New revelations re Palin and dominionists
[Welcome, Digby readers! I'm really not sure this series of posts has stood the test of time. The basic problem is that information on Palin was so polluted by her detractors in 2008 that it's almost impossible to assess accurately, and much of this series is self-referential. --lambert]
Much like the US Postal Service, neither rain nor snow nor 70% of my hometown's power infrastructure being eaten by Ike will stop me from posting the latest on Palin's connections with dominionists.
We've posted before on her initial outing as a dominionist stealth candidate, her links to "Joel's Army" including Alaskan state funds being used for groups promoting apocalyptic theology, and her attempt at a back-door book ban in conjunction with a crusade by one of her home churches.
Today, we find out even more info on the book-ban attempt giving further proof that Palin has *not* dropped her links with Joel's Army--and if that weren't enough, there's some very telling evidence from the horse's mouth.
More info on the attempted book-ban--and its theological connections
Recently, a new article in Salon gives more disturbing info regarding Palin's attempt at an end-run against Wasilla Public Library's book-challenge policy--and more evidence that this was part of an attempt by several dominionist churches, with Wasilla A/G at the front, to purge LGBT-supportive books from both libraries and bookstores.
Since the initial links between Palin and neopente dominionist groups (including two separate Assemblies congregations linked to the "Joel's Army" movement as well as a third "independent" neopente denomination also promoting Joel's Army theology) have come out, there's been quite a lot of spin control--including claims that she left Wasilla A/G because it was "too extreme" (despite apparently having appeared regularly at Assemblies churches, including Wasilla A/G and at the district H/Q even as late as June 2008--four years after she claims to have left; not in a pattern fitting with someone leaving a church because of claims of being "too extreme").
Unfortunately, the Salon article would seem to prove the lie to this--with info indicating Wasilla A/G not only supported her but actually proclaimed her as the chosen candidate of "Joel's Army"--whilst carefully warning their parishoners to keep mum to the press:
WASILLA, Alaska -- The Wasilla Assembly of God, the evangelical church where Sarah Palin came of age, was still charged with excitement on Sunday over Palin's sudden ascendance. Pastor Ed Kalnins warned his congregation not to talk with any journalists who might have been lurking in the pews -- and directly warned this reporter not to interview any of his flock. But Kalnins and other speakers at the service reveled in Palin's rise to global stardom.
It confirmed, they said, that God was making use of Wasilla. "She will take our message to the world!" rejoiced an Assembly of God youth ministry leader, as the church band rocked the high-vaulted wooden building with its electric gospel.
The article gives some very revealing information regarding the hostile environment that Wasilla A/G tried to create:
When it was published in 1995, Bess' book caused an immediate storm in the Mat-Su Valley, an evangelical stronghold dotted with storefront churches. Conservative ministers targeted the book, and the only bookstore in the valley that dared to stock it -- Shalom Christian Books and Gifts – soon dropped it after the owner was barraged with angry phone calls. The Frontiersman, the local newspaper that ran a column by Bess for seven years, fired him and ran a vicious cartoon that suggested even drooling child molesters would be welcomed by Bess' church.
(Of note, the equation of paedophiles and LGBT people tends to be all too common in Assemblies churches--here's an example from my own hometown.)
There's also some info indicating that the attempt to go around the Wasilla Public Library's book-challenge policy was in fact inspired by the ongoing Joel's Army fatwa against "Pastor, I Am Gay" (which even extended to the point of literal pickets against bookstores daring to carry the book):
And after she became mayor of Wasilla, according to Bess, Sarah Palin tried to get rid of his book from the local library. Palin now denies that she wanted to censor library books, but Bess insists that his book was on a "hit list" targeted by Palin. "I'm as certain of that as I am that I'm sitting here. This is a small town, we all know each other. People in city government have confirmed to me what Sarah was trying to do."
And--as it turns out--her reported membership in "Feminists For Life" and statements on being virulently anti-abortion also directly influenced her policies in Wasilla--and in a different way than the infamous "make them pay for their own rape kits" way.
More evidence of theology and policy mixing
The article also notes an attempt to steeplejack community hospital boards, combined with an attempt to effectively ban abortion in the borough--one which led to the state of Alaska stepping in and ruling it unconstitutional:
Soon after the book controversy, Bess found himself again at odds with Palin and her fellow evangelicals. In 1996, evangelical churches mounted a vigorous campaign to take over the local hospital's community board and ban abortion from the valley. When they succeeded, Bess and Dr. Susan Lemagie, a Palmer OB-GYN, fought back, filing suit on behalf of a local woman who had been forced to travel to Seattle for an abortion. The case was finally decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital must provide valley women with the abortion option.
At one point during the hospital battle, passions ran so hot that local antiabortion activists organized a boisterous picket line outside Dr. Lemagie's office, in an unassuming professional building across from Palmer's Little League field. According to Bess and another community activist, among the protesters trying to disrupt the physician's practice that day was Sarah Palin.
