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  • Leonidas

    I hope your prayers come true, I don’t want Palin there, but I also don’t see anything wrong with her statement asking Americans to pray for their country and asserting that “No one person has all the right answers” so we should pray for guidance.

    Perhaps an athieest might scoff, but I think any reader here who believes in a divine being, would agree that prayer is a good thing and that we should pray for our nation and for it to go in the best direction. Don’t let your political views of Palin get mixed up with condemning her for being supportive of prayer Kathy.

    • lysergicasset

      Palin does not believe in the separation of church and state, which is unacceptable for an American politician; maybe she wants to admit her desire to throw out the entire Constitution also. (Forget saying, ‘but she hasn’t declared her candidacy yet’ – it’s blatantly obvious she’s planning on doing so.) I pray but I definitely do not welcome having this as part of a political discussion.

  • kathykattenburg

    Don’t let your political views of Palin get mixed up with condemning her for being supportive of prayer Kathy.And that’s not what I’m doing. Palin is politicizing religiosity and prayer, and if she ever got into the White House, she would conduct domestic and foreign policy in accordance with her Christian fundamentalist biblical literalist religious dogma. That’s why I don’t want her in the White House. Perhaps an athieest might scoff, but I think any reader here who believes in a divine being, would agree that prayer is a good thing and that we should pray for our nation and for it to go in the best direction.I am not an atheist, and I do not agree with that statement. Prayer is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It’s a private and personal thing, and should not be politicized. When you start to say things like “We should pray for our nation and for it to go in the best direction,” you start to turn a spiritual exercise that is inherently individual, personal and private, or communal within a religious community, into a tool for achieving specific political ends. Injecting religious belief and religious practice into the arena of public policy and partisan politics is wrong and even more important, it’s dangerous.

  • ProfElwood

    I didn’t read anything from the link that she was either telling us what God wanted, or that she was recommending anything for the government to do to support religion. Praying for His will to be done is a pretty common thing in Christianity. Calm down people!

    • kathykattenburg

      I didn’t read anything from the link that she was either telling us what God wanted, or that she was recommending anything for the government to do to support religion. Praying for His will to be done is a pretty common thing in Christianity. Calm down people!

      If you don’t see it, Elwood, then you don’t see it. This is not the kind of thing you can be persuaded to see if you don’t. That does not mean it isn’t blatantly obvious to many Americans who do not want to be governed by someone who puts her beliefs about prayer and religion and God in unambiguously political terms.

      “It’s important for leaders to recognize that it takes “godly counsel,” to properly run the country; that “it takes prayer and answers to prayer, and a collective humble heart of a nation seeking God’s hand of protection and his blessings of prosperity”? A “collective humble heart of a nation seeking God’s hand of protection and his blessings of prosperity”? That’s a specific right-wing political belief system clothed in religious language. “His blessings of prosperity”? Wealth is a blessing from God? The biblical prophets like Isaiah, Amos, Micah, et al., would disagree. The entire Bible is a rebuke to that notion. It’s a perversion of religion.

      But here’s the point. Sarah Palin has the right to equate her religion with the worship of the Gospel of Prosperity if she so wishes — but she does not have the right to tell the rest of us that our elected leaders need to “rededicate the nation to God.” She does not have the right to govern, or tell us that the nation’s leaders should run the country according to their doctrinal beliefs about what God tells them to do. “Oh, I think I’ll just order airstrikes against Iran” — not because Iran is about to attack the U.S. or because objective and verifiable evidence shows they are an imminent threat to our national security, but because I prayed to God to tell me if I should bomb Iran, and He said I should.”

      • AustinRoth

        Kathy –

        I cannot help myself.

        Obama Says He Prays ‘All The Time’ For Guidance

        Are you going to call out Obama now too? My guess on that is “no”. That would require you to to be unbiased.

        My other guess is you will try and come up with some flimsy justification about how Obama’s statement is ‘different’ than Palin’s, but it isn’t.

