Palin’s pastors

PALIN’S PASTORS…. Given the inordinate interest in Barack Obama’s former church and former pastor, it’s not unreasonable to take a closer look at Sarah Palin’s spiritual home and its political implications. There is, for example, the “Jews for Jesus” issue.

Palin’s pastor, Larry Kroon, invited the founder of Jews for Jesus, David Brickner, to speak at her church on August 17th, Politico’s Ben Smith reported. According to its mission statement, Jews for Jesus is an organization that tries: “to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.”

Palin and her family were present in the church for Brickner’s sermon, the full text of which can be found here. In the sermon, he made a number of inflammatory claims, most particularly about terrorist attacks in Israel. “Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It’s very real,” he opined. Speaking of his son, who had recently been in Jerusalem, he said: “When Isaac was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can’t miss it.”

The McCain campaign emphasized the fact that Brickner is not the church’s usual pastor, and was just an invited guest. That’s true. It doesn’t explain, though, why Palin would attend a church that invites guys like Brickner to give sermons in the first place.

And while Palin’s church might make Jewish voters look askance at the Republican ticket, gay voters will probably have similar concerns.

Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

“You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,” according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years. […]

“I think gay Republicans are going to run away” if Palin supports efforts like the prayers to convert gays, said Wayne Besen, founder of the New York-based Truth Wins Out, a gay rights advocacy group. Besen called on Palin to publicly express her views now that she’s a vice presidential nominee. “People are looking at Sarah Palin as someone who might feasibly be in the White House,” he said.

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 Jeremiah Wright a major issue, then Palin’s pastors should also draw at least some scrutiny.