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Sarah Palin's Road Show; A Gospel of Thrift

We talk with Vanity Fair writer Michael Joseph Gross, about his big new — and controversial — profile of Tea Party powerbroker Sarah Palin. Plus, a new gospel of thrift, from a young megachurch leader.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at the Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington, Aug. 28, 2010. (AP)

Sarah Palin’s tweets – on Twitter – and her Facebook-posted political endorsements don’t always mean victory for the candidates she supports.  But they’re nothing to be sniffed at.

She’s got sway, and an avid following.  She’s also got deep detractors. 

A controversial new Vanity Fair story quotes them – anonymously – dishing dirt. We hear today from the author, and look at Palin’s power and its pushback. 

Plus, we hear from a mega-church evangelical leader who’s preaching against the gospel of wealth. 

-Tom Ashbrook

Opening segment:


Alexander Burns, deputy political editor for Politico.

Michael Joseph Gross, contributing writer for Vanity Fair. His new article is “Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury.”

Closing segment:

Guest:  Pastor David Platt, head of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. His new book is “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream.” You can read an excerpt.

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  • John

    Enough religion on On Point!

  • http://wbur Craig T Sterling

    i HAVE NOT READ THE ARTICLE: EVEN SO, THIS MY OPINION, AND WHAT TO FRAME THIS IN A QUESTION. SARA PALIN HAS ACHIEVED POLITICAL POWER; THIS IN SPITE OF A VERY WEAK RESUME. She APPEALS TO MANY PEOPLE WHO CANNOT ACCEPT THAT THE OCCUPANT OF THEis african american. In this respect, I cannot fault Mrs. Palin. She appreals far to much to people with unfortunate perciptions about opele of color, but for the wrong reasons.

  • informed American

    The reason the uplifting, pro-America message of Sarah Palin is resonating with so many Americans is because Americans in droves are rejecting the far-left, out of touch with real America, mentality of the current regime in office.

  • Mark G

    Craig, why do so many folks like yourself fall back on the race card? I believe the reason is that they have a hard time debating the issues at hand, so they try to shut up the opposition by calling them bigots and racists. This is such a tired strategy that lacks any real thought. You have no idea what is in the heart of Sarah Palin or anyone else that takes issue with the current administration’s ideas. Why don’t you talk about what they say instead of what your preconceived notions are telling you?

  • michael

    “Enough religion on On Point!”

    for someone that quits so many things it’s hard to understand how anyone can follow her. besides the often lies, half truth, misinformation she spews every-time she open her mouth. As for debating issues Mrs. Palin has not and can not wilth reverting back to simple(I mean simple) talking points.

  • michael

    As for the tea party, it’s been astro turf, but fear of being called liberal many of the main stream media source has decided to act as it if is not. They claim to be dems/reps/indep yet almost all or to the right of the republican party, they claim they car about the debt yet say nothing about the massive spending oversea on wars,or of course that surplus Clinton had and bush spent, they claim that the government is taking there rights, yet see no problem with the wire-tapping bill,Citizen U.case, they claim to protect the Constitution yet quick to throw out the 14th or crack down on others 1st amendment right of freedom of speech. There often of authoritarian mind set and of a black/white world view.

    Where the race thing comes in that craig stated, the birther movement came from the tea party, and many of the racism has as well.

    Example A. who was the leader of the tea party express(Mark Williams) who claim he never seen racism ever yet called obama a Indonesian Muslim turned Welfare thug as well as his racist letter supposedly sent to Able Lincoln on why blacks are lazy and like to be slaves.


  • michael

    Mark Williams has been on NPR and onpoint many times claiming there were no racism in the movement but hear is some quotes from his lincoln letter,

    “” What kind of massa would ever not want to control my life? As Coloreds we must have somebody care for us otherwise we would be on our own, have to think for ourselves and make decisions!”

    “! How will we coloreds ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society?”

    “Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house. Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we belong.”