        Well, OK, it is different, at least to people like you. He is a Democrat, and so can talk about religious guidance for his political decisions. That of course is not allowed for Republicans.

  • HemmD

    I think Kathy is right, politicizing prayer is wrong. Don’t take my word for it:

    “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

    Mathew 6:6

    The vocal religious right would do well in reading about the Pharisee’s pomposity. Jesus didn’t think much of those who judge others, and Palin et al sure spend a lot of time pointing out everybody else’s sins. This is the fundamental problem with trying to blend religion and politics, moral condemnation without self-incrimination is not only hypocritical, it’s impossible.

  • DLS

    “Calm down people!”

    It’s not just allergy. It’s neurosis, or worse. Happens all too frequently…

  • StockBoySF

    I think Palin is right that more humbleness is in order for politicians. There is too much greed and pride in politics. I also think Palin, the ex-beauty queen, quitter-governor-so-she-could-earn-lots-of-money-in-pursuit-of-her-own-ambitious-goals, can start by setting the example.

    I also agree with Kathy that Palin takes the bible too literally, particularly her belief in the apocalypse and end of days.

    • imavettoo

      You really think Palin knows the meaning of the word “Humb;le”? Get a grip.

      • kathykattenburg

        You really think Palin knows the meaning of the word “Humb;le”?

        That’s part of the outrageousness, of course. Palin is among the least likely vessels for an attitude of humbleness. I think she should pray for a humble spirit for herself, and struggle to achieve it herself before recommending it for the nation and its leaders. That alone would take her the rest of her life, no doubt. Of course, there’s the neat irony: If she were capable of doing that, or wanted to do that, she would not have told everyone else they need to cultivate a humble spirit — it’s not a humble thing to do.

      • Leonidas

        You really think Palin knows the meaning of the word “Humb;le”? Get a grip.

        I bet she can spell it correctly. =P

        Just teasing, typos happen.

  • Leonidas

    If you don’t see it, Elwood, then you don’t see it. This is not the kind of thing you can be persuaded to see if you don’t. That does not mean it isn’t blatantly obvious to many Americans who do not want to be governed by someone who puts her beliefs about prayer and religion and God in unambiguously political terms.

    Or imagined by the hysterical Sarah Palin haters on the left, even if there is nothing there.The far left has once again become that which they condemn.

    Palin is politicizing religiosity and prayer

    Seems to be what Kattenburg is doing . Kathy let the woman recommend that people pray if she wants to without a bunch of partisan diatribe.If you want to be critical of “politicizing religion” Kathy, at least treat it equally on both side of the aisle and send Obama a broadside of your outrage for this:http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/200

    Reporting my piece on the Obama White House commissioning and vetting prayers for the president’s rallies, I spoke with aides and official archivists for presidents going back to the Carter administration. I couldn’t find a White House precedent for the Obama prayer program. The Reagan White House came closest. But I was intrigued by the aides’ and archivists’ reports on how public prayer figured—or didn’t—into previous White Houses.

    http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/200

    Though invocations have long been commonplace at presidential inaugurations and certain events like graduations or religious services at which presidents are guests, the practice of commissioning and vetting prayers for presidential rallies is unprecedented in modern history, according to religion and politics experts.

    “The only thing worse than having these prayers in the first place is to have them vetted, because it entangles the White House in core theological matters,” Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said upon learning of the Obama invocations.

    I see nothing wrong with this either, but if your going to let Sarah Palin have it for recommending prayer, you should certainly throw some of your vitrol at President Obama. You do want to be consistent I hope.

    • kathykattenburg

      I see nothing wrong with this either, but if your going to let Sarah Palin have it for recommending prayer, you should certainly throw some of your vitrol at President Obama. You do want to be consistent I hope.

      Well, I see plenty wrong with it. It offends me and worries me that it no longer seems to be possible to conduct the affairs of state without intrusive public invocations to God. It’s deeply offensive to me.

