Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Sarah Palin's "Planet Earth" and the End Times

No, bless YOU!When Sarah Palin began shopping around a "Planet Earth-type" reality series based in Alaska earlier this month, the media responded with its usual gleeful incredulity: Caribou Barbie on a fishing boat! The former governor is reportedly seeking upwards of $1 million per episode, and, with Discovery and A&E interested in the project, she just might get it. Not only are her antics the best thing for Internet pageviews since Paris Hilton invented the no-panties dismount, they're TV ratings gold. Jimmy Fallon said it best, "Any reality show about Sarah Palin will have to compete with that other reality show about Sarah Palin: the news."

If you're among those speculating about Palin's intentions, I'm here to help. As a casualty of a tongues-speaking, faith-healing, demon-battling storefront church childhood, I keep track of Pentecostals and Charismatics the way some people stalk abusive exes, and I have a sick feeling that I can decode this new iteration of her mission for you.

"Planet Earth," like many of Palin's favorite phrases, has one innocuous set of associations for the population at large, and also an inflammatory shadow resonance for her base. While most of us naturally think of the popular documentary series, the touchstone for holy-rollers is Hal Lindsey's The Late, Great Planet Earth, an incendiary fundamentalist text published in 1970 that forecast the imminent dawn of the End Times.

Lindsey purported to read the Bible in conjunction with the events of the day, and advanced a detailed prophecy: within a decade, the Antichrist would wrest control from the world's governments, the Jews would flock to Israel, war would erupt in the Middle East, plagues would rain down, and Spirit-filled Christians would need to convert as many heathens as possible while preparing to be swept away in the Rapture.

Those Left Behind would endure the Tribulation starving and diseased; any who still failed to repent or who took the Mark of the Beast — bar codes on their hands and foreheads — before the Lord's return would be consigned to the Lake of Fire for all eternity.

Planet Earth was the "no. 1 non-fiction bestseller of the decade," according to the New York Times. It had its own shelf at my mother's fundamentalist bookstore.

Since then, Lindsey has (with his co-author) published sequels — including Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth, The Liberation of Planet Earth, and Planet Earth: The Final Chapter — and become one of the Rapture Ready crowd's elder statesmen.

During the last presidential campaign, he emerged to proclaim Obama a messenger sent by Satan to pave the way for the Antichrist. Other End Times pundits argued that Obama is the Antichrist. No doubt there were vicious arguments between the factions about how the Tribulation countdown clock should be adjusted, but when Assembly-of-God-raised Sarah Palin was named McCain's running-mate, the fundies united to rejoice. She had, they felt sure, been sent by God to battle the Satanic Obama.

I suspect Palin herself believes God chose her for this purpose.

Palin's autobiography, Going Rogue, is an erratic, cagey, and self-glorifying book. It's also (thanks to her ghostwriter) a canny exercise in dog whistle politics, a narrative intended to electrify her base while benignly appealing to the broadest possible audience.

Her family, she says, left the Catholic church after Palin's mother "became interested in an expanded faith," "sought further spiritual fulfillment," and turned to the "most ‘alive' congregation," "our local Assembly of God." "Alive" in this context means Spirit-filled — tongues-speaking, faith-healing, prophesying, demon-eradicating — in contrast to traditional (as my mother would say, "dead") Protestant outfits like the Baptists and Methodists and Lutherans.

Palin depicts her race for governor as a David-and-Goliath fight, one she valiantly took on because of a "fire in my belly" that led her toward the victory God had planned for her. "Fire" reads like mere passion to the uninitiated, but for Palin and her ilk, it's a signal of God's anointing, evidence of a spiritual design and blessing that covers her political career — and, as the book winds on, her decision to jump from the governorship. Whatever Palin does, then, is what God intended; those who question her are by definition ungodly.

Mocked a couple weeks ago for writing part of a Tea Party convention speech on her hand, she defended herself by citing Isaiah 49:16: "'See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.'"

"If it was good enough for God, scribbling on the palm of his hand," she said, "it's good enough for me,"

Going Rogue craftily implies a distance between Palin and the Wasilla Assembly of God, the Pentecostal church she was baptized into in the frigid waters of Little Beaver Lake as a child and officially left a few years ago.