  • cory

    Sarah Palin embodies the American dream… Getting rich by fleecing the rubes. P.T. Barnum said that a sucker is born every minute. I’d like to nominate this quote as the mission statement of the Tea Party.

  • JP

    Republicans have finally gotten what they’ve long strived for:

    an population dumbed down enough that the Republican Party can quickly get 50% of Americans to support any idiot they offer up.

    When the likes of Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Jan Brewer, Rand Paul, etc., etc. find they have enough clout to win public office at the national level, we must face the fact that our country is beyond repair.

    As if Bushies hadn’t done enough to American leadership and prominence already, the new breed will undermine the quality of government and thus our country for generations to come, or more likely, permanently.

    I saw a moment of hope after the last election, but the intelligence of just enough Americans has been compromised so severely that we are now inevitably doomed to the leadership of cheating, lying, self-serving Frat Boys and ditzy, erstwhile bow-heads.

    The end will be ugly, and it will now come more quickly than anyone ever dared to imagine.

    Good luck, you disheartened 50% of intelligent Americans who are now at the mercy of the moronic lesser half… too bad you will not turn out in the equal numbers that could easily thwart a November gift to the thieves, liars, and hypocrites who are now foaming at the mouth in anticipation of squeezing the last bit of lifeblood from our once great country.

  • Chris B

    Cory is right on the money. Palin is a self-serving hustler, period. And as it’s been said before, really, if Sarah looked like Golda Meier would anyone care about a word she said?

  • Chris B

    One more thought. Probably the greatest responsibility for the dumbing down of politics in general in this country belongs to Ronald Reagan. By demonstrating that a senile nitwit could read a teleprompter Saint Ronnie single-handedly lowered the bar on required intelligence enough to allow W and the current pack of morons in their prideful ignorance to be taken seriously.

  • T. Voyd

    If she is elected President, I will move to USBEKISTAN, which is east of KAZAKHSTAN and north of TURKMENISTAN.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    If the statistic is correct that most Americans get their “news” from Fox I have seen the problem and it’s not Sarah Palin, it’s the suckers who watch Fox “news” and follow her.

    Is this what American entropy looks like?

  • Ellen Dibble

    To what extent is it valid to see the Democrats as the tax-and-spend party that siphons government basically to hangers-on? Isn’t that the myth (if it is a myth) that lets the Tea Party and Palin assert that the party in power is responsible for the deficit?
    It has to be a heady myth, since the Republicans spend the money on defense (one big chunk of federal money), and the people complaining about too-big government hand-outs should be focused on Medicare and Social Security, which always have and always need reining in since they are big enough to invite corruption. So why is Democrat seen as Big Government?
    To my mind, Michael, it is in the interests of the big campaign contributors (corporate lobbyists) to keep as many voting Americans dependent as possible. Those big contributors would be Republican at least as much as Democrat. Just as the slaveowners were convinced they were doing favors for the slaves, giving them “three squares,” so does Big Government like to have American voters cornered by this issue or that, easy to manipulate on the basis of subsidized health care (Obama care) or the basis of Affordable Housing (tax deductions for those who develop it).
    The ones who stand on their own two feet are just Trouble, to those trying to steer or voting behavior. Moneyed interests are not interested in having Americans financially independent, or free thinkers.
    “Calling all lemmings; Big Government is for you.” But I think it’s the Republicans actually blasting away on that trumpet. Democrats can’t believe what they’re hearing.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Calling all lemmings: Everyone’s dream is to own a house, and pay humongous monies to realtors, lawyers, and most importantly, bankers.

    Calling all lemmings: Everyone’s dream is to have a job, to be an employee of an organization big enough to offer health care, sick days, and vacation. We want to be dependents. We want to be cogs in a corporate machine — all of us.

    Right? The new dream is a dream of dependence (ever since the assembly line).

  • Al Dorman

    What exactly would she do as president? Love America? Do these people demand anything from their leaders?

