Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How Governor Palin should answer the sharks - part one

We have discussed once, yea twice, the fact that the MSM will be out to destroy, humiliate, and exile Governor Palin for the combined crimes of being an (A) articulate, (B) persuasive, (C) unapologetic (D) pro-life (E) Christian (F) woman (G) in public life.

As I said it would happen, it already has begun. You don't need me to link to articles. Look anywhere. The sharks are circling. You might flatter me by thinking "Dan nailed it" every time you see a new attempted hit piece; but, as I said, it really wasn't rocket science.

The question remains, as posed in the meta: how do I think she should respond?

Well, certainly not like Mike Huckabee, for starters. The former pastor time and again seemed astonished and completely blindsided. Palin mustn't do that. This is, I hope, a given.

But Palin's smart and savvy, they've clearly got some smart people in the campaign. Hopefully someone is preparing for the inevitable.

First, let me just say three things: I don't know how Palin should answer, I don't know what would be the most effective answer, and I don't think there's one right way. I'm no political strategist, thank you very much. But I have read the Bible a few times, and observed our culture for awhile, and do have some thoughts.

So let's just lay out some theoretical options, and deal with them in order.

Option one: lie and dissemble. Not an option for a Christian, who seeks to emulate the God who cannot lie (Matthew 5:48; Titus 1:2).

There. That was easy.

Some make a strong case that lying may be an option when the whole truth would result in a breaking of the Sixth Commandment. Regardless, this isn't such a situation. Palin needs to tell the truth, period.

Option two: get in their faces and tell the whole truth, straight-up. I'd be tempted to do just that — which is one reason why I'll never win elective public office.

I'd be sorely tempted to say something like:
"Let's just lay out the point of disconnect between the Christian position and every other position. By God's grace alone, the Christian has come to see himself to be a sinner by nature and by choice. He also knows God to be perfectly righteous, the mighty Creator, Master, and Ruler over everything. He knows God to be the fountain of truth, which He has inerrantly and sufficiently revealed in the Bible. The Christian has been brought to know that his only hope of salvation is by the death of God the Son Incarnate, Jesus Christ, who took on our sin, absorbed the just wrath of God in the stead of His own, died under that wrath, and rose bodily three days later. The Christian knows that his only hope is faith in Jesus Christ, through which God in mercy clothes him with the perfect righteousness of Christ. So, with Christ as his Lord, the Christian begins the eternal process of unlearning his autonomous, you-shall-be-as-gods viewpoint, and learning to think God's thoughts after Him. So, from that perspective, what I think about marriage is...."
So, I might say that... and then inevitably retire to write my memoirs. Or brush up my skills at smiling when I say, "You want fries with that?"

At least that's how I can see myself handling such situations theoretically, sitting here alone in my study, contemplating a position in which I'll never find myself.

Some of you will think, "Yeah! That's what she should do! It's the Christian way!"

To which I say no, it isn't the Christian way. We read that "The tongue of wise men makes knowledge look good" (Proverbs 15:2). The wise characteristically frames what he says deliberately, while it is the fool whose mouth blurts out everything on his mind, willy-nilly and often destructively (cf. Proverbs 10:14; 15:2, 28; 29:11).

And remember: these are the people who wanted Palin's baby's DNA to prove that he was really hers, and not her daughter's — but show no curiosity whatever about Barak Obama's continuing ties and admitted indebtedness to an unrepentant domestic terrorist (see also here). They will not be asking so that they might understand Christianity better. They will be looking for a way to shame and shun her, and anyone like her who dares to seek a role in the public life of America.

So no, there are not only two options: (1) say nothing truthful; or (2) tell these people, in these situations, all the truth that can be said. Not every setting is the setting to say everything.

Nor, for that matter, is a Christian obliged to answer every question ever posed to him. Jesus didn't (cf. Matthew 27:12, 14; Luke 23:9; John 19:9). We needn't.

Aside: what is a Christian obliged to say? Believers are under an absolute obligation to confess Christ (Mark 8:35-38). That, to my mind, is non-negotiable and universal. A Christian cannot deny Christ; put positively, a Christian must confess Christ.

At the same time, the Christian is also obliged by Christ's command not to throw what is precious and holy to those whose only intent is to mock what is holy and degrade what is precious and good (Matthew 7:6; cf. 10:14-15; Proverbs 9:7-8; 23:9). This is why Proverbs so often stresses the need for discernment, judgment, savvy.

How to put these guidelines together?

Stay tuned tomorrow. But please, feel free to offer your own thoughts in the meanwhile.


JackW said...

Dan, I’m not sure that she is staying up late nights (like you are?) wondering about this stuff. From what I’ve seen so far she knows how to handle it. I’d be more worried about how the McWhatsHisName’s handlers think it should be handled.