Although she characterizes her former house of worship as a place "I hadn't attended regularly since I was a teenager," three months before landing on the Republican ticket she visited the church, stood at the pulpit, and spoke of "having grown up here, and having little kids grow up here also." She joked that, because of her background, "Nothing freaks me out about the worship service."

While standing before the congregation that day, Palin allowed the pastor and another minister to lay hands on her and to pray that the Lord would give her wisdom and strength to make the right decisions about "natural resources" as Alaska becomes "a refuge for the lower forty-eight" in "the last days."

She giddily recalled the day in 2005 that demon-obsessed Kenyan bishop Thomas Muthee laid hands on her for victory in politics. "He didn't know what I was going to do," she said, but he's "so bold," he just kept saying, "Lord, make a way." Muthee also called on God to protect Palin from "every form of witchcraft." (Those last three links are to videos, by the way, so you can see the proceedings for yourself. The Muthee clip is especially disturbing. A warning for anyone with a background like mine: may induce flashbacks.)

To view her submission to these prayers as political pandering is to underestimate the zeal and hubris of someone like Palin. "'She scares me,'" a liberal Wasilla pastor has said. "'She's Jerry Falwell with a pretty face… [P]eople in this country don't grasp what this person is all about. The key to understanding Sarah Palin is understanding her radical theology."

Both Palin and her former pastor have said that they expect Jesus to return in their lifetimes. Other pastors with whom she's connected have made similar remarks.

This is pretty mainline evangelical stuff, but there's every reason to believe her religious convictions only get more extreme. If the media spent less time being entertained by Palin's antics, and more examining her connections, they'd find ample evidence of her fanaticism.

Bruce Wilson and others have done an excellent job compiling proof of Palin's connection to a Charismatic group of New Apostolics, who advance "the most radical restructuring of Christianity since the Reformation" and "believe they are unifying an end time church that will harvest millions of souls before the return of Jesus."

In a 2008 sermon, New Apostolic Mary Glazier repeatedly Hallelujahed over Palin, who she says joined her prayer group in 1989, at twenty-four years old, and spoke at that time of entering politics, and who ultimately dedicated Alaska to Jesus Christ in her gubernatorial address many years later. ("Hallelujah! Hallelujah!")

Evidently Palin really does — or until recently did — look to Glazier for spiritual guidance. Earlier in 2008, according to a profile in the Christian magazine Charisma, Palin called Glazier, "asked her to pray with her over the phone," and invited her to the Governor's prayer breakfast.

Shortly before the 2008 presidential election, Glazier predicted that a terrorist event would leave "Sarah Palin standing alone … mantled with the American flag. The flag was upside down because things are inverted (upside down) right now. I knew she was stepping into an office that she was mantled for."

"God," Glazier has said, "is preparing a people to displace the ones whose sin is rising… [One group] is removed, and the church moves in and takes the territory…. [The displaced people] are given an opportunity to change allegiances." How thoughtful.

Not only Palin, but Alaska itself, has been chosen. Glazier sees "the membrane [of the Spirit of God] bulging over this state. There is a fullness that we are coming into. And God … is going to cause something to happen out of the land of Alaska, and it will sweep south and across because Alaska is one of the global gates from the earth."

Like Pat Robertson, Hal Lindsey, and many other fundamentalist leaders, Glazier believes in "Spiritual Mapping" — the idea that Satan can and does possess entire territories, while the Lord, with the help of Christians like her, keeps other areas holy.

John Dawson's Taking Our Cities For God: How to Break Spiritual Strongholds is a seminal book in this movement. Building on the exorcism obsession of 80s Charismatics, he emphasized the need to "deliver the dark city."

"According to the Bible our lives are lived in the midst of an invisible spiritual war," he wrote. "Have you thought about the battle for your immediate neighborhood?"

If not, Dawson and friends have thought about it for you: "We associate New York with mammon, Chicago with violence, Miami with political intrigue. Getting the exact name of demons at any level is not necessary, but it is important to be aware of the specific nature or type of oppression."

Have you ever seen a Charismatic deliverance session? No? Here you go.

