Gobsmacked by Sarah Palin

Deacon Greg has the story. 

Evidently, former Governor Sarah Palin made the statement in a speech at the national NRA convention that if she was president, “water boarding would be how we baptize terrorists.”

She went on in this speech to indulge in a string of name-calling; talking about “intolerant, anti freedom leftist liberals” and “clownish, Kumbaya-humming, fairytale-inhabiting Democrats.”

How are these comments offensive? Let me count the ways.

First, aside from the issue of using torture against our enemies, baptism is a sacrament. It is the sacrament of initiation into life as a Christian. It washes away our sins. We were directly commanded by Our Lord “to go to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

What was former Governor Palin thinking, to use this wonderful sacrament of forgiveness, healing and salvation as a one-off in a speech dedicated to hate, violence and the torture of human beings?

Second, the name-calling ugliness about “liberals” and Democrats is the kind of nonsense that has led us to the pass we now inhabit in our society and our government. Our elected officials in Congress have given up their responsibilities to govern this country in order to indulge in partisan eye-jabbing of one another. This language — which comes from both sides — feeds this hatred.

It is simply unacceptable for a person who has held the high office of governor of one of these 50 states and who was the nominee for Vice President of the United States of America of one of our two major political parties to talk trashy hatred like this. She makes herself look like a performer in a sideshow instead of a serious woman who wants to act in accordance with the common good.

A few months ago, I wrote a couple of posts decrying the filthy, misogynist and downright OCD attacks on former Governor Palin by MSNBC. I do not take back one word of what I wrote.

I do not agree with every policy idea that Governor Palin has, but no one should be subjected to the attacks against their good name and humanity that MSNBC was launching against her.

Now, I am in the position of making a public statement criticizing the over-the-top language coming from the former Governor herself.

I do not know if former Governor Palin wants to be taken seriously as a politician, author or commenter, but if she does, she really should re-consider these shoot-from-the-hip statements. She has been strong in her witness to her Christian faith, yet she denigrates the sacrament of baptism to make a cutesy comment supporting torture. Instead of talking about issues, she simply comes out with a string of attack-adjectives aimed at those she disagrees with.

I’m not doubting her Christian faith. I’m not even debating her positions on issues.

I am just saying that these comments are offensive on many levels. They do not give reasons or talk about ideas or even tell us what Governor Palin’s positions on issues might be. They certainly do not explain why her beliefs are worthwhile or something anyone else should adopt.

Just letting fly with a string of expletives is not discussion. By the same token, brandishing a string of attack adjectives and cutesy comments is not taking a position. It is hate mongering.

I like to see women in government do a good job. I don’t care which party they are in, I want them to succeed. I am not offended when people have ideas that differ from mine.

I’m honestly not offended by this very offensive use of the precious sacrament of baptism to make an ugly point in an overall ugly speech.

I’m gobsmacked by the stupidity of it.

Governor Palin needs to stop caricaturizing herself. How is this kind of red-meat speech-making stupid and destructive? Again, let me count the ways.

  • FW Ken

    From everything I can tell, she was doing a good job as governor of Alaska. It’s a shame she stepped onto the stage.

    Nor only is torture morally wrong, but experts say it’s not effective. You don’t get good information. Life is not an episode of 24. And that’s nor counting what your grandmother told you: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    • Sus_1

      I agree. I’ve read a lot about torturing someone to get information. I’m such a wimp that I’d be giving you all up with just the threat of being tortured!

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        The most notorious recent miscarriage of justice in Britain is that of the Birmingham Six, a group of related Englishmen of Irish descent who were “shopped” to the police by an Irishman, himself arrested without just cause and tortured, in the wake of a notorious pub bombing in the early seventies. The unfortunate man, himself quite innocent, tried to get out of being tortured by giving names, but also tried to give the most unlikely he possibly could – people whose Irish descent meant nothing to them, perfectly good middle-class Englishmen, some of them members of the Tory party. It did not work. The police arrested everybody, built up a case any old how, and, in an atmosphere of newspaper-driven hysteria, banged every one of them up for life. One of them died in jail; the rest, after long campaings and growing scandal, finally saw the charges against them quashed after losing fifteen years of their lives. So yes, let’s torture people to get the truth out of them – what can go wrong? (OH, and I forgot to mention the immense free publicity the IRA got for fifteen years as the British government behaved as lawlessly, as viciously, and as much in a spirit of hate against the Irish, as they always said it would.)

    • Almario Javier

      Not to mention that it’s you know, illegal. When our enemies do it (this includes waterboarding) we tend to treat them as hostis humani generis; sometimes we even execute them. To compare waterboarding to baptism is like comparing, say, piracy to baptism.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/ThomasSSchmitz Thomas S Schmitz

    Most people thought it was funny. I did. Politics needs some humor, besides…she’s right.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Right wing, perhaps. Right – no way. She’s against the Bill of Rights, for a start – not that such ancient rubbish ever bothered you lot.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      The most notorious recent miscarriage of justice in Britain is that of the Birmingham Six, a group of related Englishmen of Irish descent who were “shopped” to the police by an Irishman, himself arrested without just cause and tortured, in the wake of a notorious pub bombing in the early seventies. The unfortunate man, himself quite innocent, tried to get out of being tortured by giving names, but also tried to give the most unlikely he possibly could – people whose Irish descent meant nothing to them, perfectly good middle-class Englishmen, some of them members of the Tory party. It did not work. The police arrested everybody, built up a case any old how, and, in an atmosphere of newspaper-driven hysteria, banged every one of them up for life. One of them died in jail; the rest, after long campaings and growing scandal, finally saw the charges against them quashed after losing fifteen years of their lives. So yes, let’s torture people to get the truth out of them – what can go wrong? (OH, and I forgot to mention the immense free publicity the IRA got for fifteen years as the British government behaved as lawlessly, as viciously, and as much in a spirit of hate against the Irish, as they always said it would.) Yes, let’s keep torturing, it’s so good for your public image. And it always gets results. Any results.