I would add to your list confidence, maybe the thing they fear the most. Articulate and confidence doesn’t need to handle the MSM too much because that gives her the ability to talk directly to the people and just be herself.

DJP said...

Everything you say is true.

But I worry all the same.

It's what I do.

PS - I also would have assumed that, after years in public life, Huckabee had thought all this through and was tanned, rested, and ready to go with wisdom and grace. But he CLEARLY wasn't.

So if she's unprepared, someone can say to her, "What — you don't read Biblical Christianity?"


J♥Yce Burrows said...

Aside: what is a Christian obliged to say?...Stay tuned tomorrow.

Am praying for you Dan. God may lead Sarah Palin to be focused on what He says and means via this place...amidst all the voices ~

David Wolfe said...

Dan, I look forward to reading your further thoughts on fine line between "throwing pearls before swine" and the wisdom and discernment to honor Christ by what we must do: proclaim the Gospel. Like you, I'd be tempted to just lay it all out there, which is also why I probably won't be running for office. But, especially working in politics I really struggle with this question. Further, with sadness, I've even seen a couple of committed God-fearing Christian legislators who put the world above their testimony and pulled a Peter, or who otherwise put their lamps under bushels. Granted Dan, I've witnessed amazing testimonies from them too..but for the most part its been a lot of COMPROMISE. This gives me even less confidence that someone like Sarah Palin can survive the MSM assault. I have few role models here. Huckabee obviously wasn't one either. It begs the question, is it even possible anymore for a Christian to run for higher state or national office? What do those guidelines look like? That's why I eagerly await your next post. Provide biblical encouragement please....

DJP said...

...is it even possible anymore for a Christian to run for higher state or national office?

Absolutely right, David. I've wondered that very thing. Could a Wilberforce ever attain national office in America today?

You'll find tomorrow's thoughts interesting, and I'll find the response educational.

CR said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head, Dan. She will have to use judgment and discernment and she must be savvy.

No doubt they will be hitting on her about the statements she made at a church on God's will on the Iraq War and Alaska pipeline.

I know that Wilberforce was talented and super savvy, and innocent as doves, but man, were they wise as serpents to get legislation in to ban slavery.

Her first interview will be with Charlie Gibson. What channel is ABC news on, anyway? :=)

Rachael Starke said...

I'm going to propose that One aspect of her response, in both public and private, must be genuine, heartfelt love. One of the most helpful and enlightening apsects of this whole circus has been the giant spotlight that has been shone on who her, and our, enemies are. The MSM truly don't hate her (and thus us) because she's wierd, funnylooking, or a wannabe. They hate her because she loves God and actually wants to (the horror! the horror!) do God's will. Their response leaves no doubt that they are enemies to that, and, Consequently, they are candidate #1 for the same love with which Jesus loved us, His ex-enemies whom He made His friends.

Not sure how that translates into Mr. Gibson's interview and others. Probably something involving Not whacking him over the head with a blunt object, no matter How Hard It Is To Resist.

But after watching Biden this morning, I'm seriously looking for a loophole in all of the above.

CR said...

Here is how Palin can answer the MSM when they ask her if she wants to push her religous views on society. Making Room for Atheism

Rhology said...

She should brush up on her Alcorn _Pro-Life Answer to Pro-Choice Questions_. Great book.

Unknown said...


As I see it religious questions from the media will come under a few categories: (1) What she believes about religion or politics, or (2) What her church believes about religion or politics, or (3) Past statements by her on these subjects, or (4) Past statements associated by a church she has attended on these subjects.

The media's intent is to find something they can use to hurt her. They have zero inclination to say anything that will help her.

As I learned from the Roberts/Alito confirmation hearings, one gets a lot of mileage drawing a distinction between their personal beliefs, and their ability to set those aside when making a decision about the law.

I wonder why it wouldn't be possible to answer almost any question with "I know that it is my job to set to the side anything that would conflict with my responsibility to make fair and balanced policy and legal decisions that would come across my desk."

Variations of that would be: "My comment about the (for example) divinity of Jesus is a deeply personal believe, but I know that I can draw a distinction between that and my responsibility to make fair and balanced policy and legal decisions that come across my desk."

Mike Westfall said...

If the MSM asks her the sexist question of how she can be vice president when she has young kids to take care of, she should just answer in a similar way she did in an interview she did a few months ago where she was asked about how she could balance family life with the duties of being Governor: "The way any other governor does!"

Or maybe she could just do what Rudy Giuliani did at the RNC and mock the radical feminists by shrieking, "How dare you! When did you ever ask a man that question?!"

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

From an evangelical point of view, there are still some serious questions about Palin.

