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Contentions

Of All the Arguments to Make . . .

Am I missing something, or is Christopher Hitchens actually resting his case for Barack Obama on what he finds unpleasant about Sarah Palin’s church?

Videos taken in the Assembly of God church in Wasilla, Alaska, which she used to attend, show her nodding as a preacher says that Alaska will be “one of the refuge states in the Last Days.” For the uninitiated, this is a reference to a crackpot belief, widely held among those who brood on the “End Times,” that some parts of the world will end at different times from others, and Alaska will be a big draw as the heavens darken on account of its wide open spaces. An article by Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times gives further gruesome details of the extreme Pentecostalism with which Palin has been associated in the past (perhaps moderating herself, at least in public, as a political career became more attractive). High points, also available on YouTube, show her being “anointed” by an African bishop who claims to cast out witches. The term used in the trade for this hysterical superstitious nonsense is “spiritual warfare,” in which true Christian soldiers are trained to fight demons. Palin has spoken at “spiritual warfare” events as recently as June. And only last week the chiller from Wasilla spoke of “prayer warriors” in a radio interview with James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who said that he and his lovely wife, Shirley, had convened a prayer meeting to beseech that “God’s perfect will be done on Nov. 4.”

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

You’ve been given your mandate, intellectual America! Fight clerical ignorance by electing a president whose spiritual mentor preaches that H.I.V. was invented by the U.S. government. Stand up to bullying stupidity and toxic envy by casting your vote for the two-decade-long member of Jeremiah Wright’s “God damn America” Trinity United Church — an institution that readily supported Louis Farrakhan and that furnished Hamas-supporters with a forum to spew anti-Israel fantasies. And don’t forget to demonstrate your love for the Constitution by putting in the White House a man who laments the “essential constraints” the document places on the judiciary’s ability to spread wealth around. Good night, God bless, yes we can, and Amen.


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