      • Leonidas

        Well, I see plenty wrong with it. It offends me and worries me that it no longer seems to be possible to conduct the affairs of state without intrusive public invocations to God. It’s deeply offensive to me.

        I gave you a like click for this, glad to see some consistency here as your willing to criticize Obama on this. Perhaps a new Kathy Kattenberg thread denouncing this and going deeper into your thoughts as to why your angry or dissatisfied by this practice by President Obama? If Sarah Palin deserved a thread for this, perhaps you will fell President obama should get a similar one of his own?

        • kathykattenburg

          I gave you a like click for this, glad to see some consistency here as your willing to criticize Obama on this. Perhaps a new Kathy Kattenberg thread denouncing this and going deeper into your thoughts as to why your angry or dissatisfied by this practice by President Obama? If Sarah Palin deserved a thread for this, perhaps you will fell President obama should get a similar one of his own?

          Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, Leonidas, what IS this about? What is it you need for me to say or expect me to say? I already told you that I find public invocations to God or statements from political figures about how important prayer is in their lives to be offensive and off-putting regardless of party label or what the particular name of the particular person is. If Barack Obama made public statements about praying to God for guidance, I find that just as unnecessary and offensive and it makes me just as queasy as when Sarah Palin says it, or anyone else. And it’s not just because it’s skirting the line between church and state. It’s because of the obvious truth that politicians feel they MUST bow to God and prayer in public. It’s become a litmus test for getting anything done.

          I wrote about Sarah Palin’s public religiosity because I happened to see an article about it. If at some point in the future I see an article about Barack Obama calling for the U.S. to rededicate itself to God, etc., etc., I will happily write a post about that.

          Okay?

          • Leonidas

            What is it you need for me to say or expect me to say?

            I expect nothing, I need nothing except for you to start threads criticizing Democrats for the same type thing you criticize Republicans for for me to take your posts seriously as issues based rather than simply pastisan scanning of liberal biased articles from Think Progress and other liberal sources. I’d also need you to research a bit better when you attack one group or person and think about others from your own side who exhibit such behavior and make note of such in our original posts. Until that time, I will see most of what you post as primarily partisan attacks aimed to discredit the other side tabloid style.

          • kathykattenburg

            In fact, I have, but of course you never take those in to your conscious awareness because of the partisan bias that consumes your own mind and heart. Unfortunately for your very limited world view, neither politics nor any other human endeavor lends itself to that neat, symmetrical “He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not…” daisy petal plucking.Sorry.

  • Leonidas

    Lets break this down:

    a humble spirit could help leaders to get more answers on issues such as health care, energy and national security.

    Ok anyone disagree with this? if so why?

    “No one person has all the right answers. It takes a united nation, and it does take godly counsel, and it takes prayer and answers to prayer – and a collective humble heart of a nation seeking God’s hand of protection and his blessings of prosperity.

    Anyone of any faith disagree with this? I can understand an atheist disagreeing but anyone else think that without God we can find all the perfect answers to the world’s problems?

    She said the United States has been “touched by God” because the nation’s early leaders dedicated the country to God.

    I don’t disagree with this either, the founding fathers had a definite religious inclination for the most part, although I will agree with any who argue it was not zealot oriented. Reading Thomas jefferson’s writings are nough to make that point, but still there was a definite religious influence that helps shape our nation and its institutions. In the first sentence of the Declaration of independence we have reference to God

    When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    and again in the second

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Pretty prominent right off the bat.

    The Preamble to the Constitution is less direct, but the refernce is there as well

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    A “blessing” of Liberty was the chosen phrase as opposed to the “right” of Liberty if you will note above.

    This religious inclination affected how the founding fathers looked at the new government and envisioned the future of the nation they formed. They help to guide but did not dictate a narrow minded religious view and/or intolerance towards people of varied religious beliefs.