  • T. Voyd


  • Ellen Dibble

    If you want to specify our status now, we are going “the scenic route” into the future, which means no maps, no directions, no GPS. Just a teenager’s optimism.

  • T. Voyd

    As an Iraq war Veteran, prior Army sniper, I believe I can live in the bowels of a dead cow. But I cannot live with Sarah Palin.

  • Zeno

    Sadly the Republican Party is now headed by self proclaimed leader Rush Limbaugh, The new spiritual leader Glenn Beck, and the only one they consider smart enough to be president Sarah Palin.

    What would the real republicans of the 60′s think of that?

  • Sally Strange

    Characteristics of Tea Partiers, according to Altemeyer

    1. Authoritarian submission. Authoritarian followers submit to the people they consider authorities much more than non-authoritarians do… They are happy to let Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin do their thinking for them. It has gotten so bad that their leaders casually say preposterous things that are easily refuted, because they know their audience will never believe the truth, or even hear about it.

    2. Fear. Fear constantly pulses through authoritarian followers, and Tea Partiers are mightily frightened. They believe President Obama is a dictator. They also think the country will be destroyed by its mounting debt. They readily believed the health care proposals provided for “death panels” that will euthanize Down‟s syndrome babies, “put Grandma in the grave,” and place microchips in each American so the government can track us. When Rep. Paul Brown (R-GA) said that Obama‟s plan to expand such things as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps was really intended to create a Gestapo-like, brown-shirt military force in the United States, his followers accepted this… The people who orchestrate the Tea Party movement know well what button to push first and hardest among social conservatives, and they work it overtime.

    3. Self-righteousness. Self-righteousness runs very strongly in authoritarian followers, and combines with fear to unleash aggression in them.The Tea Partiers commonly describe themselves as “the good Americans,” “the true Americans,” “the people,” and “the American Patriots.” They could hardly wrap themselves in the flag more thoroughly or more often than they do. Theirs is the holy cause. They believe they are the only ones who can save the country.

  • Rex

    Limp & gutless reporting taking anonymous tips? Isn’t that what Fox News is built on?

    Washington, DC

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard on NPR that concussions damage the frontal lobes, the part that initiates actions, the part that really isn’t needed if you’re deployed as a soldier. So the problem shows up later. It really isn’t needed if you’re in a particularly smothering church, too. All extra hours are spent volunteering. There are rules.
    As one who had a bad concussion (fall off a bike) at about age 25, perhaps I know whereof I speak. Maybe not.
    But it seems Palin speaks, people follow. People who want to glom on and be followers, they go. But her points are talking points. Symbols. Flags. They are not ways we might proceed. Maybe we are all brain-damaged, and attracted to brightness, which Palin is (or is it her Japanese spectacles/glasses)?

  • Joanne

    Enough on Sarah Palin! There are far more interesting topics to report on. Enough already, please!

  • Sally Strange

    4. Hostility. Authoritarian aggression is one of the defining characteristics of authoritarian followers.

    5. A lack of critical thinking. Authoritarian followers have more trouble thinking logically than most people do. In particular, they tend to agree with sayings and slogans, even contradictory ones, because they have heard them a lot. Thus Tea Partiers reflexively, patriotically thump that the United States is the best country on earth, but as well that it is now an Obama dictatorship. They also have extra trouble applying logic to false reasoning when they like the conclusion…

    6. Our “biggest problem.” Authoritarian followers will readily believe that lots of things are our “biggest problem.” It can be drugs, the decline of religion, the breakdown of the family, you name it… In earlier eras it could have been sex education, Sunday shopping, the 40-hour week, or a Catholic president that would lead to our doom.

  • Sally Strange

    7. Compartmentalized thinking. Authoritarian followers can have so many contradictory beliefs and “biggest problems” because their thinking is highly compartmentalized. Ideas exist independently of the other ideas in their head. Their thinking is so unintegrated because they have spent their lives copying what their authorities say, without examining whether the ideas fit together sensibly.