Another attempt at governmental steeplejacking firmly linked to Palin was what may well have been the very model for her attempted run as a dominionist stealth VP--namely school boards, a target for dominionist steeplejacks-by-stealth since the Christian Coalition's early organisational days in the early 80s.
Even worse, there are indications she has answered the question on whether or not she followed dominionist--and specifically neopentecostal dominionist--theology in governmental decision-making:
Another valley activist, Philip Munger, says that Palin also helped push the evangelical drive to take over the Mat-Su Borough school board. "She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the board," said Munger, a music composer and teacher. "I bumped into her once after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God. I said, 'Sarah, how can you believe in creationism -- your father's a science teacher.' And she said, 'We don't have to agree on everything.'
"I pushed her on the earth's creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she'd seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them."
Munger also asked Palin if she truly believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. "She looked in my eyes and said, 'Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.'"
As bad as this is, there is still far worse.
Palin's connections with Gothard--and queenmaking by the heart of the "Joel's Army" movement
Recently, links have been found between Sarah Palin and one of the more distinctly coercive "Joel's Army" groups out there--namely, Bill Gothard's "International Association of Character Cities", one of a veritable hive of frontgroups run by Gothard:
According to articles in today’s Daily Oklahoman and Washington Post, when she was mayor of Wasilla AK, Sarah Palin “spearheaded” efforts to establish the town as as “a community of character” via the International Association of Character Cities (IACC). What these stories don’t mention is that the Oklahoma City-based IACC is a secular front for Chicago millionaire evangelist Bill Gothard.
. . .
1) When she introduced the "Character Cities" program in Wasilla, did then-Mayor Palin inform other council members that it was a front for Bill Gothard?
In 2006, Arizona State Treasurer David Petersen was forced to resign after getting busted for accepting commissions for implementing Gothard’s Character Training programs in the Grand Canyon state.
2) Has Sarah Palin received any income from the IACC or other organizations affiliated with Bill Gothard? Are she and "First Dude" Todd Palin going to release their tax returns as Joe and Jill Biden have done?
As The Beacon and others seek answers to these and other questions, we respectfully urge Governor Palin, good Christian that she is, to seek guidance from the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s "Character Quality of the Month" for September 2008: TRUTHFULNESS.
The links with Gothard are particularly disturbing. Gothard's nest of fronts are among those directly provable to be running training camps for "God Warriors With Guns" and also have a history of links with "Christian nationalist" secessionists and racists. This is, of course, on top of actively infiltrating police and other public safety agencies to convert those to wings of "Joel's Army", and the promotion of religiously motivated child abuse so extreme that it's been linked to murder-suicides due to those being tortured finally snapping.
And...disturbingly..."Joel's Army" certainly seems to be getting the signal on their own end, as she is explicitly being promoted even more on their ends.
One example comes from Fire In My Bones (yes, "Joel's Army" groups love fire imagery) literally comparing Sarah Palin to the Biblical prophet Deborah. The original post seems to have been pulled, but the article was reportedly published in Charisma Magazine, and what is available is disturbing indeed:
A prominent evangelical figure in the U.S. this week said Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin is a modern-day incarnation of the Biblical prophet, Deborah - primed to miraculously slay her nation's enemies on the battlefield.
Writing in his influential magazine, Charisma, editor J. Lee Grady likened the 44-year-old Alaskan governor to Deborah, the Old Testament prophet "who rallied God’s people to victory at a time when ancient Israel was being terrorized by foreign invaders."
Evangelicals who don't support Charisma worry that J. Lee Grady has not only embraced Sarah Palin as a prophet, but in 2005 heartily endorsed Todd Bentley, the disgraced B.C-based faith healer.
Yes, you're reading this right; Palin is now being actively promoted within Joel's Army circles as being one of the very generals of their holy war.
And the article notes just how bluntly the point is being made:
As Grady wrote in this week's column, the gender of the Old Testament prophet Deborah "didn’t stop her from amassing an army; she inspired the people in a way no man could. She and her defense minister, Barak, headed to the front lines and watched God do a miracle on the battlefield."
Grady continues: "In her song in Judges 5:7, Deborah declares: 'The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel'... Sometimes it takes a true mother to rally the troops."
Even worse, she's being promoted as a walking, talking prophecy-in-the-flesh by those promoting holy war with America by the same author:
Talk about a role model. Palin’s life is a prophecy to America. She doesn’t have to preach against abortion. She and her family, even with their flaws, are the embodiment of the compassionate pro-life values America desperately needs to adopt.
The explicit promotion of Palin as a latter-day end-times prophet is disturbing indeed--and a dangerous sign, a strong sign that Palin getting close to the Presidency could have the whole world's fate riding on it.