  • pagansister

    Didn’t take long for the “true” Palin to come out, huh? I’m so much more than glad that she and McCain weren’t elected when they were the candidates for the Republican party. I simply do not trust her and the thought that she would have been a heart beat away from the presidency was totally scary.

    • peggy-o

      Me too . I didn’t vote for them because her behavior and rhetoric scared me. But I couldn’t vote for Obama either because of his words denying care for babies surviving botched abortions in Illinois. Both seemed inexperienced for the job. Guess I’ll be voting independent for awhile.

      • pagansister

        I am a registered Independent as I will not align with either of the major political parties. I did, however, vote for President Obama both times.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    She was ever taken seriously? At all? Even when I was willing to *consider* briefly voting for a ticket she was on, she always struck me the same way Joe Biden does- more as a stand up comedian than a politician.

  • Stefanie

    I join you, Rebecca, in sorrowing over this. She does our Lord and our precious sacrament of baptism such a disservice. Ugh. Also, thanks, Governor P for ‘helping’ present the compassionate side of Christianity to an ever-increasing hostile-to-Christianity world. My non-believing friends will have a field day.

    • Rob B.

      With friends like these… :(

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    “When Jefferson ran for president against John Adams in 1800, Adamsites called him an apostle of anarchy, a demagogue, a trickster and-worst of all-a Franco-maniac. One newspaper editor, envisioning an American Reign of Terror, asked readers, “Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames, … female chastity violated, or children writhing on the pike?” Another warned that if Jefferson were to be elected, “the soil will be soaked with blood and the nation black with crimes.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rosemarie-ostler/political-insults-_b_947019.html

    There’s a tradition of red meat politics going back to the founding fathers. Palin’s statement was rather tame historically. Like Thomas Schmidt below, I thought it was funny. As to the sacrament, she’s not Catholic. I can’t speak to how Protestants would take that. And fundementally the water boarding as put forth by the CIA is not torture.

    • hamiltonr

      Water boarding is not torture? That’s absurd Manny.

      What if Hillary Clinton had said the same thing, only in reverse? Almost all the people who are laughing this off would be vibrating like a bunch of tuning forks with their outrage.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        No I’ve said it wasn’t torture from the minute it was described to the media over ten years ago. I wish Hillary would come out and say it wasn’t torture. But her constituents wouldn’t allow her to tell the truth. The criteria being that the US approach does not force water into the lungs. All waterboarding is not the same.

        • hamiltonr

          Why do you think that Manny? I’m not trying or planning to argue. I really want to understand your thinking on this.

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            Have you seen videos of people being waterboarded? You can find them on youtube. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling; it probably feels (I’ve never experienced it) like you’re drowning. But one is not hurt. It’s a momentary panic. No physical harm, no danger of hurt or being killed. Torture is physical pain. Frankly blasting a radio in a room for 48 hours sounds more like torture to me than waterboarding.

            • hamiltonr

              I was wondering where you are coming from. I’m going to write a post on this either tomorrow or the next day Manny. It won’t be aimed at you at all. I just want to discuss it in more depth. Thank you for answering me, my friend.

              • Sus_1

                I’m fascinated that people think waterboarding is not torture. Can’t wait to read the post and the comments.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      The most notorious recent miscarriage of justice in Britain is that of the Birmingham Six, a group of related Englishmen of Irish descent who were “shopped” to the police by an Irishman, himself arrested without just cause and tortured, in the wake of a notorious pub bombing in the early seventies. The unfortunate man, himself quite innocent, tried to get out of being tortured by giving names, but also tried to give the most unlikely he possibly could – people whose Irish descent meant nothing to them, perfectly good middle-class Englishmen, some of them members of the Tory party. It did not work. The police arrested everybody, built up a case any old how, and, in an atmosphere of newspaper-driven hysteria, banged every one of them up for life. One of them died in jail; the rest, after long campaings and growing scandal, finally saw the charges against them quashed after losing fifteen years of their lives. So yes, let’s torture people to get the truth out of them – what can go wrong? (OH, and I forgot to mention the immense free publicity the IRA got for fifteen years as the British government behaved as lawlessly, as viciously, and as much in a spirit of hate against the Irish, as they always said it would.) But that is ancient history and history does not bother you. If you can lay violent hands on an enemy, that is all that matters.

    • WS

      Sean Hannity is afraid of water boarding even after he promised to try it. Guess Sarah didn’t learn her lesson that you don’t mess with peoples religions after she accused the Pope of being a liberal. By the way, baptism is a very important protestant religious ritual – not just for Catholics.

    • Howard

      Yeah, but you only got to call Aaron Burr “a dangerous man who ought not to be trusted” once!

    • Romulus

      “the water boarding as put forth by the CIA is not torture.”

      Really? Then they’re not doing it right. Or else not being truthful about what they put forth.

  • Sus_1

    Just another reason I’m glad she’s not VP. I wish she’d start a daytime talk show. She could be the next Oprah. I like her in that context.

    • WS

      I doubt if she could hold her own as a talk show host – well not without reminding everyone daily of what a victim she is and wouldn’t be able to help herself from making mean comments at our President. I think she’d fit right in on televangelical tv perhaps as a co-host to Pat Robertson or Praying For Dollar$.