  • The former Alaska governor referred to an Abraham Lincoln proclamation that declared a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

    That would be…Thanksgiving Day. Wow, she wants us to return to a holiday that we celebrate every year – and in which the President is required by law to issue a proclamation of a day of prayer.

    And, just for comparison purposes, here are two of George W. Bush’s legally required Thanksgiving proclamations.

  • JSpencer

    hysterical Sarah Palin haters on the left ~ Leonidas

    Well shoot, nothing “hysterical” about that comment eh? ;-)Heck, I don’t “hate” Sarah Palin in the least, nor do I think the vast majority of people “hate” her. I do however find it disturbing that many folks in this country have such a low bar for standards of leadership. Remember, she WAS picked for VP and WAS enthusiastically received by the GOP, that cannot be denied ~ and this happened AFTER the lessons (unlearned apparently) of GWB. As for the religious component, the founders were clear when it came to protections of and from religion. To the extent that it can inform character for the good, as part of a private enterprise, then fine. But this country was in no way EVER intended to be a theorcracy or even close. Smart guys those founders eh? I promise to keep my superstitions out of our government if you promise to do the same.

    • Leonidas

      Heck, I don’t “hate” Sarah Palin in the least,

      Then my comment did not refer to you Sir. In fact your name never crossed my mind as I find you to be anything but hysterical. I enjoy much of your postings in fact, even if I don’t agree, I do have a level of respect for your thoughts.

  • kathykattenburg

    I’m glad to see you back, AR, but there’s really no point to me answering this question, because it’s not really a question. It’s a bitter, angry, sarcastic pre-formed conclusion, and confirmation is the only answer you will accept. You don’t really want a serious answer, so I won’t give you one.

    I hope you and your family are in good health.

    • AustinRoth

      Sorry Kathy, but as usual, you remain full of egesta.

      There was nothing in MY initial post that rises your usual over-the-top description and reaction. I made no bitter or angry remarks (why would I? I am neither religious not a Palin supporter).

      Certainly I was sarcastic, as you always seem to make it too easy to be so with your total inability to see anything from other than DU talking points. There was also I am sure things that made you angry, as you always get so when your extreme partisanship, hypocrisy and bias is exposed.

      But again as always, you do not address the point of my post, that most politicians, including Obama, do indeed call on prayer, so your rant against Palin is nothing more than YOUR bitter, angry, sarcastic pre-formed conclusion. Where is your cry that Obama is a dangerous religious nut? Oops, that, too, doesn’t fit your bitter, angry, sarcastic pre-formed conclusion.

      You in particular are the main reason I do not come around much anymore, and I have not forgotten why, with your ad hominum attacks (again, your normal way of avoiding intellectual arguments beyond your capability to enjoin), your inability to admit overreaction and mistakes, and your total lack of class.

      • kathykattenburg

        You in particular are the main reason I do not come around much anymore, ….

        It’s unfortunate, then, that you happened to come around at a time when you felt compelled to respond to one of my posts. I wish for your sake that the timing had been more fortuitous.

    • Leonidas

      It’s a bitter, angry, sarcastic pre-formed conclusion, and confirmation is the only answer you will accept.

      And the topic of this thread is different?

      Pot meet kettle.

  • adelinesdad

    I agree with Leonides and others. I’m not a fan of Palin, but I see nothing wrong here, and nothing that isn’t consistent with what many past and present presidents have said. She’s not saying “pray for Republicans to win elections” or anything remotely close to that, which truly would be a politicization of prayer. To address some specific points:

    Kathy: “Wealth is a blessing from God? The biblical prophets like Isaiah, Amos, Micah, et al., would disagree. The entire Bible is a rebuke to that notion. It’s a perversion of religion. ”

    She didn’t say we should pray for wealth, she said we should pray for prosperity, which is not equivalent. Prosperity is a more general concept. Surely you are not saying that it is wrong to pray for prosperity, either for an individual or a society or nation? God clearly has an interest in seeing his children prosper, as evidenced by many scriptures and stories from the bibles, such as the great Exodus and subsequent inheritance of the promised land, full of milk and honey.