Now imagine this kind of delusion encompassing a preacher's perception of an entire country, and you start to get some sense of how frightening the implications are of a televangelist like Pat Robertson (who is technically a Southern Baptist but seems to have veered Charismatic) saying Haiti is cursed because of a deal with the devil.

In 2005, Jeff Sharlet visited Global Harvest's World Prayer Center, the Spiritual Warfare headquarters, and reported on their computerized mapping database and "Worldwide Focus" prayer requests.

Sometimes these are domestic-USA: Pray for the Arlington Group, pastors working with Whitehouse to renew Marriage Amendm. Pray for appts. of new justices. Pray for Pastor meetings with Amb. of Israel, and President Bush. Lord, let them speak only your words, represent YOU! Bless! But more often they are international- N. KOREA: Pray God will crush demonic stronghold and communist regime of Kim Jung Il.

The Iraqis come up often, particularly with regard to their conversion: Despite the efforts of the news media, believing soldiers and others testify to the effective preaching of the Gospel, and the openness of so many to hear of Jesus. Pray for continued success! ….

The most common Iraq-related prayer requests, however, are strategic in the most worldly sense, such as this one: Baghdad-God, press back the enemy…

The notion of Spiritual Warfare in the End Times is common to all the Charismatic sects I've been exposed to. My mother (a sometime preacher) and her friends have been combating demons and awaiting the Rapture since 1979.

What's alarming to me about Global Harvest, though, is that it seems (from the outside; my mom and I don't talk about these things anymore, so my window into this world is limited now) to be highly organized and well-funded. It's gathering many disparate Pentecostal and Charismatic groups under its umbrella as it divides the world into Satanic and godly zones and prepares for a holy battle.

Does Palin have the same plans? Well, she's connected to Thomas Muthee, Mary Glazier and other Global Harvest associates.

She also toes the fundamentalist line on the Middle East. Just last week she said Obama should push the reset button on our relations with our ally Israel. "'The Obama Administration has decided to escalate, make unilateral demands of Israel, and threaten the very foundation of the US-Israel relationship,'" she wrote. "'The Obama Administration needs to open its eyes and recognize that it is only Iran and her terrorist allies that benefit from this manufactured Israeli controversy.'"

When she met with evangelist Billy Graham last year, she "quizzed him on the presidents he's known and wanted his take on what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq."

"I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon," she told Barbara Walters, "because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don't think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand."

As Rod Dreher observes, one expert estimates that between 50 and 60 million American evangelicals share Palin's belief "about the Jewish ingathering to Israel in advance of the Apocalypse — but can you imagine an American president making her foreign policy based on a belief that The Late, Great Planet Earth is a reliable source of information about the future?"

Like Glazier, Palin believes her home state is special. Alaskans, she said in her first speech as Governor, "live in a land that God, with incredible benevolence, decided to overwhelmingly bless."

"I could feel the energy in that arena," she wrote, "and I knew it could flow across the entire state… and there'd be new energy for a new future!"

"Alaska is all over the world map right now," she told the Wasilla Assembly of God in 2008, as she called on God to give the state a pipeline and urged the congregation to pray that the United States is doing His will in Iraq. "What comes from this church," she said, "I think has great destiny." She asked the Lord to grant them a "spirit of prophecy" for the days ahead.

Viewed in light of all the End-Times mumbo-jumbo, Palin's retirement makes a certain amount of (addled) sense. Why settle for a mere governorship when you are meant to be Pre-Tribulation Queen of the Righteous as the United States government falls?

Palin's holy zone, naturally, would be headquartered in her home state. As Jews gather in Israel, the Antichrist appears, Satan activates the heathens, and the spiritual battle begins, her flock is intended to migrate and join her there.

True, she's not ruling out a run for the presidency. Perhaps the Lord has not yet made her path to rulership clear, so she has to hedge her bets. Luckily, Planet Earth: Alaska will help no matter how He directs her path!

What better way to let the Christian soldiers know where to congregate than a family-friendly educational show focused on the The Last Frontier? A show that stresses Alaska's beauty, diversity and natural resources. A show that advances a creationist agenda. And a show that, like Going Rogue, speaks from time to time of aliveness, energy and fire — terms that inspire Palin's (and God's) future army while just sounding pretty to everybody else.