      • Howard

        Lots of people have tried to be the next Rush Limbaugh, but none have succeeded. Lots of people have tried to be the next Oprah Winfrey, but none have succeeded. Regardless of their politics, they both have a knack for show business and politics that few have.

  • jcinco

    Very well said. This type of rhetoric and “dog whistle” type speech serves no good. It leads to violence and bloodshed. There is nothing Christian nor patriotic in her words. We, as Americans, are better than this. She sends the wrong message to the world. It’s high time we realize in this high tech world our country is perceived as hateful, petty and ignorant because we give her and others of her ilk a platform.

  • jcinco

    why was my comment deleted?

    • hamiltonr

      It wasn’t deleted. I sometimes do other things besides monitor this blog.

  • KatieAnnieOakley

    I don’t understand WHY the outrage now – she’s been telling people EXACTLY who she is and what she stands for for years. She doesn’t attend church – she doesn’t practice what the Bible teaches – she exploits Christians and their beliefs to generate anger, and rage, and hate and redirects them for very Earthly pursuits – not God’s Will.

    Just last year, she was interviewed during the “Billy Graham Birthday Celebration” by USA Today – and she slammed Catholicism, essentially saying her mother – a devoted, lifelong Catholic – only found Christianity after listening to Billy Graham on TV. Not through Catholicism, not through being baptized in the Catholic Church or by attending or being a member of the Catholic Church.

    From the article: “This will be my father’s last message to the nation,” Franklin Graham said in an interview with USA TODAY before the celebration began. “He won’t be able to do this again.”

    Among the hundreds of guests were North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and New York real-estate magnate Donald Trump. Singers Ricky Skaggs, Michael W. Smith and others led the audience in two refrains of Happy Birthday. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, one of the speakers, jumped off the stage to hold a microphone before Billy Graham as he singled out a few people in the audience for thanks.

    “His message transformed my mom’s life,” Palin, one of the dinner’s speakers, said in an interview with USA TODAY.

    “In the 70s, she would tune into the Billy Graham crusades, televised. My mom was raised Catholic, and she … was yearning for something more,” she said. “His invitation for people to know that they could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ — my mom understood that from the way that he could articulate it. She became a Christian, led the rest of the family to Christ, and that I believe transformed our family.” – END QUOTE.

    Read it again; her mother became a Christian via Billy Graham – not the Catholic church. Does that mean Sarah Palin doesn’t believe Catholics can be Christians?

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/11/07/billy-graham-95th-birthday-party-final-sermon/3464537/

    • hamiltonr

      Here’s the comment you were referring to as having been deleted, Katie Annie. It was further down the list of comments. You evidently posted it between midnight my time, when I went to bed, and 0800 my time, when I checked these comments again.

      Patience, Katie Annie. :-)

    • hamiltonr

      I’m going to insert a reply here. I read the article you linked to, and while you do quote it accurately, I think your emphasis is mistaken.

      Governor Palin was actually giving a testimony to the wonderful influence of Doctor Billy Graham on the life of her mother and her family. I share the governor’s respect for Dr Graham, btw. I think he is a great and holy man of God.

      I do not believe that this particular comment was intended or should be interpreted as an attack on the Catholic Church. I think she was simply referring to the deep conversion her mother experienced due to Dr Graham’s preaching.

      Governor Palin is obviously ignorant of the Catholic Church, as she has demonstrated several times in her recent comments. But the claim that she doesn’t think that Catholics are Christians, based on her word usage in this particular comment, seems to me to be unmerited.

      I agree that Governor Palin, as a national personality who ran for the second highest office in this country, should inform herself about the largest Christian denomination in this country. That’s just good sense.

      I wrote about her comment concerning baptism for the simple reason that it was completely unwarranted and galling. It was offensive to me as a Catholic and a Christian. Baptism is universally accepted as important among all Christians, and this comment seemed to me to be destructive to people of faith, and to the Governor’s own good name.

      However, that does not mean that I think that every word Governor Palin utters is offensive, or that she does not deserve respect as a person, a public figure and a Christian.

      I respect my protestant brothers and sisters. We are all one in Christ.

      • KatieAnnieOakley

        Up into her tweens, Palin was raised Catholic. She *knows* about Catholicism – she’s certainly not “ignorant” of it, it was an important part of her early life. Her mother was a devout Catholic. Sarah was baptized Catholic as an infant.

        Uninformed nor ignorant don’t seem to be the proper terms here.

        Dr. Graham was also a huge influence in mine and my families lives – but I also know that the AOG church we attended didn’t accept Catholic doctrine, at all. And they essentially dismissed the Virgin Mary as unimportant, simply a vessel (which I do not agree with). And, the AOG church believes that unless they convert, Catholics would not be able to enter The Kingdom of Heaven. As I got older, I learned that is standard AOG doctrine.

        So was it being uninformed, ignorance or regurgitated AOG doctrine that prompted that statement by Palin in November 2013? Coming from an AOG background, I immediately heard the “dog whistle”, and I can’t believe I was the only one. I guess i should have made that more clear in my first comment.

      • Chris

        Rebecca,

        I agree with your original post and I thank you for your well written and thoughtful blog posts.

        But the Spouse of Christ is not a denomination. And as a former separated brother in Christ, I am happy that you respect those who are still separated but I can unequivocally say that we are not all one in Christ, and that a separation does exist. I can also say that Baptism is not seen as important by some Protestants who see it is as merely a public profession of Christ and not in any way necessary for salvation. (I came from one of these denominations)

        And we should most certainly lament anyone being pulled out of the Catholic Church.