    Kathy: “Well, I see plenty wrong with it. It offends me and worries me that it no longer seems to be possible to conduct the affairs of state without intrusive public invocations to God. It’s deeply offensive to me.”

    As has been noted by others, public invocations to God have been common since our nations founding. If you find that troubling that’s fine, but it is not a recent phenomenon. And also, I don’t see where in the article you linked to that she is suggesting that we should make public invocations to God. She is talking about prayer, and how we all should ask for the assistance of God, but to me it sounds like she is talking about individuals praying, not necessarily collective prayer. But even if she is talking about collective prayer, as others have pointed out this would not be a new thing in our nation’s history.

    • kathykattenburg

      She didn’t say we should pray for wealth, she said we should pray for prosperity, which is not equivalent. Prosperity is a more general concept.Merriam-Webster Online defines “prosperity” as: “the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being.”Additionally, “prosperity” has a particular contemporary reference to one specific concept in one specific religious doctrine. The Urban Dictionary:”Prosperity Gospel: a doctrine taught by mostly evangelical Christian televangelists that wealth and prosperity are promised in the Bible for devoting your life to God, or that a life of wealth and health and prosperity are signs of God’s favor.”The contributor of this definition goes on to say that the Prosperity Gospel is completely unbiblical, which I agree with, but that is not the point here. The point is that when Sarah Palin — a fundamentalist evangelical who takes the Bible literally (a contradiction since a literal reading of the Bible would never lead anyone to the Prosperity Gospel, but that’s the hypocrisy of social conservatives) — tells us that “it takes godly counsel,” to properly run the country; that “it takes prayer and answers to prayer, and a collective humble heart of a nation seeking God’s hand of protection and his blessings of prosperity,” she is referring to her particular doctrinal Christian religious beliefs about what God is and what God wants. Surely you are not saying that it is wrong to pray for prosperity, either for an individual or a society or nation?Look, AD, you and Sarah Palin and anyone else who so wishes, can pray for anything you want.But it is offensive and antithetical to the constitutional concept of a wall of separation between church and state for a political figure (and quite possibly a candidate for president) to be telling us we need to be united under her conception of God and that our leaders need to ask the God of Prosperity to tell them what to do so those leaders can then go out and tell the rest of us that God has advised them to invade oil-rich countries in the Middle East so that Americans can continue to receive the blessings of prosperity from God.God clearly has an interest in seeing his children prosper, as evidenced by many scriptures and stories from the bibles, such as the great Exodus and subsequent inheritance of the promised land, full of milk and honey.First of all, God doesn’t have children. God is not a father. I am not God’s child. I am a divine spark, and I am part of God, as God is part of me, because God is the totality of all that is — every plant, animal, stone, clod of earth, human being, river, mountain on Earth, and everything else that exists in the Universe. God’s purpose — and my purpose, as a physical manifestation of God — is to be a voice for the voiceless, to do what I can to end oppression, hunger, disease, poverty, persecution, cruelty, and despair. Obviously, my understanding of God and what God demands of me and the rest of humanity is as different from Sarah Palin’s as the Himalayas are from the Great Plains. So how do you suppose people would react if I were a political leader and announced that it’s time to bring God back into our nation and that the nation’s leaders should seek godly counsel so that the Holy One can fill our leaders with the will to end poverty and oppression, war and violence, persecution and injustice so that, in the words of the prophet Amos, “justice rolls down like a mighty stream”? Would that make you a bit uneasy, if I were the former governor of a large state, considering a run for the presidency, intent on using my fame and popularity as a tool to make this a godly nation again?And also, I don’t see where in the article you linked to that she is suggesting that we should make public invocations to God. She is talking about prayer, and how we all should ask for the assistance of God, but to me it sounds like she is talking about individuals praying, not necessarily collective prayer.Well, perhaps you should read her more closely, because she is not just talking about individuals praying. She is saying that the affairs of the nation should be conducted according to God’s will. She is saying that the nation’s leaders (that would be governors, members of Congress, the President, etc.) should pray to God for instructions on how to run the country, what decisions to make, what policies to support, what laws to pass, what actions to take. And given her strong and particular personal understanding of the links between what God wants and what she wants in terms of public policy, that IS, objectively, offensive and dangerous and a clear sign of disrespect and disregard for the principle of separation of church and state.

