One of my favorite scenes in Recount, the excellent HBO movie about the theft of the Florida vote by the Bushies in 2000, is when the delicious Laura Dern, as Katherine Harris, claims divine guidance and biblical validation for her manipulation of law and process to install her governor’s brother as president. "I have been reading my Bible quite a bit lately, and I have been feeling this extremely strong kinship with Queen Esther," coos Dern/Harris. "You recall Queen Esther. [Uh, no.] She was willing to sacrifice herself to save the lovely Jewish people. [Oh.] And that's exactly what I'm doing right now." The dreamy combination of cluelessness and determination with which Dern delivers the lines brings home perfectly everything that was wrong with Harris, as she was lead by the nose to do the Bushes’ bidding.
Well, guess who else feels guided by the unseen hand of the ancient Persian queen with her very own book in the Old Testament. That’s right – none other that the GOP’s It Girl, Sarah Palin.
The New York Times this morning reports that after she took office as governor of Alaska, she went to some other old guy, the former pastor of her former nutty church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, for spiritual advice. "‘She asked for a biblical example of people who were great leaders and what was the secret of their leadership,’ Mr. Riley said", according to the Times. "He wrote back that she should read again from the Old Testament the story of Esther, a beauty queen who became a real one, gaining the king’s ear to avert the slaughter of the Jews and vanquish their enemies. When Esther is called to serve, God grants her a strength she never knew she had."
Well, you can tell he didn’t have to tell her twice. After that, she was off and running, trying to purge the state service of bad ex-brothers-in-law, demanding resignations of state agency heads, putting the fix in to get a pipeline done so Big Oil could continuing funding Alaska’s unique form of socialism, etc. All, no doubt, with god and Queen E on her side.
That Palin is a religious whack job should not be news to anyone – that’s why the out-of-touch, refrigerator-white Republicans who gathered in St. Paul this week just looove her so much. Her career path in government began right where the Dominionists tell their followers to start infiltrating the sinful secular government – on a school board. You could see it in her ditzy YouTubed talk just this past June to young and sadly impressionable A-of-G students about how "god has sent me from under the umbrella of this church throughout the state" and how the Stupid War and occupation in Iraq was a "task from god" and that Bush’s plan, such as it is, is "god’s plan". Hey, trouble in the Middle East? Hell, let’s send Sarah over there. Nah, they won’t care that she pretty much admitted that our Iraq disaster was just part of a New Crusades. Talk about your new era in foreign relations.
The Times’ story relates that the A-of-G stuff became a little too much for the Palins in 2002, right around the time she began her political career. I guess attending a church that claims "speaking in tongues and miraculous healings" was too much, even for the notoriously tolerant Alaskans. But that didn’t stop her from calling up its former pastor for the Esther tip.
All the wing-nuts who pretend to be sooo concerned with Barack Obama’s membership in a church are spending all of their time talking up the flash-in-the-pan known as Sarah Palin and ignoring or applauding her religious affiliation, even when she sat through a talk at the A-of-G by some asshole who described terrorist attacks on Israelis as god's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity. Listening to goofballs with a tight grip on the pulpit is something all church-goers have to put up with from time to time.
But the difference between Obama’s former church and that of Palin is that Palin’s church, as part of its mission, sends its followers out into the world to deliberately infiltrate secular institutions. All Obama ever got from Jeremiah Wright is the name of a book and a headache.