        Short Quote:

        “This mistaken sort of action leads directly to that absurd proposition: one religion is just as good as another, for there is no distinction here between truth and falsehood. “This attitude,” to quote Pope Leo [XIII] again, “is directed to the destruction of all religions, but particularly the Catholic faith, which cannot be placed on a level with other religions without serious injustice, since it alone is true.” -Pope St. John XXIII

        Medium Quote:

        “This would be the right place for a study on the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. Do not all the baptized belong to the Church? And is not the Church one only? Yes, the Council answers, but membership in the Church requires other conditions besides baptism, such as identical faith and unity of communion. The Catholic Church alone is the Body of Christ, of which He is Head and Savior. Outside this Body, the Holy Spirit doe not give life to anyone. Those who are hostile to unity do not participate in divine charity. Those outside the Church do not possess the Holy Spirit. And those who wish to possess the Holy Spirit take good care not to remain outside the Church. A Christian must fear nothing so much as to be separated from the Body of Christ. If, in fact, he is separated from the Body of Christ, he is not one of His members: and, not being one of His members, he is not fed by His Spirit.” – Pope Paul VI

        Longer Quote:

        “These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment ‘Love one another,’ altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ’s teaching: ‘If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you.’ For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests, and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord’s Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary, the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honour due to Jesus Christ, ‘the one mediator of God and men.’ How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it… for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ, of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.” -Pope Pius XI

  • missiemeghan

    What good name and humanity are you referring to? All of her public statements are angry, bitter, name calling and divisive.

    • hamiltonr

      ALL her comments? I know that’s not true. Her humanity is the same as yours MIssie. She deserves respect because she is a human being, made in the likeness and image of God.

      As for her good name, she is the former governor of Alaska, was the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States of America, is the author of several best-selling books, and is the mother of five beautiful children.

      • missiemeghan

        I’m entitled to my opinion. If you have nothing better to add then to attack me and suggest that that animal and I have the same humanity, kindly remove my original post.

        • hamiltonr

          Yes, you are entitled to your opinion and you gave it.

          I didn’t refer to you in my reply, however, I will tell you now that we all have the same humanity and that we are all beloved children of the same God.

  • Ardiva

    As an Alaskan, I know Palin professes to be a Christian, but I can tell you that she has not attended church for many years now. Everything she says she does is a total lie.

    • hamiltonr

      I’m going to allow this because you are new here. I doubt very much if you or anyone outside her family would know where and if she attends church each Sunday, since she travels quite a lot. I do know that she has professed her faith and taken a lot of criticism for having done so.

      Also, please don’t attack her personally this way.

      I’m letting this through just as a teaching device. There is no reason to attack anyone personally, including Governor Palin.

  • DetroitSam

    How has Sarah Palin demonstrated that she is a Christian? Is strong in her faith? This woman attends NO church and does nothing that speaks to being Christian.
    And as for what’s going on in the Congress, any one who pay attention knows who is behind the dysfunction going on.
    The republicans have been obstruction President even before he took office and I for one arm tired of some people pretending that “both sides do it”. The jobs bill, immigration bill unemployment extension bills and much more have been stalled by republicans. Thing that would benefit many of the people here, family members, neighbors.
    It may be convenient to pretend that both sides are obstructing but how about trying the truth?

    • hamiltonr

      Both parties have positions that are good, and both parities have positions that are terrible. As for using the politics of personal destruction, again, both parties do it. At least, that’s been my experience.

      I have no idea about Governor Palin’s church attendance now, but I’ve read that she was active in her local church in the past. I do know that she’s taken a lot of guff for her faith.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      “How has Sarah Palin demonstrated that she is a Christian?”
      She’s rock solid on all the Christian values issues: pro-life, pro traditional marriage, common sense public prayer, etc. And has lived it by not aborting her downs syndrome child.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    I don’t understand. Maybe those who call her an airhead are right. She surfaces every couple of years with a different policy direction – a few years ago, she was going to fight corruption, and then she suddenly fell silent on that subject. One thing that is certain is that the NRA is one of the most polluting and downright dangerous elements in the American landscape, and that to be their keynote speaker puts her well beyond MY pale – and I speak as someone who defended her fiercely in the old days.

    • Howard

      To be blunt, she’s just another Rush Limbaugh wannabe; or, if you prefer, she wants to be the Oprah Winfrey of the right. When she resigned as governor of Alaska, that’s all that was left for her.

    • Almario Javier

      Sarah Palin, it seems, is devoted to the ideology of What’s (subjectively) Best for Sarah Palin.

  • WS

    I won’t be surprised when she advocates crucifixion for all muslims.

    • mollysdad

      Anyone who takes the name of God as a witness for the use of the sword and against His own true revelation is under the curse of destruction, and it is indelible save by Christian faith and baptism.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      You just did what she did.

  • hamiltonr

    Note: I do not allow personal attacks on this blog, including personal attacks against public figures. If you have disagreements with Governor Palin that you would like to discuss — and I mean disagreements with her positions on issues — then feel free to talk about these differences. I encourage that kind of conversation.

    But I delete malicious gossip and attacks on people themselves. I’ve let a few of the mild ones through for teaching purposes. But no more.

    Do not call anyone names, make spiteful comments about their appearance, faith, or value as a person. By that I mean ANYONE, including Governor Palin, President Obama, other commenters, or me.

    • KatieAnnieOakley

      What I posted earlier were Palin’s words, verbatim, as told to a USA Today reporter last November. Her mother left the Catholic Church only after she became a Christian through Billy Graham’s ministries. Apparently, being Catholic didn’t equate to being a Christian in Palin’s family. The story was published by USA Today, and she said it while at Billy Graham’s 95th Birthday Party Final Sermon “I’ve Wept for America”. Its not a spiteful or personal attack when its true. When did Public Catholic become a political policy blog?