Maud Newton has been writing about writing and reading at her blog since 2002.

53 Comments / Post A Comment

Ronit (#1,557)

This article was more batshit insane than anything Sarah Palin has ever said/done. Congratulations!

If you're saying that Sarah Palin's world view, now translated to you, is more insane than her carefully constructed public persona, well, that's the point. (Congratulations!)

Anyone who has ever been a part of a pentecostal church or sect felt a shudder of immediate recognition when Sarah said "More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead." The scary thing about this well-researched post is that it's absolutely not sensational, though it's almost impossible to talk about this stuff and sound credible, because it's literally nuts. But there's certainly enough citation here to back this up. Spiritual warfare may not be real, but having a leader who thinks it is is really scary.

deepomega (#1,720)

If "well-researched" means full of links, then I guess so. But in this case the links are goddamn insane. There are two types of evidence provided: Her attending a church years ago, and speaking positively about it while at that church, and dog-whistle style phraseology.

For the first, I direct you towards the Obama-Wright kerfuffle. For the second, when your leading example is that when a "Planet Earth" style reality show, pitched to Discovery is actually going to be… what? Cryptoeschatonimmanentizing Revelations-style reality show? Yeah, no.

Occam's Razor. Either every word Palin chooses (with her extremely gifted writing and speaking abilities) is actually a two-sided coin meant to confuse us non-religious, or she is a greedy idiot who wants to have a TV show so she can make more money than she would've made as a Governor. Huh.

beatbeatbeat (#3,187)

I dunno, I'd be really surprised if she wasn't saying a lot of that stuff intentionally. She may or may not believe that she's been put on earth to save christians from the antichrist, but she sure knows who she can count on to buy her book/watch her on tv/etc…

CaptainSunset (#2,567)

Um… ok. Like a wild Grizzly bear, Sarah Palin might be scary to look at, but the really gross shit is what is rotting in her den. Omega, not everything she says is some form of crypto speak. But conservative and religious movements often do use coded language to convey ideas that they don't think will go over well in the public arena. ex the term "Family Values" is used because they can't say God hates ___.
The show is going to be about her saying folksy shit and occasional religious weirdness to get the message out "hey come here in the End Times you betcha."

Ron Obvious (#351)

Stupidity and the cunning of a wharf rat aren't mutually exclusive properties. Read "Elmer Gantry" for more insight into what Maud's saying here. She's dead on target for my money.

Ronit (#1,557)

I think the Obama / Wright comparison is spot on.

This whole thing reads like a left-wing equivalent of the crazy conspiratorial rants about Obama's Kenyan Muslim background and commie upbringing and whatnot.

Religious movements all have their own code words or, to sound less spooky: shorthand. When my rapture ready parents' cell group (that was what they called biblestudy) studied "The Late, Great Planet Earth" in the mid '80s, they referred to it as "Planet Earth." It is perfectly Occam's Razory to ask if Sarah, with her background so illustrated here, was doing the same. It's extremely unlikely that Sarah's continued use the common phrases of rapture culture are a coincidence. And, really, again, to direct you to her "Jewish people" line — those are words that could only have been spoken by a rapture believer, or one who wishes to reach out to rapture believers. If you dismiss this report from someone who grew up in the culture and knows it, you have to admit you believe in a conspiracy of former pentecostals all projecting the same world view on Sarah Palin. Occam's Razor wouldn't lead you there, either. The most obvious explanation is that you know a lot less about Sarah Palin's theology than Maud Newton does.

Yeah, though there is some similarity between this and the Obama/Wright thing, I don't recall seeing any videos of Obama actually participating in any of Reverend Wright's more objectionable activities, unlike, say, the video capture above.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

Thank you, Lindsay, for articulately explaining this. It's not a crazy conspiracy piece, it's a glimpse into fundie world. The post may be a little overly alarmist, but all this shit is real, folks. I guess I never considered how bizarre it sounds to people unfamiliar with modern fundamentalism.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I can see where the author's coming from – I've also seen this sort of fanaticism up close – but I think she's giving Palin both way too much and way too little credit.