      • adelinesdad

        Merriam-Webster Online defines “prosperity” as: “the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being.”

        How did I know the dictionary would be invoked? 🙂 Note the word “especially”, which does not mean “exclusively”. Also, I checked a few other dictionaries previously (expecting to have to defend that statement) and it seems common for dictionaries to list an alternate definition that does not involve economics but is more general.In any case, you ignored my example of the Exodus, so what about the Lord’ prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread”? There are plenty of other biblical examples. What about the healing miracles? I’m not familiar with the “Prosperity Doctrine”, but given the summary from the Urban Dictionary I disagree with it. I believe that it is proper and biblical for me to pray for myself, my family, others, my nation, humankind, etc. to prosper. However, God may choose not to grant that prayer for reasons which may or may not have anything to do with the righteousness of those to receive the blessing. So I can’t look at another and judge his or her righteousness by his or her prosperity. So in that sense the Prosperity Doctrine is wrong. Whether that is what Palin was referring to is a judgment I can’t make.”First of all, God doesn’t have children.”The concept of God as our Father clearly is biblical. If you don’t believe that doctrine then I respect your belief, but your the one who brought up the bible in relation to prosperity, so I didn’t think mentioning that particular biblical doctrine would be an issue. In any case, that debate is a tangent.

        Obviously, my understanding of God and what God demands of me and the rest of humanity is as different from Sarah Palin’s as the Himalayas are from the Great Plains. So how do you suppose people would react if I were a political leader and announced that it’s time to bring God back into our nation and that the nation’s leaders should seek godly counsel so that the Holy One can fill our leaders with the will to end poverty and oppression, war and violence, persecution and injustice so that, in the words of the prophet Amos, “justice rolls down like a mighty stream”? Would that make you a bit uneasy, if I were the former governor of a large state, considering a run for the presidency, intent on using my fame and popularity as a tool to make this a godly nation again?

        Like I said in my previous comment, if Palin’s comments trouble you, that’s fine. I respect the fact that you are troubled by them, and if you are troubled then should speak out against them as you are doing. What I was responding to was your statement that this is a new trend (which was implied by the words “no longer” in your previous comment) when in fact Palin’s comments are consistent with what other leaders have said, past and present.”She is saying that the nation’s leaders (that would be governors, members of Congress, the President, etc.) should pray to God for instructions on how to run the country, what decisions to make, what policies to support, what laws to pass, what actions to take.”If one believes that people ought to pray for guidance (I don’t know if you do or not), I see no reason why lawmakers are excluded from that. Sure, if someone is prone to do crazy things because they believe God is speaking to them when he clearly is not, then that is a great reason not to vote for them. But that is just one of many reasons why someone might make bad decisions, which means it is not prayer that is the problem, it is their approach to decision making which may or may not involve prayer.

  • JSpencer

    Palin has plenty of other low bar issues without ever having to bring up religion. The fact that she does bring up religion (and often) is troubling only in the context of her other displays of ignorance and poor judgement. Yes, prayer and religious symbolism has long been part of the trappings of government, but the line between church and state was made clear by the founders. I have no concerns about whether or not Obama knows where that line resides, but wouldn’t place bets on Palin’s knowledge in the same area.

