The theocratic wing of the GOP

THE THEOCRATIC WING OF THE GOP…. A certain former half-term governor appears to be drifting even further away from the American mainstream. Over the weekend, appearing at an evangelical Christian women’s conference in Louisville, Sarah Palin rejected the very idea of separation of church and state, a bedrock principle of American democracy.

She asked for the women — who greeted her with an enthusiastic standing ovation — to provide a “prayer shield” to strengthen her against what she said was “deception” in the media.

She denounced this week’s Wisconsin federal court ruling that government observance of a National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional — which the crowd joined in booing. She asserted that America needs to get back to its Christian roots and rejected any notion that “God should be separated from the state.”

Palin added that she was outraged when President Obama said that “America isn’t a Christian nation.”

The amusing aspect of this is the notion that the United States would return to its roots with support for National Day of Prayer observances. That’s backwards — Thomas Jefferson and James Madison explicitly rejected state-sponsored prayer days. I’ll look forward to the conservative explanation of how the Founding Fathers were godless socialists.

I also can’t wait to hear how right-wing voices who want smaller government believe it’s appropriate for the federal government to issue decrees encouraging private American citizens to engage in worship.

But far less amusing is the fact that Palin and others of her radical ilk reject any notion that “God should be separated from the state.” It’s the 21st century, for crying out loud. There are some countries that endorse Palin’s worldview and intermix God and government — Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan under Taliban rule come to mind — but they’re generally not countries the United States tries to emulate.

The separation of church and state has long been a concept that all Americans could embrace, and has served as a model for nations around the world to follow. For Palin to publicly denounce this bedrock American principle suggests she might actually be getting worse.

Postscript: As for Palin’s outrage over the president acknowledging that we’re not “a Christian nation,” Obama’s entirely correct.

Update: Greg Sargent obtained a transcript, and it’s worse than I thought. Palin not only thinks the Founding Fathers opposed church-state separation — in other words, she thinks those who came up with the idea opposed the idea — she also suggests religious people necessarily reject the constitutional principle. This is just astounding.

If anyone this conspicuously unintelligent has ever sought national office, I can’t think of who he/she is.