Saturday, August 30, 2008

More On Sarah Palin, Her Religion and Her Views On Church-State Issues

Yesterday I reported on information that was initially available about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's religious beliefs and views on church-state issues. In the last 36-hours, many additional pieces of information have been found by bloggers and reporters.

Palin's Religious Affiliation: Melissa Rogers, in her always excellent blog, reports on a number of additional items. In a 2008 Time Magazine interview, Palin said she was baptized as a Catholic, but her family attended non-denominational Christian churches. She identifies herself merely as a "Bible believing Christian". The AP yesterday, reporting that Palin has drawn strong support from Evangelical leaders, said that Palin's home church is an independent congregation, The Church on the Rock in Wasilla (just outside Anchorage). The Big Daddy Weave blog reports that this church was founded in 2000 with just 7 families, but has quickly grown. Palin sometimes also worships at the Juneau Christian Center, which is affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God. [UPDATE: Apparently Palin's current home church is Wasilla Bible Church, an independent evangelical congregation. AP says she joined this 6 years ago. Before that her home church was Church on the Rock.]

Palin’s Support for Faith Based Initiative: The Roundtable for Religion and Social Welfare Policy reports that Palin was a supporter of Alaska’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) set up by her predecessor in office. A 2007 Anchorage Daily News article reported that Palin's state budget proposed ending $1.5 million in state block grants to three cities and instead placing most of that amount in the budget of the OFBCI for it to distribute more broadly around the state.

Clarification of Palin’s Views on Teaching Creationism: Yesterday’s posting quoted an excerpt from a 2006 PBS interview in which Palin said she favored teaching both evolution and creationism in public schools. Since then, others have pointed out the Palin quickly qualified her statement through an interview with the Anchorage Daily News which reported:
Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms: "I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum." She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum.
Who Supported Palin for VP: Christianity Today says that Palin was the top pick for VP by Richard Land, policy head of the Southern Baptist Convention. In an Aug. 8 interview with CBS News, Land said that Palin would be the candidate who would most excite Southern Baptists. He explained: "she's a person of strong faith. She just had her fifth child, a Downs Syndrome child. And there's a wonderful quote that she gave about her baby, and the fact that she would never, ever consider having an abortion just because her child had Downs Syndrome. She's strongly pro-life."