Obviously the idea of a mother becoming VP who has one disabled child and a pregnant teenage daughter is something to worry about - even though this issue has fortunately been examined thoroughly by mainstream evangelicals. The idea that God's highest ideal for a woman is for her to be wife and mother is still rather strong within US evangelicals, which means that, ironically, she may lose the more conservative of conservative votes.

The real problem, though, is it is likely that she is a "third wave Charismatic". Many of you may already know about a Youtube video going around that pretty much links her with the C. Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner, Latter Rain Movement, Kingdom Now Theology, Territorial demons, and The New Apostolic Reformation.

Many Christians in the US support Dominionism - a sort of theocratic "war" to take over institutions for God and codify laws that are biblical. Many Christians do not support this, however.

Is Sarah Palin a dominionist? She has certainly spent a lot of time in churches that preach it. And, if she is a dominionist, will she use her role as VP to make America more theocratic?

Unbelievers - the majority of Americans - would find this completely intolerable. Moreover, many Christians would too. Would bad theology make Palin do things that malign Christ and the Church?

These questions should hopefully be answered by Palin soon. A pity she isn't talking to the media.

DJP said...

Let's see:

We've already discussed the subject of the first two paragraphs in other posts, and it isn't what this post is about.

Your Youtube link just goes... to Youtube. I don't know the video you mean. Is it about the church she left?

But here again, we're off-topic, though closer. This is about responding to MSM sharks asking the sort "gotcha" questions I laid out previously. If there's any truth to continuing dominionist influence, I'm sure it'll come up. Odd, though, that it evidently hasn't been a problem during her years of service in Alaska, among those who'd know what her church was about.

Then you end right with DNC talking-points about her obligation (?) to be interviewed by the self-anointed. Yeah, she's been campaigning for — what? Not quite two weeks? And how have the MSM comported themselves thus far? And is it possible she wants to spend some non-campaigning time with her son, who's shipping out day after tomorrow?

Nonetheless, Palin's set to be interviewed by Charles Gibson, who carried water so dutifully for The Nameless One. So I'm sure he'll get things off to a great start.

Back to the topic.

CR said...

Comrade One Salient Oversight: Many Christians in the US support Dominionism - a sort of theocratic "war" to take over institutions for God and codify laws that are biblical. Many Christians do not support this, however.

Untrue. Even if many Christians and Gov. Palin were dominionists as you erroneously claim, the checks and balances in our political system would prevent such a "take over."

Mike Westfall said...

Having gone back and re-read the Once and Yea Twice posts, I think I have now formed a more coherent opinion on how Gov. Palin should respond.

First of all, she's under no obligation to do interviews with any news organization whose primary goal is obviously to trip her up. She should politely decline such requests.

Second, she's under no obligation to answer questions about what kind of laws she would make if she had the power to do so. Making laws is not in the job description of the office she's running for, and is therefore irrelevant. She should politely defer such to congress for the law making (but she probably shouldn't use the "above my pay-grade" chestnut).

Third, any questions about her personal views on abortion should be answered in the same way that she has answered them before: "I would choose life", but being careful not to include her views on what laws ought to be passed. Law making is not going to be her job, remember?

Fourth, any stupid questions about her personal religious beliefs ("Does God talk to you personally?" or "Is ${PERSON_X} going to Hell?" for example) should be gently challenged for relevance, and then politely declined.

As my wife tells my teenager when the toddler is harassing him: It's stupid to get into a battle of wills with a two year old. Don't do it.

J♥Yce Burrows said...

The idea that God's highest ideal for a woman is for her to be wife and mother is still rather strong within US evangelicals, which means that, ironically, she may lose the more conservative of conservative votes. One Salient Oversight

Can I share food for thought on the "highest ideal for a woman" that I read recently? Don't intend on link sharing becoming a bad habit, Dan, nor by sharing is the intent to provoke with what Amy wrote. Think this an interesting perspective, high calling vs. highest ~


DJP said...

Joyce, you're killing me, and you're making my Consist-O-Meter needle flick all over the place.

That is a good article, but I've already deleted (literally) 4-5 comments from good people because they're rabbit-trailing from the topic. I... guess I'll leave yours because it is germane to OSO's, which I've left up. But both may be a mistake.

EVERYONE: no more links, nor anything that isn't directly related to THE POST TOPIC.

J♥Yce Burrows said...

I'm sorry, Dan. Have asked the Lord to set a watch over the desires of my heart and fingers at the keyboard.(you can delete this)

DJP said...

I mostly kid.

Consistency in meta-moderation isn't always as easy, though, as it looks from the outside.

J♥Yce Burrows said...


Dawg Doc said...
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Dawg Doc said...
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DJP said...