Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Feeling Comfortable Talking about Faith

This can't be possible. Two blogs in one night, one on Bush, now one on Sarah Palin, and both are going to be sympathetic. As a lifelong Democrat, I feel very weird speaking words of defense on behalf of either of these two, but this whole flap about Sarah Palin and her trust in God have pretty much had me throwing up my hands in despair.

Liberal that I thought I was, I was pretty disgusted at Chris Matthews' derision of Palin's invoking of God's guidance in her career. This isn't an issue of the separation of church and state. This is an issue of a woman for whom faith is a very important part of her life. She didn't say "God told me to run for VP." She prayed, "If there's an open door, God, please don't let me miss that open door." I can relate. I know how it feels, not knowing where I'm headed and asking God to please remember me and not let my spiritual flashlight batteries run down.

But somehow, the language of prayer is frightening to a large number of pundits. That's discouraging. I would hate to think that thinking voters have to make a choice between liberal politics and the language of faith. Must I leave my faith at the door in order to talk about politics? Especially given the fact that so much of the liberal agenda finds its roots in the pages of Torah.

Sarah Palin antagonized a lot of people during the campaign, and I'm not apologizing for that. I'm just wondering whether she's become less a person and more a symbol to be demonized and satirized, and frankly, while I wouldn't vote for her, I'm not so threatened by her language of faith. Maybe it's because I'm a rabbi, and I talk about God on a regular basis. Maybe it's because I believe I'm doing what I'm doing because God wants me to do it. And maybe it's because I have permission to say that because I am a rabbi, but politicians can't invoke the "G" word. That's really a shame. We want our politicians to be honest, and when they are, we get itchy.

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