AT was completely underwhelmed yesterday when we read a Tulsa World story (page one, no less) about local evangelicals embracing the candidacy of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Where's the news in this totally expected development?
Despite this no-news report, we want to acknowledge the naivete of certain sources named in the story. One local evangelical leader quoted in the story seems not to spend much time with the media or with folks outside his immediate circle.
"I haven't heard one negative word about her," Bill Rains told the World.
Well, okay. But this is not the same as saying that there are no negative things to say about Gov. Palin, including some things the evangelicals might not appreciate. There's the whole Bridge to Nowhere business, where the record is clear that Palin was for the bridge before she was against it.
So that whole "Thanks, but no thanks" line from Palin's acceptance speech is something of a stretch at best, or, in plain language, a lie. And it's one she keeps repeating, not to her credit.
She says she's against earmarks, yet Alaska gets more earmarks per capita than any state in the union. And this has happened on Palin's watch as governor. So this is a lie too.
Isn't lying a moral failure? Don't lies run counter to Christian behavior?
Then there's business of Palin's cronyism. Contrary to her reform image, Palin has a long and dishonorable record appointing her high school chums to high positions in government. Not exactly a principled record here either.
The evangelical embrace of Palin is based, it seems, not on high moral or political principles but on superficial religious affinities, a vague sense that Palin is somehow acceptable to the Christian Right because of her private religious beliefs, even when those are not fully known or linked in any meaningful way to her political actions.
The bottom line: There's more to Palin's political behavior than her religious views, some of which she seems to jettison whenever it is politically convenient.