Award winning spirituality and ethics columnist Douglas Todd wrote an excellent op-ed for The Vancouver Sun on October 6, 2008. In the piece, Todd consider Gov. Sarah Palin’s Christian values in light of her personal vendettas towards anyone with whom she disagrees and her vicious attacks on presidential candidate Barack Obama.
I’m afraid my earlier questions about Sarah Palin’s ethics as a self-described “Christian” are proving to have some foundation.
The ever-smiling, winking 44-year-old hockey mom added Sunday to the highly questionable things she’s done while governor of Alaska, which included pursuing vendettas, firing officials who crossed her and sometimes blurring the line between government and personal grievance.
Even London’s conservative Telegraph newspaper seems appalled at the way Palin on Sunday attacked Barack Obama for “paling around with terrorists who would target their own country.” It’s as if her us-against-them mentality frees her to release whatever outrageous statement she wants, regardless of its adherence to important facts.
Saying the “gloves are off” (presumably hockey gloves), Palin’s “terrorist” attack was a reference to Obama once being a member of a Chicago charitable group which also counted as a member William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground.
Palin launched her misguided missile even though Ayers was last active in the radical group during the presidential candidate’s childhood, i.e. when Obama was eight years old. Ayers has also long since disavowed his activities with the Weather Underground.
But that didn’t stop Palin from saying of Obama: “This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America.”
This is coming close to hate speech, to demonizing someone as the frightening “Other.” There also seems to be a subconscious suggestion that a black man is not really an American, but that’s open to interpretation. At the least, it’s the kind of vicious innuendo you hear on American right-wing “hate” radio, which seems to be overpresent in a land where many believe free speech should not be restrained by reason or civility.
As a Christian who supposedly believes in loving your neighbour as yourself, Palin might want to question this dark part of her personality. It seems the opposite of what Jesus of Nazareth would have done. Jesus was known for embracing outsiders, people whom others scorned. Here is Palin leading the mocking and ostracism. Her fellow evangelicals might want to have a heart-to-heart with her.
The Obama campaign responded on Sunday that Palin’s attack was part of a smear campaign and “gutter politics,” while other supporters suggested that the McCain campaign was merely trying to distract voters from the economy, on which Obama is deemed by many to be more competent, according to opinion polls.
Palin’s attack on Obama also came on the same day it was announced that seven Alaskan government staff are now willing to testify in the so-called Troopergate investigation, in which Palin is accused of having an official fired because he refused to fire her former trooper brother-in-law.