Thanks to the likes of AP’s Eric Gorski and Rachel Zoll (here) and the Wall Street Journal‘s Suzanne Sataline (here), we now know that Sarah Palin was formed religiously in a pretty old-timey Pentecostal church. Here’s the lede to Sataline’s story in yesterday’s paper:
At the Pentecostal church where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin worshipped for more than two decades, congregants speak in tongues and are part of a faith that believes humanity is in its “end times” — the days preceding a world-ending cataclysm bringing Christian redemption and the second coming of Jesus.
Baptized a Catholic, Palin was re-baptized as a teenager at Wasilla Assemblies of God, and continued to belong there until 2002 when she left to join a non-denominational Bible church in Wasilla. When she’s in Juneau, however, she worships at a church of her old denomination. It’s the biggest of the American Pentecostal denominations, and up till now the most prominent member in politics has been John Ashcroft.
Will Sarah Palin get up close and personal about her “faith journey” sometime before the election? Will she say why she left the church that formed her spiritually? Is that any of our business? I confess that after reading any number of articles claiming that Obama joined Trinity UCC for the secular and political connections, I’m curious that, as she prepared for taking a place on a larger political stage, running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, Palin should have gone over to a church where they don’t speak in tongues, where the teachings are, in the words of its pastor “so normal” (albeit welcoming of Jews for Jesus). And the fact that she and her biographer and the McCain campaign seem to be doing everything they can to gloss over her Pentecostal roots.
This is plainly a can of worms. But in a world where candidates get to reveal all kinds of positive things about their private lives, are the things they don’t want to reveal necessarily out of bounds?