PALIN’S PASTORS…. Barack Obama’s connection to the former pastor of his former church has been, fairly or unfairly, one of the more scrutinized aspects of the presidential campaign. But if the political world considers Jeremiah Wright a legitimate issue, then it’s inevitable, I suppose, that Sarah Palin’s pastors get a closer look.
Nico Pitney and Sam Stein have the story of Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church that Palin attended for years.
A review of recorded sermons by Ed Kalnins, the senior pastor of Wasilla Assembly of God since 1999, offers a provocative and, for some, eyebrow-raising sketch of Palin’s longtime spiritual home.
The church runs a number of ministries providing help to poor neighborhoods, care for children in need, and general community services. But Pastor Kalnins has also preached that critics of President Bush will be banished to hell; questioned whether people who voted for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 would be accepted to heaven; charged that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and war in Iraq were part of a war “contending for your faith;” and said that Jesus “operated from that position of war mode.”
It is impossible to determine how much Wasilla Assembly of God has shaped Palin’s thinking. She was baptized there at the age of 12 and attended the church for most of her adult life.
The report goes into some additional details, which are well worth checking out.
While Palin maintains a relationship with Wasilla Assembly of God, and its founding pastor delivered the invocation when she was inaugurated as governor, she and her family no longer worship there. That said, Ken Silverstein and Sebastian Jones have a report on Palin’s more recent pastors, both of whom offer congregants colorful end-times sermons about “living in the last days.”
For the record, I’m far more concerned with Palin’s far-right worldview, credibility problems, ethical lapses, and lack of qualifications than I am her spiritual leaders. But if the political world considers Wright a major issue, then Palin’s pastors should also draw at least some scrutiny.