First, while I have no doubt that Palin's an apocalyptic true believer, I think that trait takes a backseat to her megalomania. This show, like every other publicity stunt we've seen from Palin, is going to be about Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, and oh yeah God (inasmuch as he sure does love Sarah). So, way too much credit for being able to see beyond herself and to any sort of broader agenda.

And also, way too little credit for canniness. Sarah Palin doesn't know jack-shit about an awful lot of things, but one thing she does know backward and forward is I M A G E. She recognizes that the crazy-God of the fundamentalists is an absolutely crucial part of her persona. She throws around scary coded language because Sarah (and I'm talking about the persona here, not the person) just wouldn't work without it. Way too little credit for seeing God as a marketing tool.

However, I should say that anyone who talks about "coded language" like it's a paranoid fantasy is (a) a saint, and (b) totally wrong. The whole coded language thing came up in conspiracy circles because people tend to accuse others of exactly the sort of thing they themselves are guilty of.

When fundies talk about supporting Israel, they are no-shit serious about hurrying along the apocalypse. They want the Jews to have their own state so that they can boil in it. Intelligent Design, traditional marriage, the aforementioned family values… Western fundamentalism is rife with dog whistle words. They use them so often that they don't even think about them; 'lol' for the doomsday set.

So when these people say "empathy" is a code word for massive redistribution of wealth, they're projecting exactly the sort of rhetorical dressup they indulge in on others. The fact that people who haven't witnessed it firsthand can't believe it's that pervasive is a testament to their own higher standards of public speaking.

Palin uses the language because she is simultaneously smart enough to know how good it is for her persona and not smart enough to realize how hot the fire she's playing with is. Also, secondarily, because at this point it's just a habit she doesn't really think about.

JustMe (#5,093)

A truly scary woman. Her "beliefs" tend to override an sort of reality. Me, I blew off some steam by going to I am amazed by those people who fall in line with her rants like so many sheep going to the slaughter,

Ananke (#3,223)

I fear putting that much money in the hands of this woman.

As Rod Dreher observes, one expert estimates that between 50 and 60 million American evangelicals share Palin's belief "about the Jewish ingathering to Israel in advance of the Apocalypse – but can you imagine an American president making her foreign policy based on a belief that The Late, Great Planet Earth is a reliable source of information about the future?"

Reagan was a Rapture-believer and people thought his foreign policy was based on bringing about a conflict between Israel and the USSR that would usher in rapture (apparently the bible says something about a bear attacking or some such thing).

I don't know how to indicate quotes but obviously the first paragraph is a quote from the post.

Blockquotes aren't accepted, but you can make your quoted text italic, which may help. Put <i> on one side of the text you want italicized and then </i> on the other side.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Wait … HOW DID YOU DO THAT, putting those signs there without making the characters in between italic?

Sally Provan (#3,648)

>ampersandgt; < ampersandlt;

I'm not sure I buy this narrative of Palin seeing herself as the Prophet/Warrior Princess of the Tribulation Force. I think her call-outs to the End Times community are just parrot-like repeatings of sermons she half slept through in high school, like how Joel Osteen reflexively adds "if the Lord tarries" when talking about the future, a holdover from his Daddy's apocalyptic Pentacostal days but hardly indicative that he, or she, believe in anything more than the dollar. Why hole yourself up in Juniper Creek, Alaska waiting for Gog and Magog to strike when there are Oscar parties with mountains of free shit waiting to be swiped?

Personally, I think you're half-right. I think Palin absolutely does see herself as the "Prophet/Warrior Princess of the Tribulation Force," but I sincerely doubt she is capable of the kind of complexity it would require to "code" her speeches. I think what you see is what you get; she can't speak openly about the Rapture and be taken seriously by the MSM, and so she just says what she can.

Not that I know if any of this is true or not (and yes, it does remind me of the Obama/Wright contretemps), but Palin herself wouldn't necessarily need to be intellectually sophisticated enough to do that coding. If this movement has developed these code words and phrases, and she is indeed a life-long member of that movement, she would have no trouble using the pre-existing code. They're just a different kind of soundbite, and any idiot can use a soundbite.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Precisely. This is cookbook craziness.

johnpseudonym (#1,452)

Sarah Palin is simply a 21st century Elmer Gantry. Attributing anything more to her is a little dangerous.