  • kathykattenburg

    you ignored my example of the Exodus, so what about the Lord’ prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread”? There are plenty of other biblical examples. What about the healing miracles?What about them? If you are saying those examples are evidence that God “blesses” us with “prosperity” (which does strongly imply, both in dictionary meaning and in everyday usage, the idea of well-being in the specific sense of material comfort and wealth), I don’t think that the text, in context, supports the meaning you are ascribing to it. The Exodus story is one of liberation from slavery and oppression. That is the overwhelming message and lesson we are meant to take from that biblical event. “A land of milk and honey” is not, in my view, a reference to material prosperity and economic wealth. It’s a reference to the Holy Land — the Jewish people’s ancient home, not, in the Torah, with all the contemporary political freightings, but a place where they will no longer be slaves, no longer be persecuted and subjugated. “A land of milk and honey” is a metaphor for freedom. What could be more evocative of safety and freedom and nurturing than milk? What could be sweeter than honey? Not to put too fine a point on this, but I think using the “land of milk and honey” reference as proof that God wants us to be prosperous, is a real stretch. If there is one message that followers of the Judeo-Christian tradition are meant to take from Exodus, it’s that we are obligated to identify with the plight of persecuted and oppressed people everywhere, not that God endorses or gives us “prosperity.” That is what Jews re-enact every year at Passover, and what we discuss at our seders — not how we can increase our material abundance.As for the Lord’s Prayer, that is specifically Christian, so I can’t speak to it with as much personal confidence in my own knowledge or understanding. However, just my opinion: “Give us this day our daily bread” does NOT sound to me like a request for God to grant prosperity. It sounds to me like sort of exactly what it says: Please grant that we will have enough food to eat today. Please help us put food on our table so our children don’t starve. The concept of God as our Father clearly is biblical.Again, not to put too fine a point on it, but the concept of God as our Father is specifically Christian. It’s undeniably true that the Hebrew Bible conceives of God as a male authority figure — but as a king, as “the Lord,” not as “our Father.” The reason I think this is worth emphasizing is that when political figures refer to “our heavenly Father” or similar language, they are using specific doctrinal language. It’s not that “the Lord” or “king over all the world” (melech ha-olam) isn’t uncomfortable, at best, for many modern readers (myself included), but when I hear Sarah Palin or some other religious rightist use the word “Father” to refer to God, I know they’re coming from a Christian tradition, which is a particular religion, as we all know. I’ll add that I’m guessing (and this really IS something I’m not at all sure of; it’s just a guess) that the concept of God as the Father comes from the concept of the Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I know this is more of a Catholic and Anglican, or Episcopalian, religious concept, but it does derive from Christianity (if I’m right that “Father” comes from the tripartite concept).What I was responding to was your statement that this is a new trend (which was implied by the words “no longer” in your previous comment) when in fact Palin’s comments are consistent with what other leaders have said, past and present.You are right that overt and often fervent expressions of religiosity have always been a part of American public life. However, the larger context matters a lot — and here I refer you to JSpencer’s comments that addressed this point. Sarah Palin is a card-carrying member (to use the phrase conservatives often use) of the Christian religious right. And, as such, her religious pronouncements are strongly prescriptive. It’s very hard to separate specific public policy and legislative agenda from religious belief in the world of fundamentalist right-wing Christians, because they themselves see government as a way to advance their theology. And that is why when someone like Sarah Palin proclaims that “the nation” needs to unite with “a humble and contrite heart seeking God’s hand of protection and God’s blessings of prosperity,” and that, in order to govern, our nation’s leaders need to seek “godly counsel” and need to recognize that “it takes prayer, and it takes answers to prayers” to be a good senator or congressperson or president, I shudder and I bristle.If one believes that people ought to pray for guidance (I don’t know if you do or not), I see no reason why lawmakers are excluded from that.I don’t believe that people “ought” to pray for guidance. I do believe that people ought to seek guidance before making important decisions, but that guidance need not be divine. I think that prayer as a tool for guidance is entirely a matter of personal choice, and that there are many other tools one can use to aid decision-making in addition to prayer or without recourse to prayer.With particular regard to lawmakers, I see no reason why they should be excluded from prayer, either, but in fact they are not, and in further fact, excluding them from prayer would be literally impossible, since prayer can be silent and inward. It doesn’t *have* to be loud and vocal and public and announced in advance and declared to be a policy.Even if lawmakers do pray for guidance, however, it should not be the major factor in their decision-making. God is notoriously fickle about answering prayers, and paradoxically, sometimes God answers prayers and you don’t even know it! Also, God speaks in a really teeny-tiny voice and sometimes it’s hard to hear what God is saying. In fact, there is even a danger — given that God’s voice is hard to hear and even harder to distinguish from one’s own voice — that one may prefer a particular course so action so much that one mistakes one’s own urging voice for God’s. All in all, not the best way to make decisions that are going to affect 300 million Americans and in some cases the entire planet.