    8. Double Standards. Highly compartmentalized thinking makes it easy for authoritarian followers to employ double standards in their judgments. One finds many examples of this among the Tea Partiers… President Bush signed the $300 billion Housing and Economic Recovery Act on July 30, 2008 which gave relief to people who were losing their houses and shored up the government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agencies. But this set off no epic rants in Chicago or declarations that Bush was a socialist.

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    I’m not sure what you are proposing. That everyone become an entrepreneur? That we all return to the farm? My grandfather worked in a laundromat, and for cigar, glove, and hat manufacturers. It was no dream of dependence that was driving him but rather the notion that there might be a better life in those occupation than tanning hides in Ukraine while waiting for the next pogrom.

    As to Sarah Palin, I have yet to hear one clear policy statement from her. Instead, I hear slogans and statements such as “President Obama doesn’t have any cohones.” Does that translate into policy? To me, unless I’m presented with evidence to the contrary, Sarah Palin is a representative of the ethic found on TV shows where family members curse at each other and fight. I’ve heard her referred to as “trailer trash” but I would not want to adopt that view and cast any aspersions on hard-working folk that can’t afford more than trailers to live in.

  • J. Michael P.

    Sarah Palin is the voice of a disconcertingly huge portion of Americans – which best can be described as all the Republicans with a double digit IQ.

  • Ray

    Gross – just another liberal jealous of Palin’s wealth who will accomplish nothing more than to strengthen her supporters’ resolve.

  • Matt Harris

    With all the problems our country has to fix, I don’t understand why the media (including this broadcast) is talking about and spending time/effort on Sarah Palin and related “Tea Party” activities? Palin is a cheerleader and get’s far more media attention than deserved. We have serious problems and need people with serious solutions and the ability to put into action these solutions; not people who are simply screaming sound bites and being divisive.

  • jayg

    So why did Sarah Palin quit public service as Governor of Alaska? Was it to cash in on the right wing super corporate millionaire funded media swaying propaganda machine? I wonder what her net worth is now compared to back when she was governor.

  • brandstad


    How about the lack of vetting of Obama?

    What did you know about him before he was elected?

  • http://notupyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Sarah Palin’s picture should be in the dictionary beside the word vacuous. As for Joe Miller, the candidate, America needs to be afraid, very afraid. His call for “States Rights” is all about a huge resource grab by the “native born residents” of Alaska. He may not be a registered member of the “Alaska Succession Movement”, but he is an adherrent. The hurried flight by Sarah is a perfect example of their greed, if her child is born in Alaska it will be wealthy for the rest of its life based on its share in the resources of Alaske.

  • brandstad


    Did your guest explain how upseat we was when he discovered that Obama didn’t write his autobiography?

  • James Collings

    Sarah Palin is an idiot and a gold digger. She prides herself on being a know nothing. For example she defended Dr Laura unaware that Dr Laura ravaged her when she first came on the national scene. She resigned the governorship in order make money. She only cares about herself.

  • jim thompson, fort mill,sc


    As someone who as been involved in GOP conservative politics since 1976, getting my start literally “on the bus” with Ronald Reagan in his ’76 & ’80 campaigns I find Sarah Palin and what she represents frightening.

    She gives credence to the Jesse Helms and David Duke wing of the GOP and is squandering the legacies of Goldwater, Reagan and Jack Kemp.

    Her folowers seem to me to be goose stepping automatons.

  • steve m

    Three quotes that sum up Palin:

    Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.
    – Frank Leahy

    There are two kinds of light–the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
    James Thurber

    The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.
    – P. G. Wodehouse

    I will not listen to, read about, or watch anything to do with her.

