subject, in the same ways that we are, to the terror incited by non-Muslim and Muslim terrorists. Muslims and non-Muslims feel the same emotions. They also feel afraid. When their family members die, they also grieve.
  7. The flippancy and arrogance you display when you talk about such grave subjects as waterboarding, terrorism and baptism are astounding to me. These are topics reserved for serious conversations. These subjects should be handled with sobriety and with sensitivity. These are not punchlines for your political prowess. People’s lives and souls are in question here. Please speak with respect.
  8. I do thank God that you, Ms Palin, are not in charge. I also pray for you. I pray for the Spirit to convict you. I pray you see the lack of love in your soul. I pray you begin to see the inconsistencies between what you say you believe and the ways you live out that belief.I pray you will begin to love your neighbor as yourself. Because Love Matters.

*As people of faith, Christians specifically, Robynn and I both believe that what we say, how we live out our faith publically matters. This is why, in a space generally reserved for non-political topics, we address this statement on Communicating Across Boundaries.

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20 thoughts on “If Sarah Palin Were in Charge

  1. Thank you for this post. When I first heard this statement I thought she couldn’t have really said that! How could anyone put baptism and torture together like that? Yes, “quietly loving people and laying down our lives for them” is what truly matters. So many wolves in sheep clothing calling us to do anything but that. May the quiet lovers continue to love. We know there is no greater power to change the world for good, then Christ’s love, loving through us.

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  2. Thank you for this post…well said. And, as a proud Alaskan, let me say that it saddens me that many people outside Alaska consider Sarah Palin to be our state’s spokesperson. :-(

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      1. Ha, ha…thanks. :-) By the way, we haven’t gotten any further in the Midwife series. It’s that crazy time of year when every single group/team/band/class that our 4 children are in has their end-of-the-year party/concert/award-program/field-trip. We are “out” pretty much every evening for a couple weeks…yikes glad we don’t live like this all the time! School will be out May 21st.

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  3. Yes, Sarah Palin made a pretty bad comment. Any kind of torture should be outlawed in today’s world! Sadly, some people down here in Alabama would think the comments from Sarah Plain are excellent and what is needed in America. How wrong these people are!

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  4. I, too, applaud your commentary, Robynn. I had not heard about Sarah Palin’s speech referenced here, but the remarks you quote are deeply offensive to me. Thank you for voicing my own responsive reactions (including the boiling blood) so articulately. I pray that courageous voices of integrity like yours will stand strong ground against destructive voices like Ms. Palin’s, which will then be reduced to the self-serving, misguided wimper that they truly are.

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    1. Cathy…I love how you summarized Palin’s quote: “….self-serving, misguided whimper…” She is misguided. It makes me sad…when it doesn’t make me mad!

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  5. How refreshing it is to see Christians standing up for their faith to repudiate the particular ignorance and hatred espoused by a woman who uses her religion like a hammer. Thank you for sharing your opinion, Robin. It is wonderful to know that not all Christians feel the same way as Sarah Palin.

    I listened to her entire speech and was offended in a thousand ways, not just on my own behalf as a “liberal,” but on behalf of those she would torture, those she labeled with hatred and disrespect, those she called stupid on steroids. I took offense, but also felt pity for someone who has such a restricted, limited worldview; for a woman who can’t look beyond the warped, dominionist constraints of her religious faction towards tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance of the people of the wider world. We all have to share this planet and work to solve our global issues. Thinking in such an exclusionary way does nothing to further our shared goals as thoughtful humans in a struggling world.

    Thanks for taking this subject on. Too many times when religion is used in politics, people stay silent for fear of causing offence, leaving others to wonder if all people of a particular faith share that point of view. I applaud you for speaking out.

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    1. Jenni, your comments today made me cry. I agree with you on so many levels. Palin is really to be pitied. She responds from her own fear, her own “limited worldview” (as you said). I did have a moment this morning, before Marilyn posted this piece, where I panicked. I had second thoughts. I wondered if I should soften it some. I wondered if I should change the title. But you’re right….. we dare not stay silent. We have no other choice. We must speak out. Love compels us.
      Thanks for your comments today. I’m glad you did.

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      1. Robynn, I know too well the trepidation of pressing that “send” button. I’m so glad you did. Ms. Palin’s remarks were stomach churning on so many levels. Frankly, when I first heard the news I was at a loss for words. Your words are inspired, challenging, and spot on! Your response is brilliantly put and needed to be said. Any chance you can make sure that Ms. Palin reads this?

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