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Faith-based community organizers and Governor Sarah Palin

12 September 2008

Apparently Sarah Palin, the US vice-presidential candidate and governor of Alaska, has got Christians up in arms because of some disparaging remarks she made about community organizers.

This, as several bloggers have pointed out, is rather odd, because the Republican Party (which Palin represents) has advocated that many forms of social service should be done by faith-based organizations rather than by the government.

Pastor Shawna summarises what many others have said:

A commentator at MudFlats perfectly sums up the difference between community organizers and people like Gov. Palin: “Jesus was a community Organizer, and Pontius Pilate was a Governor.” She’s definitely acting more like Pilate than Christ.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. sol permalink
    14 September 2008 1:36 am

    Palin’s comments have to be taken in context. Palin was criticised by Obama’s campaign as being too inexperienced to be a potential successor to the Executive Office. She pointedly noted that while the office of mayor and the office of governor actually count as having executive experience involving managing taxpayer money and a responsibility to the electorate, employment as a community organiser does not.

    Jesus was a community organiser, but, to the dismay of some of his followers, he wasn’t running for political office. How is Palin acting like Pilate, other than that Pilate was a governor and Palin is one. Of course Pilate was a governor of unquestionable authority imposed by a distant emperor, whereas Palin was elected by the people of Alaska and limited by the powers provided in the state constitution.

    As for the comparison between Governor Palin and Senator Obama, perhaps it is more accurate to note that while Obama has opposed to protection of the born alive children of botched abortions and favours maintaining the legal status of partial birth abortions (you might say he washes his hands when others want to take innocent lives), Palin has never waivered in her support of protecting all of the unborn and recently born. I’m thinking the Jesus comparison with Obama starts to come apart.

  2. 20 September 2008 6:00 am


    Well, I suppose it depends who’s telling the story. Here’s another take on it.

  3. sol permalink
    21 September 2008 1:00 am


    The post to which you link does not reference the Obama=Jesus Palin=Pilate dichotomy. It is merely a comparison between the two set up in such a way as to promote Obama’s credentials and minimise Palin’s (and McCain’s at the very end).

    I don’t see how any of the things said about him in that post make him Christ-like or even more Christ-like than Palin. The last one raises a fair morality juxtaposition with McCain.

    BTW, I left a revised and extended version of my remarks in the previous comment on Pastor Shawna’s blog, but they didn’t make the moderation cut. Seems Pastor Shawna doesn’t like dissent.

  4. Porlock Hussein Junior permalink
    23 September 2008 9:40 am

    Sol’s presentation of the meaning of Palin’s remarks is pretty reasonable — unless you’ve heard the remarks by her and others, and noticed the profound scorn in the speech and noticed the wild enthusiasm with which it was greeted. This was not some Obama-like laying out of careful distinctions and on-the-other-hands. It could have been, if the Republicans had wanted it to be, but they didn’t.

    Not that convention speeches are necessarily places where you expect careful reasoning and sober rhetoric. But the speakers chose to use this as a term of pure contempt, and that is a funny way for professed Christians to behave, or would be if one had any high opinion of political Christianity in the US.

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