  • Sally Strange

    9. Feeling empowered when in groups. …

    10. Dogmatism. We also know that authoritarian followers lead the league in being dogmatic. When their leaders set their opinions for them, those opinions are set in stone. Experiments show that nothing (aside from their authorities) can convince them they are wrong. If overwhelmed by logic and evidence, they simply “castle” into dogmatism. This is probably because they don‟t really know why they believe what they believe. They didn‟t figure it out for themselves; they Xeroxed what their authorities said.

    11. Ethnocentrism. Authoritarian followers are notably ethnocentric, constantly judging others and events through “Us versus Them” lenses…

    Tea Partiers certainly display a streak of ethnocentrism. They wrap themselves in the flag so tightly, everybody else is outside it. They have very definite out-groups. And of course one of the reasons that the Tea Partiers were uninfluenced by what was actually in the health care reform proposals is that they relied so much on their untrustworthy trusted sources. …

    12. Prejudice. Studies have found that authoritarian followers are among the most prejudiced people in society. It is the nastiest aspect of their ethnocentrism, and one they insistently deny—to others and to themselves. And they really do not realize how prejudiced they are, compared with others, because they associate so much with other prejudiced people. So their prejudices seem normal and perfectly justified to them.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Alan S, thanks for picking up my point about the dream of dependence/jobs. I think the organic community, not the puppet of a foreign corporation (the way the colonists were before 1776, “subjects” of, in this case, profit-making entities, tied to quarterly profit statements on behalf of “all” pensioners…) — I think we are losing the human/humane infrastructure.
    I see plenty of such infrastructure trying to emerge like spring shoots under the current duress, and I’m thinking, good, maybe we need a counterbalance to the sort of cumulative hunks of money that are out for profit on a huge scale.
    I need help thinking this through.

  • AFS

    An attractive woman, with a seemingly engaging personality, can convince a vulnerable audience of ANYTHING.

  • M

    While I am in no way a Palin supporter, (ABSOLUTELY NOT) I can identify some of what makes her appealing to others. When I hear clips of her public appearances, most certainly the clipped you just played from the Glenn Beck rally at the Lincoln Memorial, it is her delivery, her pitch, her tone and cadence that sound just like that which I heard when attending Lutheran church in the Midwest. Her style is that of a church’s pulpit and alter. Those who attend church find in her familiar characteristics which calm their insecurities. The Republican party is using her to draw in the insecure public. They are following the patterns practiced by religions throughout history: prey on the insecure and confused with promises of prosperity and delivery from one’s fears. I find it appalling.

  • marcy

    I am a hard working normal average every day american and sarah palin in no way represents me. She terrifies me, or rather, the following that she has created and the lisence that she has given right wing – not even right wing – radical “christians” (who in my opinion) are as far from Christian as you can get to be racist, mean, uncivil, radical. It terrifies me. She is a poison to this country and our people.

  • Ren Knopf

    Sarah’s nature has been known from the git-go. Back in her Wassila days, when she used the people who backed and supported her to gain the governorship. Those same politicos admitted admiration for her tough, step-on-anyone ways. It’s all about Sarah, it has always been all about Sarah and evermore shall be all about Sarah. Leaving the top post in Alaska provided dual opportunities for Sarah: a) money and power for Sarah; and b) getting out from under an investigation into Sarah. We should not be surprised by anything she does nor should we -at out peril- expect anything more.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Sarah Palin took the hurried flight from Texas to have here child in Alaska because a child born in Alaska has an automatic share in the state owned resources of Alaska. It was all about greed.

  • Fran Tucker

    Sara Palin cries for self-reliance and admonishes us against government. As a person who is unemployed (although wealthy from speaking and writing) with a husband who engages in casual employment, I’d like to know if Palin is utilizing government assistance for early childhood education and therapy for her Downs Syndrome child or is she fitting in therapy and schooling at home by herself with no help, or self paid help. The answer to that will determine, to me, whether or not she is the world’s biggest hypocrite.

  • http://fuzzarelly.blogspot.com Nancy McKellar

    As a former Southern Baptist, I welcome a minister that wants to talk the talk and Walk the Walk!