Michael Schiavo (#3,967)

Thanks for this excellent piece. People need to be more concerned about Palin than they think, and you point out many of the reasons. It's easy to say, "No one will possibly believe all the junk she spouts," until it's too late. The sad thing is Palin no more believes in Christ than any two-bit revivalist hustler. We should hope that her character publishes itself well enough for even the most devout to see, but what better form for the Devil to take than a so-called True Believer?

libmas (#231)

I think it is dangerous to accuse someone of this kind of insincerity without some kind of compelling evidence.

I also think that it is worth noting her associations, but dangerous to read too far into them – think of the Obama-Wright associations, or Obama-Alinsky, etc. etc. that the Republicans were trotting out during the campaign.

I do think this aspect of Palin's life, insofar as it plays into her political life, is well worth attending to.

Bittersweet (#765)

Second libmas' comments. It's probably a good idea to keep an eye on Palin's associations (as we should with any politician), but a little presumptive to declare that she's not a believer and may in fact be Satan…

HiredGoons (#603)

I would like to see Sarah Palin, Bill Maher and Anton LaVey play each other in Jeopardy.

Or barring that, Twister.

Onjay (#2,679)

Reality is enough of a fucking show as it is. Whatever happened to old-fashioned made-up escapism? Oh…I forgot…Fox News.

cherrispryte (#444)

This is the most interesting/disturbing thing I've read in quite some time. I am continually waiting for the general public to realize that this woman is, in fact, batshit fucking crazy, and it scares me that this is taking so long.

Then again, I also still believe there's something incredibly fishy about the birth of Trig Palin, so I may just be a sucker for more proof that this woman is crazy, deluded, and possibly dangerous.

the teeth (#380)

The general public may not believe in crazy armageddon/rapture stories, but a bigbig portion believes that believing that these stories are crazy is intolerant and close-minded. So …

cherrispryte (#444)

Call me whatever you want. If thinking that people who believe in the rapture are crazy is intolerant, then fuck tolerance. Seriously. I'm drawing a line.

Marco Romano (#4,090)

Maud, forget about Sarah. She's only an annoying tick. People have to trudge ahead as only people in the trenches have been doing from time out of time.

gregorg (#30)

I'm afraid I have to agree with Maud's analysis.

And add to the woes of non-believers everywhere by pointing out that Mitt Romney's the same way, only Mormon.

As a Mormon Obama supporter myself, I'd be happy to see the Republican primary be turned into a pulpit-thumping, doctrinally obsessed smackdown between competing eschatologies. It'd be crazy-entertaining enough to send regular folk scurrying out of the Republican Revival Tent.

MollyBloomberg (#1,169)

Maud – Nice post. I'm embarrassed to admit that just hearing that others endured a childhood of bizarre, storefront Christianity and survived is encouraging.

The moment I saw Palin on the national stage, I understood her power. She speaks the language of holy-rollerism fluently. Intellect is not valued in that culture. Intellectual certainty is.

hockeymom (#143)

I agree. I've "lost" two dear friends to this type of religion. They sincerely believe that Sarah was sent by God. Their FB pages are frightening, a toxic combination of biblical threats, smug hypocrisy and barely contained rage. I spent a long time trying to understand their point of view, being tolerant and asking "open-ended, non-judgmental questions", but after a while, it became clear that the tolerance was a one-way street.
So forget them.

Also, "awesome" is a code word. If you run into someone who says "awesome" a lot and isn't a stoner from the previous century, there's a good chance that person is waitin' on the rapture.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Maud Newton writing on the Awl is awesome stuff. Sarah Palin is too awful and dumb to write about.

