ABC News Ties Sarah Palin to Pentecostalism

Sarah Palin hasn't been a member of the Assemblies of God church for six years but that hasn't kept ABC News from using that church to attempt to smear Palin as some sort of religious loon. Perhaps they thought that Pentecostal denomination was easier to use as a sledge hammer against Palin than her current membership in a nondemonational church. Almost predictably the accompanying video that you can see in this ABC News report starts off showing Pentecostals speaking in tongues along with mentioning that other Christians often refer to them as  holy rollers. Here are excerpts from the written report (emphasis mine):

For two decades, Palin was a member of an Assemblies of God church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. In 2002, years before she was elected governor of Alaska, Palin and her family switched to a nondenominational church, but Palin still returns to her old church on special occasions. 

And yet this ABC News report focuses on her previous denomination.  Following the intro, the report returns to its obsession with speaking in tongues:

The most scrutinized and least understood aspect of the Assemblies of God Church and Pentecostalism in general is the ancient practice of "speaking in tongues." 

"Speaking in tongues is a heavenly language," said Donna Morgan, a member of the Pennsylvania-based Freedom Valley Worship Center who embraces the experience. "That we're going to God and Jesus intercedes for us." 

Pentecostalism has been described as evangelical experience on steroids. Like evangelicals, Pentecostals believe that the Bible is the literal word of God and that the end of time is near. However, Pentecostals also believe that the Holy Spirit can give you gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophesy, and divine healing. 

Okay, ABC News. We got it. Speaking in tongues even though Palin is no longer a member of Assemblies of God.  The report then suggests that Palin's membership in that church might have affected her personality in strange ways:

As America gets a crash course in Sarah Palin, the question has been raised of how her two decades as a member of the Assemblies of God church in Wasilla has shaped her personality. If elected, Sarah Palin would become the most powerful Pentecostal in U.S. history. So how has this church shaped her as a leader? 

Note to ABC News: Sarah Palin hasn't been a member of the Assemblies of God for six years so how would that make her  "the most powerful Pentecostal in U.S. history?" Didn't you even read your own report about her being a member of a nondenominational church? However, ABC News continues to assume Palin is still a Pentecostal, while also slamming evangelicals:

"Sarah Palin, if she was just a plain Evangelical woman, would have a tough time thinking that she could be VP," said University of Rochester religion professor Anthea Butler. "An evangelical woman might have issues with submission. What's gonna happen with my kids? But a Pentecostal woman is saying God is calling me, I'm gonna answer this call." 

See, Sarah Palin quickly accepted the offer to become John McCain's running mate so that must mean she is still secretly a Pentecostal. At least that is the inference that this ABC News report is making as you can also see here:

In a video of Palin speaking at her former church after she had become governor, she talks about the war in Iraq and a gas pipeline in terms of god's will. This is a common notion for Pentecostals who believe god regularly intervenes in human affairs. 

The report laughably concludes with quoting Palin's former pastor twice to suggest that Palin (gasp!) prays in secret to a lower-case God:

But Palin has said that she would not allow her personal beliefs to shape public policy and her former pastor say that's true.

"It's not like she's going to be in a government meeting quoting bible verses and telling people what they ought to believe," he said. "But privately I wouldn't be surprised if Sarah's walking down the street and offering a prayer to God for help or guidance."

But it wouldn't be completely surprising if Sarah walked down the street and offered a prayer to god for a little help or guidance.

I guess the ABC News writer, Dan Harris, was just unable to force himself to capitalize "God." Meanwhile the accompanying video concluded by mentioning a couple of Pentecostal public figures of the past, both "evil" conservatives:

Other high ranking government officials with Pentecostal roots include the former Attorney General, John Ashcroft, and the former Interior Secretary under Ronald Reagan, James Watt.

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P.J. Gladnick's picture