    I deplore the mega churches that have huge auditoriums, dances, gyms, daycare, etc. and yet have no clothes closet or food pantries for the least of these.

  • Drew Peberdy

    These politicians act like regular old salt of the earth types who want nothing more than to help the working man, while simultaneously embracing a radical conservatism that’s far outside the American mainstream. These people are only interested in increasing their own personal wealth and reputation.

    It’s important that we not underestimate the power of Sarah Palin. She’s worked very, very hard to craft an appealing image for herself as a tough everywoman and people need to cut away that manufactured image and look at the facts. Besides making lots of money with book deals and media appearances, what has Sarah Palin actually done – or even proposed doing – to help working families across this country? Absolutely nothing of substance. Instead, she’s helped to ignite another pointless culture and has preached a constant, divisive “it’s-us-versus-them” message.

  • Ellen Dibble

    A new mission for the church? I think it’s high time. Churches now can seem like country clubs that slough off the guilt of , of … of it by collaborating in social undertakings which once the church (when it was the government, its members the voters) took as its responsibility.
    That is church at its BEST, I sometimes think. People trying to figure out what they can do TOGETHER, that they could not do alone.
    Individual churches can feel pretty lost. The globalization of awareness makes us helpless, often working at cross-purposes, trying to take credit for some bit of improvement in humanity’s course.

  • Mark

    The reason we have seen such an explosion of the “prosperity gospel” is because we have had for decades a determined effort to bring religion into public life. Sarah Palin herself has said “Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our founding fathers, they were believers”.

    If we want Christianity to get back to the teachings of Christ, we have to reject politicians who wear their religion on their sleeve.

    As Jesus taught:

    “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

    -Matthew 6:6

  • Ellen Dibble

    I want a Big Car, a Big House, a Big Government, and a Big Church.
    Hmmm. I’m not hearing a good one on why a Big (rich) Church.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Ellen Dibble, what I invision is called “the government plan” which is basically a barter system which recognizes the fact that while we are all here we have the same amount of time each day. So my time is equal to your time for purposes of meeting our basic needs per Maslow’s Hierarchy. Food, Shelter, Clothing, and basic Health Care (think wellness care) are what I think should be in “the plan” If a worker wants to be a part of it they agree to give so much time each week (two to eight hours or more) depending on the benefits they choose. This would appply to welfare recipients as well as the gainfully employed. Children “put in their time” by going to school, keeping their grades up. I am not a communist, I just think we all need to start pulling together to assure a better future for all. We are sentinent beings, survival of the fittest is for the wild kingdom, not for humankind.

  • JacFlasche


  • JacFlasche

    Thanks for the quick response. It now is working.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    One of my big gripes with churches is that they are not paying their fair share of taxes. They are a drain on the property tax coffers of all communities. When churches started building gymnasiums, schools, etc. I think they should lose at least part of their tax exempt status. As for tithing, are you really “tithing 10%” when you deduct it on your taxes? Tax deductible contributions, once again, the government is subsidizing the churches, we can’t afford this opiate anymore!

  • Ellen Dibble

    Charles, I think your Plan would apply for a few years post-college, when people’s strengths and skills have not split out and particularized too much. It would work to some extent for people with 40-hour weeks, some regularity and predictability to the way they make their living.

  • miro

    It’s so obvious that Palin has Narcissistic Personality Disorder — cares only about herself, delusions of grandeur and uniqueness, extreme need for adulation to validate here narcissistic cravings for attention (“narcissistic supply”), personal exceptionalism (rules were made for other people). There are no limits to her nastiness.

    We think of her as a right-wing Blagojevich –and she is every bit as corrupt.

