Palin and Baptism: It’s simple, folks. She’s wrong.

Palin and Baptism: It’s simple, folks. She’s wrong. May 1, 2014

Sarah Palin is not the same woman in 2014 that she was in 2008.

Sarah Palin in 2008 was a governor who had a solid reputation for being able to work across the aisle, with both Republicans and Democrats. She was not yet someone capable of saying, as she does here, “not all intolerant-anti-freedom-leftist-liberals are hypocrites. I’m kidding, yes they are.”

“If I were in charge…” (Audience cheers on cue…fade to black.)

That’s nowhere near the quality of her former speech-making; it’s empty snackfood thrown down into the echo-chamber; name-calling and overreach. It’s contrived and utterly without wit, nothing at all like her pitch-perfect performance at the RNC convention in 2008.

Palin can tone down the sarcasm, because she will never be in charge. And it won’t, ultimately, be because the press savaged her unmercifully from 2008 to about 2013, before they started realizing they no longer had to shoot at her, because she was beginning to aim at herself.

It will be because she (rather like Barack Obama) tossed the “we’re all Americans, all in this together” high ground for the muddier “we’re the real Americans, and they’re the creeps” low-ground, where both can be assured of adulation from the people who most identify with them, and who therefore reflect both Palin and Obama back to themselves in a distortion of authentic Oneness, which is something else, entirely.

After writing about what I saw as an increasing spite in Sarah Palin last January, I had decided not to bother ever commenting on her, again. Her fan base is not what it was but among her true believers — many of whom really need to ask themselves whether they’ve created an idol of their ideology and begun to call “holy” things that may or may not even be sacred — there is still no way to discuss Sarah Palin except in superlatives and if you fail at that, well, they are just tireless, fervent-unto-faith-apologists for her. And they say some awful, awful things to people while wrapped up in the flag and holding a cross.

A word against Sarah is a word against them; they see themselves reflected in her in precisely the way a shined-up golden calf reflected the Israelites back to themselves. This is what an idol does: it gets you gazing raptly and devotedly toward what is ultimately a reflection of you, yourself; what you think and feel. And when you’re looking at yourself, you’re not thinking about God, and so the only way to refocus is either to sweep away the idol, or invite God to stand between you and it.

Anyway, I didn’t care to comment, not even when Palin doubled-down on her remarks, disparaging her Christ-minded critics as overly sensitive wusses, because name-calling is easier than actually thinking a thing through and discovering your mistake. It’s an unfortunate habit that says more about Palin than her critics. And it says less about her, too.

But guess what? I no longer even have to write to inspire ire from the Palin-apologists. All I had to do was retweet a few (not many) of the headlines, to be told among other things, “you really need to get over this, now.”

Over this? As Ross said to Rachel, “get over? When…when was I under?” I hadn’t really cared!

There followed more tweets from people making some variation of “it was just a joke” and “imho, Palin was right…”

Well, she wasn’t right, and explaining why is very simple:

Baptism admits disciples into the life of Christ, and it is therefore a voluntary undertaking; it may never be compelled. The formula of Christian baptism comes directly from Christ Jesus, who is the Lord, and Savior of the world:

“. . .and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit”

Seriously, now that I consider it, how dare she? How does someone professing to be a follower of Christ Jesus take a sacramental action pronounced and instituted from the very mouth of the Lord, and use it to make an ill-conceived “joke” in order to throw political red meat and puff up herself?

Some “joke”, told by a woman who doubtless (and rightly) would find nothing remotely funny in the idea of Christians being forced to convert to Islam.

Some joke, told by a woman who had just identified half the country as “hypocrites” in the preceding sentence.

And before anyone deals me the “Jesus swept the moneychangers” line: don’t. Just don’t. The action he took, — which was justified by authority of his Sonship, which none of us possess — was not an act of terror perpetrated upon a group or an individual. Waterboarding is an act of terror against a human person.

Congratulations, Mrs. Palin; in using God to justify your politics, and small-scale terror as a means to an end, you’ve become the very thing you hate: a religious Jihadist.

All that we hate we are become and do. It’s one of those mysteries, and we’re all inclined to fall into it — to do the very thing we hate. But as Christians, once we’ve fallen, we’re supposed to get up, humbly ask pardon of the Lord and also of those around us — including the “overly sensitive wusses” — and resolve to do better.

I don’t regret defending Palin when it was justified, but the waterboard-for-baptism “joke” cannot really be defended, unless you’re ready to make an idol of the woman, and place her before Jesus Christ.

Palin is wrong, and that’s all.

When facing injustice in others, the Lord talked to people in a way that respected their humanity and for that matter, their reason. His example to us, when facing oppressive force, was to throw himself away, rather than insult the dignity of a single human person who was loved into being — and is forever equally loved — by the Father.

Period. Full stop.

I expect I’ll be closing the comboxes early.

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