Last year Phyllis Schlafly, the famous anti-feminist and founding member of the Council for National Policy and a woman so conservative she loathes the presidencies of both Bushes, was asked if she thought this country would ever elect a woman president. She answered that a governorship might be the best route and that Sarah Palin “is the total package. She's got a cute husband. She's got a lot of kids." But when asked if she thought Palin was ready to be President, Schlafly said unequivocally, “I don’t think so.”
In 2009 it was Schlafly who had advised Mrs. Total Package ex-Governor Palin to follow Ronald Reagan’s example after his governorship: lay low, build skills, and concentrate on select speaking engagements. We all know how that turned out.
Born-again Christians fill my address book. I actually was one for about 37 minutes. In fact, getting saved was de rigueur for all the oil rich in my East Texas hometown. Before the 1960’s, religion was for poor people and Catholics. The Born-Again Movement, which caught fire in California, changed all that.
In 1966 my mother took me to see Billy Graham--in London where we stayed at a 5-star hotel and alternated nights at the Crusade with theatre and shopping. (The most entertaining part of the Crusade was when Vietnam Protesters snuck in a banner in pieces and sewed it together during Billy’s sermon.) These days my entire hometown is born-again, as is a lot of Texas. My best friend from high school, a Jewish man who’s a partner in James Baker’s law firm, sends his daughter to a Baptist private school.
For me, nothing about Sarah Palin’s supposed Christianity is familiar. I was surprised when Bristol dropped this bombshell in an interview with Christianity Today about the Palin family’s churchgoing. “You know, we do on and off in Alaska but our schedule is so hectic right now that we haven't really been able to sit down at a church consistently every Sunday,” said Bristol.
Sit down at a church? Was that poor child confusing the House of God with Burger King?
The born-again Christians I know belong to churches. They tithe. Hell, they shed their diamonds for missionary work in Africa so they can post the photos on their Facebook pages. They even send their children to Ivy League schools. Phyllis Schlafly has a law degree from Washington University, a Master’s in Political Science from Harvard--and has called the Tea Party “futile.”
For these people, appearance matters. Going to church was the least Palin could have done to make them think she was just like them. Instead, she wore a giant Crucified Jesus rhinestone rodeo belt with her low-rise jeans and called it good.
The born-again power elite probably aren’t keen to push a frowsy fishwife (ie Not One of Christ’s finest) through the Eye of The Needle. That’s why Palin is down to angry folks in lawn chairs. Bud Paxson and his cohort may have tapped her for greatness once upon a time --and may have even engineered her sudden rise --but I’ll bet my red-letter King James Bible that Palin’s bid for Queen Esther is finished.
Or maybe not.
What about the Born-Again Under-Class who finds Palin’s messy volatility a perfect match for minor Old Testament prophecy?
According to Mudflats, a former classmate of Palin’s has described how the Assemblies of God kids ruled Wasilla High School. Call me a snob, but that fact alone would be enough to skew a girl’s world view, to grow up believing that talking in tongues and having one’s demons excised by an African voodoo priest are behaviors of a social elite. In the lower 48, Pentecostals are not exactly members of the ruling class. (Pentecostalism is booming in third world countries.The largest single Pentecostal church in the world is the Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea.)
Which brings us to what may be the real issue that fuels Tea Party mob rage and vaunteth up Sarah Louise Palin.
It damn sure isn’t religion.