Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is Governor Sarah Palin Too Religious to Be a Vice President?

There is much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the press about Gov. Palin's religious background. People invoke "separation of church and state" and fear that her religion will have too much impact on her decision. This may have a familiar ring to any readers who baby boomers (or older) - much the same was pondered when John Kennedy was running for President. Should we also worry about Sen. Biden, who said that his Catholic upbringing tells him that helping the poor is a moral imperative?

I have noted many examples on other posts in this venue of great leaders in our early history who had strong faith in God. They relied on prayer to guide them in their daily lives as well as during times of severe danger and stress. But such acts of faith did not stop after the Revolution. Here are some other examples (plus see FDR's prayer before D-Day).

Abraham Lincoln
During some troubling times in the Civil War, Lincoln said, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."
(Learn more)

William McKinley
When President McKinley struggled over the skirmish in the Philippines he sought God's guidance. In an interview he said, "I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way-I don't know how it was, but it came: That we could not give them back to Spain - that would be cowardly and dishonorable; that we could not turn them over to France and Germany - our commercial rivals in the Orient - that would be bad business and discreditable; that we could not leave them to themselves - they were unfit for self-government - and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was; and that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and the next morning..."
(Learn more)

John Kennedy
For President Kennedy's inaugural address he asked for the help of Billy Graham in choosing scripture passages. Part of his speech contained a vow to "go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own."
(Learn more)

Jimmy Carter
President Carter has often been quoted as saying "There's no doubt that during my time as president I prayed more intensely and more fervently for God's guidance than at any other time in my life..."
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George W. Bush
There are a number of examples in the eight years of President Bush's term of his faith and its application in his office. Readers may remember hearing about daily Bible studies in the White House. The a reported discovered "that Bush had prayed with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski... when he came to the Oval Office for a visit." Also, from an article in Newsweek, "When the American EP-3 spy plane was downed in China last year, Bush asked if the crew had two things: access to Bibles and exercise. For Bush, these are two essentials to his daily existence." And from the same article, "
Lately it's come out that he and his Cabinet say a prayer before their meetings. Similarly, at Camp David, Bush will randomly call on one of his staff members to say grace at dinner."
(Learn more)

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