Scum (#1,847)

Eh. This is an example of why I try to take people's words at face value as much as possible. Once you get into the business of reinterpreting statements to find their 'true meaning' you give your preconceptions and prejudices far too much of a free hand. You end up becoming very sure about things you shouldn't be.

barnhouse (#1,326)

I don't know, though, Scum … have you ever had family involved in this stuff? It rings pretty true to me (re: my brother.) The end-times fundies really do have this coded language and really do believe themselves to be in this like secret society and they'll just be whisked up to the big Wal-Mart in the Sky while the rest of us burn to death or something. Just their clothes are left in the airplane seats when the Rapture comes, in that Left Behind book that sold a kajillion copies. Makes fascinating reading for sociology fans.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Aimless Simple McPalin.

Ron Obvious (#351)

Ha! How do I join your fan club?

barnhouse (#1,326)

I love this article. Can you please elaborate on what happens to us heathens when Satan activates us, in your next installment?

dudek (#3,694)

Maud, you're my favorite.

The Late Great Planet Earth was the first book I bought as a young Pentecostal. I actually bought two, one for me and one for my cousin to read with me.

City_Dater (#2,500)

This is terrific, Maud Newton! Having been exposed to the evangelicals and fundies through working on a research project, I took note of Palin's use of the vocab during the election. If she isn't earnestly preparing for Spiritual Warfare herself, she's really hoping to make use of those who are.

Bill Ectric (#4,103)

Maud Newton is one of my heroes and I'm not kidding!

MollyBloomberg (#1,169)

As hockeymom's friends would say; "you're awesome."

Kevin (#2,559)

I am also a survivor of that particularly American flavor of crazy I'm here to tell you that everything Maud says is true true true and it's even scarier than what's written here. Thanks for the flashbacks honey.

make aliyah (#4,116)

Truly from this administration's rage against the Jewish state, an anti-Semitic trope emerges.
For the Jewish people as a whole, there is no divorcing from the Holy Land. When did we become so afraid of Ms Palin or that Obama uses Alinsky principles? So what if the end justifies the means! It is his own religious fundamentalism and she can have hers! So disgusted with these non progressive antics! At the same time I am not surprised. So you choose your comments ignoring the context, situation, local customs and culture, and intended audience using Ms Palin's situation to justify your words. This is a level of literalism gone amok.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

You can't fool me. This comment was totally created by that academic-sounding-gibberish generator.

DataShade (#4,153)

Or possibly copy-pasted from

Sharron Manassa (#4,178)

My own extended family was soaked in precisely the kind of fundamentalist, evangelical, semi-Pentacostalist attitudes of which Ms. Newton speaks here. She is absolutely correct in the greater part of her analysis. I would only quibble with two points:It's also (thanks to her ghostwriter) a canny exercise in dog whistle politics, a narrative intended to electrify her base while benignly appealing to the broadest possible audience.: Not having read the book (due to an agreement with my doctor concerning my blood pressure) I cannot speak directly to the benign appeal, but I would point out that the phrases Ms. Newton calls to our attention are so thoroughly incorporated into common usage within this group that it may well be impossible to eliminate, translate, or suppress them.Ms. Newton quotes Rod Dreher' citation of an expert's evaluation that "between 50 and 60 million American evangelicals" are looking to the thorough ingathering of Jews to Israel to signal the much-desired End times. (She skips over the part that explains Evangelical support for Israeli settlements in Jerusalem, a portion of the conservative Israeli insistance that Jerusalem shall become the capitol of Israel: Not until Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel can the Temple be rebuilt. And not until the Temple is rebuilt can the End Times begin.) 50 million people is over 16% of our current population. 60 million is nearly 20%. This is a sizable proportion of your neighbors, and is a lower segment of the larger group who merely await the End Times rather than attempt to provoke them.She is telling the truth, and she is underplaying the impact. Pay attention.

rastronomicals (#4,186)

Have no doubt whatsoever that Palin has spoken using the coded doublespeak of the fundie subculture. What I doubt is how dangerous you portray her to be. There are certainly the five percenters that believe all her subtext about the endtimes, but right now all I'm sure they're good for is for splintering the Repubs down the middle, between the (more or less) sensible fiscals and the batshit crazies. So I figure the more we hear about Palin–as crazy as she surely is, and as awful as her agnda is–the better it is for the Repub opposition

Joel Crouse (#4,300)

I can't stand her, but she sure is hot.

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