      • hamiltonr

        Katie Annie, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I haven’t seen the comment you’re referring to.

        I write about all sorts of things on this blog, most of it is about the intersection of faith and public life, but I’ve also written about my piano lessons, science, computers, tornadoes and all sorts of other what not.

      • FW Ken

        This is common talk among evangelicals about those who “got saved” out of the Catholic Church. My Baptist step-brother and I have laughed because we know people who’ve gone both directions. I tend to say that Baptists turned Catholic have “found the fullness of the Faith.” Neither is a general statement about the other religion (necessarily), but let’s face it, there are a lot of Catholics who don’t have a vital connection to Christ as Catholics. Interestingly, it is the faithful Baptists who come our way. Go figure.

  • dowl

    Lord have mercy on us all.

  • peggy-o

    When comments like Palin’s are cheered on by supporters in media, politics or Christian circles–it escalates. Our interior life should lead to better exterior examples. Just started reading Spucoli’s Spiritual Combat. Great lessons about fixing ourselves when our thoughts about others get too negative, and loud and dictatorial tones hurting the ears and revealing a presumptive ignorance. I’ve mostly had negative thoughts regarding Palin because of comments like these so I have to work on that. Public Christians should lead by better example.

  • Howard

    Wow. Some choice we had in 2008, huh? Let’s pray that by some miracle we have better choices in 2016.

  • mollysdad

    Sarah Palin’s comments are irreverent at best, blasphemous at worst. In her position I would not have referred to baptism in relation to the waterboarding of Islamist terrorists.

    We have enough blasphemy emanating from these terrorists and their false and Satanic religion to warrant their execution under the curse (herem) of destruction, without Mrs Palin adding her own.

  • Graytown

    I imagine most of you didn’t like Palin long before these comments.
    She was just giving red meat to the NRA crowd.
    Relax.
    By her witness of her life she has shown more Christian virtue than most of us.
    Choosing life for her Downs child is one example.

    Mark

  • Aldo Elmnight

    “I do not agree with every policy idea that Governor Palin has”
    Which ones do you agree with?

    • hamiltonr

      It would be a lengthy list, but in particular I agree with her about the sanctity of human life and that marriage is between one man and one woman.

  • westernpaul

    Wow, all this about the word baptize? I was not aware this word is only used in the Sacrament, seems many religions use it and do not consider Baptism a sacrament,only a symbol. I guess when someone says “he crucified that …..,” he is a vicious person as well. Wouldn’t it be great if the author and her ilk, would spend the same energy on going after the many issues confronted we Catholics as promulgated by many Bishops, Universities, high schools where there is a REAL attempt to reduce the impact and rules of the Church. Who took on Cardinal Dolan on his recent statements,as an example? No one as they want to be able to call for interviews etc.

  • $105101020

    Hi Rebecca. It was painful to hear Governor Palin’s remarks since I admire her so much. I pray for her and still applaud her because of her work to set our country on the right track. I fear for us because of a president we have now who advocates the legal killing of baby girls and boys in their mom’s womb and even voted in Illinois for the right to have legal killing of babies outside of their mom’s womb after they survived the attempt to kill them in the womb. It is also painful having a president who, in effect, calls God a liar since Our Lord said marriage was “from the beginning” one man to one woman.

  • Sygurd Jonfski

    Be ithat as it may, the lady has the guts – something sadly lacking in many Catholics (even though they believe in Jesus who was no stranger to controversy and to using strong epithets).

    • Rob B.

      Rashness is not courage, Sygurd. Though I do agree that our modern world tends to conflate the two…

      • Sygurd Jonfski

        Of course rashness is not courage, just like apples are not oranges…

        • Rob B.

          My point was that Ms. Palin is rash, not courageous.

          • Sygurd Jonfski

            So you deny that a person can be courageous and rash at the same time? In other words, I don’t think that rashness and courage are mutually exclusive.

  • FW Ken

    Ed Peters put our well, as he generally does:

    http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/sarah-palins-remark-warrants-reparation-not-applause/

    Fr. Z also reminds us that Gov. Palin was baptized into the Catholic Church.

  • Babagranny

    Late in life, and enlightened by analysis of political language of the last several years, I have discovered that politicians have discovered that there are just enough ill-informed, last minute, pliable voters to make or break an election. So those who have enough money to do so (this takes a LOT of money) target their ad hominem attacks, hate language, half-truths, and bold-faced lies at these hapless voters during a last two weeks by a barrage of memos, ads, large card mailers, and other resources to these voters just before the election. It’s all about getting the votes, and if you want to know who will win, just follow the money that pays for this type of “campaigning.” It’s very, very sad. Pray for our republic.

  • SteelPotArmy

    It’s been interesting here to read that somehow Mrs. Palin as violated the sanctity of baptism. It seems to me, that was using the term in a euphemistic way e.g. baptism by fire. Seems to me that folks need to take a breath before pulling the trigger on the vitriol some commonly thrown at this women regardless of her choice of worship.

    • Rob B.

      Given that the “terrorists” she was referring to were Muslims, I’d say that the chances that she meant baptism “euphemistically” are practically nil. She’s not an idiot, after all…

  • Jim Roth

    Get a grip. She’s speaking figuratively, and she’s right about the liberals.

    • Rob B.

      If President Obama said much the same thing, would you be so willing to “laugh it off” as being figurative?

      • ITBWTW

        Obama already said “we are not a christian country”…that says it all for him

        • D.A. Howard

          Oh. come on, he was speaking figuratively. LOL! Oh, drat, that’s right…He also said people cling to God and their guns. I take that back! LOL!

