Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin taught in her “Bible study” class at the Assemblies of God Church in Wasilla, Alaska, that the US troops in Iraq had been sent “out on a task that is from God.” 1 She also taught the School for Ministry graduates that it was God’s will that the natural gas pipeline be built across Alaska. “God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,” she said. The fact that this pipeline would make BP, Shell and Alyeska Pipeline, sponsors of her inaugural celebration, that much more profitable was only a side effect, I guess. Of course she also said that the war in Iraq is about oil. She told BusinessWeek: “We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources.” 2 So I guess she is saying that it is God’s will that we start preemptive wars to kill people to get oil.
To be clear, there is no such thing as a holy war. Neither the Bible, nor the Orthodox Church teach that any war is just. James tells us clearly where wars come from, and he makes no exceptions for so-called Christian countries who are running out of gas. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:1-3)
President George W. Bush claimed to hear from God that he was to strike down Saddam. 3 This is while he was lying to the world about WMD’s, pressuring the CIA to come up with the right intelligence that would match his aims, and his own father, former President George H. W. Bush was telling him not to go there. If you are hearing from God, why should you listen to the CIA, the UN or your dad? Praise God and pass the ammunition!
John McCain has expressed on numerous occasions, including most recently his acceptance speech that we have a sacred obligation to win any war we engage in. This includes a preemptive war started on falsified intelligence based on a document planted by the Bush White House, because Fearless W. Leader heard the voice of God telling him to take out Saddam. By the way, intentionally targeting an individual, even in time of war, is a crime. Targeting a head of state is a war crime, a violation of the Geneva Convention (which W. claimed we are not subject to, because this is not a war), and is stupid and counter-productive, as are torture, and indeterminate, incommunicado imprisonment. John McCain used to oppose torture, but this year he voted to authorize its use in order to get the full support of the Republican Party. That one vote disqualifies him for office and would leave him open to charges of crimes against humanity in the civilized countries of the world. I guess when you are on a mission from God, you are allowed to bend the rules.
Let’s be clear about the Bush administration’s request to give the CIA an exemption from the U.S. Army’s Field Manual on Interrogation. It was opposed by the Pentagon. It was opposed by career State Department officials. It was opposed by career CIA people. Why? Because torture is inhumane and counter-productive. It does not generate reliable information. It dehumanizes us in the eyes of our enemies, thus it is an added recruiting tool for extremist groups. It endangers our people as it increases the possibility that they will be tortured upon capture. These are the reasons that torture was outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. Bush, McCain and Palin don’t need to heed common sense or history or international law, however, because they have God on their side.
The Iraq invasion was a preemptive war. America has never before rationalized such an act. The only leaders in modern history who have tried to justify such preemptive strikes are Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito, Stalin and Golda Meir (though Stalin and Meir thought better of it and decided against it). McCain has embraced the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. 4 He hasn’t chosen very honorable role models.
It’s very hard to argue with someone who says God told him or her to do something. Hitler was establishing the Third Reich to usher in the coming of the Lord. George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden are intent on starting Armageddon to bring on the coming of the Lord. Hirohito didn’t need to hear from God. According to Shinto practice, he was god. Palin’s Assemblies of God background should be troubling to any sane voter. Pentecostals believe in personal, special revelation from God on anything, and then fit the facts of the world around it. The two most prominent AG members in politics thus far have been Secretary of the Interior James Watt and Attorney General John Ashcroft. Watt didn’t have any problem with clear-cutting national forests of strip-mining in national parks, without any concern of sustainability. He felt we only needed to make sure there were enough resources for the few generations left until the Lord returned. The largest ever petition to remove someone from office was delivered to President Reagan regarding Mr. Watt. He was finally forced to resign after he made an insensitive remark about his staff in a public address. One of his more quotable quotes is: “If the trouble from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used.” 5 John Ashcroft anointed himself with Crisco before taking the oath of office. He was known for his opposition to desegregation and proposing the TIPS program where Americans were to snitch Soviet-style on their neighbors for unpatriotic behavior.
I am not saying that because James Watt and John Ashcroft were Pentecostal wackos that Sarah Palin is also. But it’s scary to think that she thinks that the war in Iraq is a task from God and that God assigned her the task of building a gas pipeline. Also, I have to question the judgment of anyone who names their children: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. Especially since they are all obviously boys’ names and three of them are girls.
People are all excited that McCain and Palin are “pro-life.” Preemptive war is not pro-life. They just don’t like paying for abortions. This isn’t pro-life. It is just cheap. Gov. Palin doesn’t like paying to help prevent teen pregnancies or care for teen mothers so they can have their babies either, as evidenced by the use of her line item veto. Bush, McCain and Palin have opposed any plans that would guarantee prenatal care for every expectant mother and healthcare for every newborn. This isn’t even cheap. It is just mean-spirited, as providing this care would prevent so many birth defects, diseases, and handicaps that it would be cost beneficial. Not to mention how many infant deaths would be prevented. Every civilized country has universal healthcare. The infant mortality rate in our inner cities is the same as that of the poorest third world countries. Shame on us! Shame on the Republican Party! Universal healthcare is pro-life.
During the Reagan and GHW Bush years abortion rates increased. During Clinton’s two terms, abortion rates and numbers went down every year. After Bush II took office, the numbers and rate started to increase again. The culture of endless war, out of control govt. debt, lack of care for the poor and working class, no hope of meaningful increase in minimum wage, cuts in WIC funding (a program which the GAO concluded was the most cost-effective program the federal govt. ran), all contributed to a hopelessness and culture of death in which more mothers chose to kill their babies than to let them come into such a world. Not discounting any of his other faults, Bill Clinton promoted a climate and vision of hope. More mothers were willing to let their babies live, as they were entering a world where there was hope for a better tomorrow.
War is never holy or pro-life.
Hope is pro-life.
Universal healthcare is pro-life.