Palin-spastic: Left Behind

Salon.com talks to Alaskans about Sarah Palin:

“If they ask her foreign policy questions, she’ll deflect them by saying something like, ‘I may not know a lot about Azerbaijan, but I know a lot about my country,’” predicted [an anonymous] Democratic consultant.

But the truth, said Michael Carey, former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News, is that Palin knows little about the United States either. “She’s spent her whole life up here in Alaska, except for a few years in college in Idaho.”

And a brief stint in Hawaii, also in college. She attended 5 colleges in 6 years. Why she bounced around so much isn’t clear.

“We also never thought much about her religious views — she always kept stuff like creationism and abortion in the background. But now that she might be a heartbeat from the presidency, we all better find out more about her views on the Armageddon and the End of Days.”

And an account by a Wasillian fills in those details:

In June 1997, both Palin and I had responsibilities at the graduation ceremony of a small group of Wasilla area home schoolers. …

As the ceremony concluded, I bumped into her in a hall away from other people. I congratulated her on her [mayoral] victory, and took her aside to ask about her faith. Among other things, she declared that she was a young earth creationist, accepting both that the world was about 6,000-plus years old, and that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time.

I asked how she felt about the second coming and the end times. She responded that she fully believed that the signs of Jesus returning soon “during MY lifetime,” were obvious. “I can see that, maybe you can’t – but it guides me every day.”

Our next discussion about religion was after she had switched to the less strict Wasilla Bible Church. She was speaking at, I was performing bugle, at a Veterans ceremony between Wasilla and Palmer. At this time, people were beginning to encourage her to run for Governor.

Once again, we found ourselves being able to talk privately. I reminded her of the earlier conversation, asking her if her views had changed. She was no longer “necessarily” a young earth creationist, she told me. But she strongly reiterated her belief that “The Lord is coming soon.” I was trying to get her to tell me what she felt the signs were, when she had to move on.

This is troubling. Not just the creationism, which blows away the nonsense claims that Palin hasn’t pushed for creationist policies. The premillenial dispensationalism is worrisome for schools, for the environment, and especially for foreign policy.

Remember, one of the key events leading up to the Rapture in the egregiously bad Left Behind series is a nuclear attack on Israel, launched by Russia, as part of an assault by Russia, Libya and (wait for it) Ethiopia. This is necessary to fulfill their strained reading of the Bible, the same strained reading that insists Noah brought dinosaurs, or perhaps dinosaur eggs, onto the Ark, and that one of Noah’s children or grandchildren must have led the marsupials across the waters to Australia. And Palin will see no reason not to encourage a nuclear war in the Middle East, since she presumably thinks she’s among those who will disappear before things get really bad. Nor will she see any reason to care much about the environment, or the long-term stability of Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, since the world is going to end before any of those issues become real problems. After all, as slacktivist explains in his analysis of the Left Behind books, the underlying philosophy of the premillenial dispensationalist worldview means that “you don’t give a damn about the real world … or about any of the Other People in it?”

Getting back to creationism, though, I think the national media have been too kind to Palin.


The AP writes:

Palin has not pushed creation science as governor

…after Alaska voters elected her, Palin, now Republican John McCain’s presidential running mate, kept her campaign pledge to not push the idea in the schools….

Palin’s children attend public schools and Palin has made no push to have creationism taught in them.

Neither have Palin’s socially conservative personal views on issues like abortion and gay marriage been translated into policies during her 20 months as Alaska’s chief executive. It reflects a hands-off attitude toward mixing government and religion by most Alaskans.

“She has basically ignored social issues, period,” said Gregg Erickson, an economist and columnist for the Alaska Budget Report.

McClatchy reports a different set of circumstances. They acknowledge that :

she has yet to advance legislation that insists that creationism, or “intelligent design,” be taught in public school science classes whenever biological evolution is taught — as urged by a plank in the official Alaska Republican Party platform.

But note:

That Palin hasn’t yet pushed a religious conservative agenda isn’t surprising, said state Rep. Beth Kerttula, a Juneau Democrat and House Minority Leader. So far the governor has been consumed with the complex and contentious legislation involving oil taxes and a proposed natural gas pipeline.

“She really didn’t have much opportunity” to push a social agenda, Kerttula said. Should Palin return to Juneau and not go to Washington, Kerttula said she expects the governor to focus on cultural and religious issues, like creationism and abortion.

Furthermore, Palin has already named new members of the Alaska Board of Education, a body which sets the standards for what is taught in biology classes. The governor and the legislature generally steer clear of such topics. The state’s science standards were revised in 2005, after a fight in which the word “evolution” was first added to the draft standards, then removed, then placed in parentheses, and finally returned to its rightful place. The fight was hard, but well worth it.

There is no revision scheduled, but Palin’s picks for the board would be able to reverse that progress. She has named three members of the 7-member board. None of the members have a record of promoting creationism, but such stealth tactics are far from rare.

Given the ambiguity surrounding the Board of Education, it is impossible to state with certainty that she has not pushed creation science. She may, in fact, have left landmines in key positions, individuals who will retain power over science education until 2011, at which point she may no longer even be Governor (either because of an undeserved promotion, or because of the investigations which she is currently dodging). Until these board members state their views on evolution clearly, or until they vote on evolution education, we can’t know whether her creationist views have tainted her governance.

Comments

  1. #1 Sigmund
    September 17, 2008

    If I believed the world was going to end within my lifetime I wouldn’t thinks a second about preserving the environment. I’d think there’s enough energy, oil, gas, coal etc to last us those remaining decades and any greenhousing of the climate is pointless to avoid.
    The implications for evolution teaching are probably small compared to the long term environmental consequences of such thinking.

  2. #2 RALPH
    September 17, 2008

    AMERICA NEED SARAH PALIN!!!!

  3. #3 John McKay
    September 17, 2008

    America need better educations in the grammar!!! Yes?