        • pagansister

          And President Obama is correct. We are a country of many faiths, including Christianity.

        • Rob B.

          And in a strict sense, we are not. The principles of the Constitution (much as I respect them) are mainly based on the Enlightenment, which was not a high water time for Christian belief.

      • ThirstforTruth

        President Obama has made many statements “offensive” to Christianity; we don’t need to add any since so many are already
        waiting questioning.

      • Scott Maxwell

        two wrongs do not make a right. And it does not matter if it is figurative or not. When one judges stupid things by one’s religious bent — “oh no, she is profaning the english name of a sacrament for which she does not share our understanding” — or fairly unimportant cultural protocols — “how dare Obama BOW to a foreign dignitary” — the cry of dismay is almost always worse than the original offense. in this case, I totally agree, it is worse than the original offense.

    • welcometo1984

      Spoken like a true Christian.

  • h2oplyer7

    Great article. I pray that Republicans will come to their senses and pick new leaders so this country can get back on track.

  • D.A. Howard

    “God save me from dour saints” – St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church

    God “with friends like you who needs enemies?” – St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church

    “They can chop wood on my back so long as they do not sin” – Saint Philip Neri

  • FW Ken
  • Bert_1

    I really have a hard time understanding what all of the fuss is about. The word “baptize” is not solely and uniquely Christian. And, even if it was, Sarah Palin does not have the authority to dictate how a Christian Baptism is performed.

  • hamiltonr

    Note: I am getting one comment after another that is totally out of line.

    I am going to delete every comment from here on out that demeans another person instead of discussing issues. I mean that.

    Every. Single. One.

    If you disagree with Governor Palin, or your support her, strain your brain to tell us why in a rational fashion. Engage the other commenters with your thinking. Do not call those who have a different viewpoint ugly names, and do not call Governor Palin names. Ditto for President Obama. Discuss the issues of why you disagree with him. Do not attack his worth as a human being.

    Public Catholic is not a forum for trashing people.

  • gghd

    …Many Catholic Saints have been involved in war; Two famous ones are Saint Joan of Arc and Saint Ignatius of Loyola. They both actively participated in wars, where people were hacked to pieces. Through the Mercy of Jesus Christ, ~everyone can be transformed. It’s our job to pray for the transformation of everyone.
    …Now days, the terrorists blow people apart; the pieces are scooped up with shovels. Sarah Palin spoke about terrorists, and used ~words that offended many Catholics. ~Everyone can be transformed by Jesus Christ; it’s our job to pray.
    …On Judgment Day, Jesus Christ will judge our thoughts, our words, what we do, and what we fail to do. Ephesians 6: 12, “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”

    • gghd

      …On Judgment Day, God looks into the heart for sins that are committed with 1. full knowledge and 2. deliberate consent.
      …Objectively looking at Sarah Palin’s comment: … Do we actually know if Sarah Palin has ‘full knowledge’ about the True Sacrament of Baptism. … Also, have all of us, Catholics witnessed faithfully to everyone about the gravity of sin? … Sarah Palin is pro-life. … Have Catholics expressed, as much ~outrage towards our fellow Catholics~ that support/participate in the ‘murder of babies in abortion mills,’ as they have towards the ~words of Sarah Palin?
      …Sarah Palin is friends with people that have been heinously tortured. It should be noted: waterboarding is part of the USA military training for some of our soldiers (It’s not said to excuse sin, but it’s a comment about full knowledge and willfulness). … Sarah Palin knows the victims of terrorists. … On Judgment Day, we’ll find out, how willful are ALL the words spoken. Sometimes things are said because of emotions, caused by life itself, and NOT by deliberate consent.
      …This is NOT a criticism of Rebecca Hamilton, or anyone else. People like Rebecca Hamilton have been given the ability to teach, on the holiness of the Sacrament of Baptism, and the seriousness of sin. The only thing I know, Rebecca Hamilton: = ‘Christians must be doing something right, when all the Hounds of Hell start barking at them!’ Thank you to ALL the good Catholics, that willingly make themselves a target for the evil spirits! We’re obligated to pray for you.

      • gghd

        Quite a few comments in this section are about hate, and the hate is directed towards Sarah Palin.
        … It seems many people have forgotten the most important Commandment, “Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
        … It’s just NOT a revealed truth in Christianity. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is part of the Natural Law; placed into hearts.
        … Wikipedia has a good, short, article about the ‘Golden Rule’ found throughout the world.

  • FW Ken

    Maybe if would be really helpful to see what the Church had to say about torture. I’m including the whole paragraph because the context is important.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church
    2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.

    I suppose it’s given that you cannot do evil in the service of good. The ends do not justify the means. Moreover, this paragraph seems to say that if we engage in the same behaviors that appall us in others, we “bring on a reign of terror”. We share in the destruction.

  • Scott Maxwell

    I’m sorry, but I do not understand why this was so offensive? Yes it is pablum and hyperbole that does nothing to further the real debate upon America, but I do not get the argument about “First…baptism is a sacrament”. She does not come from a Catholic background where baptism is more than “just” an initiation ceremony, nor is baptism solely a christian practice. So I consider this a faux pas at most on the Governor’s part and should not be blown out of proportion like other cultures and religions have done. I’m really gobsmacked as the controversy.

    • Rob B.

      If I recall correctly, most Protestant denominations do view baptism as a sacrament (along with the Eucharist). I’m not sure about evangelical Protestantism, though…

      Edited to include: I read elsewhere that the church in Wassilla that Ms. Palin has attended sees baptism as purely symbolic.

      • FW Ken

        Older protestant denominations generally speak of baptism as a Sacrament. Baptists, whose views, I believe, inform evangelicalism, view baptism as an “ordinance”, ordained by Christ as a public witness to your decision for Christ. It had no intrinsic saving value.