    Edited to add: I cannot let you get away with that bit about “especially” not meaning “always,” because that ignores the point of what “especially” means. “Especially” means “more than anything else,” and that is the point here. If “prosperity” always meant material wealth and economic well-being, one would not need to put in any modifying word like “especially” or “always.” It’s the fact that, out of all the possible shades of meaning, the word “prosperity” most commonly and frequently carries the meaning of “wealth” or “economic abundance” that necessitates the addition of the modifier “especially.”

    • adelinesdad

      Kathy,

      With regards to prosperity, you have argued that it is primarily an economic concept. I agree that it is (although not exclusively so), but you appear to be taking the concept ever farther. You are equating prosperity with *excess* wealth, not just economic well-being. For example, I would consider liberation from slavery and starvation to be associated with the concept of prosperity. I would consider having a job, even a low paying one, to a be a certain level of prosperity. I would consider having good health, which helps you attain a certain level of economic well-being, to be a associated with the concept of prosperity. Therefore, in relation to praying for prosperity, I don’t see it as praying for excess wealth even if we accept that prosperity is generally an economic term.

      With regards to God as our Father, that is a doctrinal discussion that is only tangentially related to the current discussion so I won’t comment further on that.

      Now back to Palin. What you seem to be saying now is that it is not so much her call for prayer that makes you uncomfortable, but it is in context with her other religious views. Fair enough, I’m only interested in defending the content of what she said, not her particular religious beliefs beyond what she said in the article.

      With regards to praying for guidance, I didn’t mean to suggest that prayer should be the only component of a decision making process. I won’t go into my specific thoughts about prayer and decision making, except to say that I believe God did give us the ability to think for a reason. If I were asked to make a decision that would affect millions of people, I would certainly spend a lot of time thinking, analyzing, discussing, etc. (and I’m not one of those who has faulted Obama for doing so), but I would also do quite a bit of praying, as I would guess Obama has also done to some degree.

      • kathykattenburg

        With regards to prosperity, you have argued that it is primarily an economic concept. I agree that it is (although not exclusively so), but you appear to be taking the concept ever farther. You are equating prosperity with *excess* wealth, not just economic well-being.

        I don’t agree that I’m taking the concept “ever further.” I’ve said from the start that “prosperity” means economic well-being. It doesn’t mean being healthy or having a subsistence job. It means having everything that you need and/or want materially. It means having enough money to be able to enjoy your money for its own sake, and for the sake of things it can buy, the physical comfort and the psychological gratification it can provide. That may or may not be synonymous with “excess wealth,” but it certainly isn’t struggling along with a low-paid job w/o health insurance.

        I don’t understand the connection you make between prosperity, and liberation from slavery or starvation. I see liberation from slavery (of whatever kind — physical, spiritual, emotional) and starvation as being in a state of freedom. Freedom and prosperity are not the same thing. (Although I recognize that conservative Republicans think they are.)

        With regards to praying for guidance, I didn’t mean to suggest that prayer should be the only component of a decision making process.

        This last paragraph I can find nothing to disagree with. (I’ve tried! I’ve tried!) 🙂

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