Her personal faith 2

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I certainly can’t complain that the Getreligionistas have ignored my little call-out, either in commenting on my earlier post or in their own purlieu. I don’t think coverage of Palin’s religion has been as bad as they do (though it’s been far from perfect), and “not terribly open about her religious views” (as Mollie puts it) does not exactly capture the pattern of evasion that I laid out. I do agree that the primary question that should concern us is what impact, if any, a candidate’s religious views might have on her conduct in office. And here, there can be little doubt that Palin, in public office, has been a movement evangelical–interested in limiting abortion, backing the teaching of creationism, looking into the possibility of removing books from the library. In the interviews she’s given over the past few weeks, she’s addressed these issues with, let us say, less than clarity. But then, that’s always been the approach for politicians in her position: rouse the base while doing as much as you can not to scare the moderates.
Few would dispute the legitimacy of inquiring how Sarah Palin’s faith affects her stands on the social issues. And I’d say that no one should be concerned about whether she prays with her arms in the air, speaks in tongues, or believes that only Bible-believing Christians are going to heaven. I confess, however, that I’m not sure what to do about a vice presidential candidate who might be a premillennial dispensationalist. Could looking at current events through a premillennialist lens, seeing developments in the Middle East or Russia as portending the End Times, affect your judgment about how to conduct foreign policy? Is it fair for us to ask Palin if she looks at the world that way? Would she tell us the truth if we did?
That said, I think it might be instructive if Gwen Ifill were to ask both candidates tonight in what ways if any their religious faith has affected their conduct in public office, and how it might do so in the future.