  • Greg Scott

    I tend to agree that Gov. Palin is a poorly catechized non-practicing
    Catholic [if the reports are true that her mother (before her renunciation of
    the Church in her seventies), raised Sarah Catholic and would have, surely, had
    her baptized into the One, True, Holy and Apostolic Church]. I haven’t listened to the audio of remarks she gave stating, “My mom was raised Catholic, and she … was yearning for something more, [after listening to the Anti-Catholic Billy Graham]… [s]he became a Christian, led the rest of the family to Christ…” so I cannot gauge the tone of her speech. However, she WAS making them before an audience of heretics that reject the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

    I do not see how anyone could take those remarks other way than her making a distinction between the Church and “real” Christianity and several Catholic bloggers made similar comments along those same lines when she said it November 2013 (Google it). There are many poorly catechized Catholics. As
    an example, the author of this article, in the comments above, refers to the
    Catholic Church as, “[the] largest Christian denomination in this country”. This is almost as offensive as Ms. Palin’s “baptism” comment and betrays a complete lack of understanding of the Church. By definition, the Catholic Church IS NOT a denomination to be lumped in with the other forty plus thousand Protest Sects that follow whatever preacher’s interpretation of the Bible that makes them feel good about themselves. The Gospel of Mathew Chapter XVI, Verse XVIII does NOT say, “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my [CHURCHES], and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

  • FW Ken

    Rebecca, this is off topic. But I thought it would cheer your heart. It will probably have happened by the time you see this, but a million Nigerian women, is hoped, will march against the kidnapping of those girls.

    http://www.nigeriancurrent.com/ck88-news/free-our-girls-abuja-quakes-wednesday-as-one-million-women-in-red-march-over-230-kidnapped-children

    • hamiltonr

      It does. Thank you Ken.

  • Jim p

    I like the comment, but then again, i don’t buy the lie that waterboarding is torture…

    • Sus_1

      What is waterboarding if it isn’t torture?

  • Matt

    I think overall there is a lack of mercy in our culture these days. People are getting excoriated publicly for their speech, either deservedly or undeservedly so, depending on the case. People are getting so emotional and “offended.” Might we do better if we showed some mercy to people instead of trying to ruin them for the things they say, or the causes to which they donate?

    • Rob B.

      In many ways, it’s Ms. Palin’s own seeming lack of mercy and charity that disturbs me. What else can we call such a comment as she made above?

      • Jim Roth

        Lack of mercy???? When was the last time libs called your mother a c##t, or a whore, or accused her of inciting race riot, living in sin? What the hell are you talking about? As far as Obama is concerned, yes I would. Get A Grip.

        • hamiltonr

          Jim, watch your language.

          • Jim Roth

            It is a fact. People accuse someone, could be Palin, could be Obama, of lack of charity, honesty, callousness, and they absolutely ignore the truth. What am I supposed to say , “no she isn’t mean”? I’m sorry your offended but “real” dialogue requires “real” facts, not just my word against yours. It’s not a “he said, she said.” When you make an accusation like that guy did you better be able to prove it.

      • Nick_from_Detroit

        “What else can we call such a comment as she made above?”
        A joke, perhaps? Because, that’s what it was, Rob B.

        • Rob B.

          Sorry, but where I come from, torture and baptism are not joking matters; they are serious subjects both spiritually and morally. I guess, though, such comments are perfectly OK so long as there’s an “R” after your name on a ballot rather than a “D,” right Nick?

          • Nick_from_Detroit

            Well, I wouldn’t want to live where someone couldn’t make a little joke while giving a speech at an NRA convention, Rob B.
            Plus, there is no “R” or “D” for Catholics. You either believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches, or you don’t. If you happen to be a member of the Catholic Church, perhaps you should read the CCC quote which I provided earlier:
            Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it.

            By the way, the democrat party has become the party of perversion and the Culture of Death. Not that the GOP is perfect, but, they still have a Pro-Life plank and stand for marriage between one man and one woman. I consider myself an independent, myself.
            God Bless!

            • FW Ken

              Has the Republican party become the party of torture? I also quoted from the catechism., which is clear about torture.

              • Nick_from_Detroit

                FW Ken,
                Not the last time I checked. John McLame and Lindsey Grahamnesty still erroneously call water-boarding “torture.”
                I agree with the CCC, para. 2297-98, prohibitions against torture. I just happen to be one of those people who believes that the word “torture” has a definitive meaning, not that it means whatever I want it to mean. The left, much like the way they are attempting to redefine the word “marriage,” have spent the last 6 decades defining “torture” as anything they don’t like. Either the word means something, or it is meaningless.

                Including the act of pouring water over a terrorist’s head (with every precaution for his safety) under the umbrella of torture is reminiscent of the old Monty Python sketch about the Spanish Inquisition! Are getting poked with soft cushions and sitting in the comfy chair also torture, now?
                The THREE instances in which the C.I.A. used water-boarding did not violate the four provisos found in para. 2297, if you want to be legalistic.

                Frankly, I believe it does a great dishonor to all of the victims of actual torture to equate what KSM (and the two others) experienced with the pain and suffering endured by victims of the KGB, Gestapo, Khmer Rouge, etc. Christ was tortured. KSM was not.
                God Bless!

                • hamiltonr

                  I’m allowing this Nick, but the next time you call someone names, I will delete. I don’t allow this against anyone, including Senators McCain and Graham.

                  • Nick_from_Detroit

                    My apologies, Mrs. Hamilton.
                    Although I regularly refer to those two with disdain, I might have been trying too hard to show that I’m not a cheerleader for the Republican Party.
                    I will certainly refrain from engaging in snarkiness, in the future. God Bless!

                    • hamiltonr

                      Thank you Nick.

                • FW Ken

                  Well, to start with, water boarding is not “pouring water over someone’s head”, but inducing a feeling of drowning and is, therefore, in violation of 2297.

                  Yes, I thought about the comfy chair skit as well. It was funny. What isn’t funny is the notion that people under extreme pressure, in fear of their lives, give reliable information.

                  • Nick_from_Detroit

                    FW Ken,
                    The CCC is not a code of laws, so, you really can’t violate a section of it. I was being facetious when I wrote “if you want to be legalistic.” My point was that the THREE terrorists who were water-boarded by the C.I.A. did not receive that treatment in order “to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred.” They were water-boarded to break down their resistance so that they would co-operate.
                    And it worked. Water-boarding led to discovering where Usama Bin Laden was hiding, remember?
                    Please, show me one instance of the Holy See condemning our use of water-boarding against those three terrorist, if you can? I would love to read it.

                    If you’re interested in just how meticulous the Justice Department and intelligence community were in deciding how to implement lawful Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs), read this:
                    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/042809_memo1.pdf

                    Also, we know KSM was not in fear for his life. During the several sessions he endured, while the water was being poured over his head, he would count on his fingers how long the pouring lasted. He knew that we wouldn’t torture him. It is strongly suspected that KSM and Abu Zubaydah had training in resisting interrogation.
                    So, it still remains a fact that the examples of our using water-boarding, among other EITs, against those THREE terrorists yielded plenty of information that stopped terrorist plots, saved lives, and ultimately led to eliminating Usama as a threat to America.
                    Learn how successful EITs were, here:
                    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/04/why_we_waterboarded_abu_zubayd.asp

  • Nick_from_Detroit

    As others have previously stated, Sarah Palin is not a member of the Catholic Church. She belongs to a nondenominational “Bible church” in Wasilla, Alaska. She cannot be judged by Catholic standards.

    The CCC states that one is guilty “of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor” (cf. paragraph 2477).
    And, in the next paragraph (2478): “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
    Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.[St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 22.]” (Emphasis mine.)
    I don’t see this happening in these many condemnations of Mrs. Palin’s little joke. Perhaps it is because some disagree vehemently with her politics, I don’t know. But, to demand an apology for something you don’t know was intended is very uncharitable, in my opinion. Calling it blasphemy is truly over the top.

    Also, cavalierly referring to water-boarding as “torture” is likewise uncharitable to the men in the C.I.A. who implemented the enhanced interrogation program with noble intentions. Calling them torturers is a calumny. Water-boarding led to the location of Usama Bin Laden, remember? Our own military members are water-boarded during SERE training, by the way. It does not meet the criteria laid down in the CCC.
    I see nothing in Mrs. Palin’s little joke worthy of getting apoplectic about, sorry.

    • Tyroanee

      Torture is a joke in God’s eyes?
      … interesting.

      • Nick_from_Detroit

        Nice straw man, Tyroanee.
        I never claimed any such thing. God Bless!

  • Nick_from_Detroit

    Is my comment still awaiting moderation, Mrs. Hamilton?

    • hamiltonr

      Yes. I’ve been very busy today. Sorry for the delay.

      • Nick_from_Detroit

        That’s what I figured. Thanks, for your reply.

      • Tyroanee

        My comment, though completely truthful was removed. Odd how religious beliefs hinder thought process, one to gain knowledge has been wiped away as though you have no clue as to why?
        Heads in sand if you must, but Ms. Palin has evil in her mind at all times, that is why her remarks towards mankind can only be interpreted as you have read over these past days.
        You may delete, but time is on truths door and it will shine brightly on your ignorance.

        • hamiltonr

          Sigh. I don’t remember your comment Tyroanee. But I assure I did not delete it unless you called someone a name or attacked an individual in a personal manner.

          • hamiltonr

            I took the trouble to check, and I did delete your comment. You should be grateful to me for deleting it.

            • Tyroanee

              Just to be clear, the article is titled GOBSMACKED.
              FIN

        • FW Ken

          And by what magical facility do you know what’s in the mind of another person?

  • bonaventure

    Water boarding is not torture. Our Special Forces are water boarded as part of their training. Islamists on the other hand use real, painful, and life-threatening torture in dealing with their captives (amputations, burnings, severe beating, etc).

    Therefore, there is nothing offensive in Governor Palin’s comment as she clearly did not advocate torture, the way Islamists or dictators do. And her comparison of water boarding to baptism can very well be understood in a rhetorical way, meaning “initiation.”

    And yes, those terrorists who are captured by U.S. troop get in fact “initiated” when they are water boarded to the fact that we, Americans, are serious about extracting vital information & intel, but without using torture. As far as they (the Islamist terrorists) are concerned, it should be very reassuring that they are only going to get water boarded (or be subjected to other enhanced interrogation techniques), rather than rendered to some country where real torture is used to extract information.

    • Rob B.

      “Our Special Forces are water boarded as part of their training.” Isn’t this because they are taught to resist torture when captured, though?

      • bonaventure

        It is to make them more resistant to any form of duress. Ironically, being trained with water boarding makes our soldiers stronger. This could not be said, however, had our Special Forces been “trained” having their fingers amputated…

  • http://bornacatholic.blogspot.com/ Bornacatholic

    Were she to be standing on Little Diomede Island (part of Alaska) ol’ Mama Grizzly could see Russia but when she is paid to sling slogans at an NRA Convention, her mind goes into hibernation.

  • jcinco

    great opinion piece!


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