    I think it’s too bad that the guest shirked the question of whether her ascendancy could galvanize a fascist movement (in the classic sense) that could gain power and control. There are many neo-fascist elements on the right and neo-fascist aspects of radical right wing culture (scapegoating of immigrants, overt and implicit threats of political violence– e.g. talk of Second Amendment solutions, buying ammunition, reload — denigration of facts and truth, derisive — whipping up of resentment against those who are educated, who are competent, who disagree with right wing ideology. About 15-20% of our electorate does lean toward right wing authoritarian nativism, and they would vote for a neo-fascist candidate. Whether Palin will go more explicitly in this direction is unclear — they do know that it has its political penalties to be too clear about what they mean.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If Palin were president, it seems to me the Big Lobbies would figure out a way of scaring or bribing her into submission, and we would have Government by the Great Shadows. Not too different, perhaps, than what we have “enjoyed” in, um, the past, if not now.

  • Dennis Kerr

    I like how Mr. Platt preaches about living simply. And a caller mentioned about returning to having communion like Jesus said to do.

    Working from the theory that how we worship leads to how we live, how does Mr. Platt feel about how some mega-churches use computers and projectors for multi-media events. In particular, does he think that churches should refrain from using electronics made in countries where people are forbidden to go to church or have the equivalent of a sabbath?

    If we are trading away a communion service remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for a glitzy multimedia show – made with the sacrifice of foreign workers, how does this trade influence how we live outside of church?

  • CambridgeKnitter

    Why were the host and the guest so terrified of the questions posed by the first caller with respect to Sarah’s Wild Ride? They couldn’t get her off the air fast enough. Had she gotten to say her piece, I imagine she would have suggested that the Wild Ride was physically impossible or nearly so. To anyone who has actually looked at the evidence, it is impossible to believe that she was actually pregnant. See, for example, http://www.box.net/shared/ze1x0eyplo, which has pictures and further information.

  • Martha Schwope

    Tom, when I brought up the inconstancies in Sarah Palin’s delivery story, you asked, “So what?” and then cut me off. This is the response I get most often. People don’t get it.

    Your guest spoke to the importance of understanding thatstory. Sarah is presenting herself with a major qualifier as a mother, yet the story of her delivery of her fifth child is unbelievable. It’s so unbelievable, that people won’t even listen to it.

    Most people can’t even accept these easily-verified facts, many online in her own voice or in her book:

    1) 44 years old, 7th pregnancy (four children, two miscarriages), 8 months pregnant

    2) Water broken. Contractions. Gave speech anyway.

    3) Bypassed well-equipped hospitals in 3 major cities.

    4) Chose to fly to 4 hours to Seattle, 2 hour layover, four hours to Anchorage, drive to Wasilla to hospital with no NICU, where her doctor is not an obstetrician.

    4) Induced.

    Many of us who have followed this story since the beginning are incredulous that it has not yet hit the mainstream media. In that way, I have my one agreement with her: there’s a lame stream in the main stream.

    I do not understand why I am constantly cut off and dismissed when I bring up these questions. Isn’t this an important story? It casts so many doubts on the media, her supporters, and the intellectual rigor of the Republican leadership.

  • http://dna Karen Halterman

    The article is interesting, however, lack of named sources makes it questionable. The fact of how Palin was immediately attacked from most liberal insiders in an almost feeding frenzy of hatefulness as soon as she was announced as the VP candidate explains a lot of her putting up walls and being very guarded. Those immediate, venomous attacks against her have forced her to become very closed and suspicious, I feel. Who can blame her. It remains to be seen just how she will go down in history. The fact that the liberal insiders fear and hate her so strongly is merely an affirmation of the truth of much of what she advocates.

  • http://notyet charles A. bowsher

    Ellen Dibble- Thanks for listening. You make a good point that it may be temporary, but I actually think it could have even wider application than that. In the words of the Terminator “I’ll be back”.

  • Gerald Fnord

    I don’t want to trip the Godwin Filters, but I’m concerned about the emergence of public figures who are very much like (one major strain of) common people, but exaggerated, amplified, and willing to say the things that many are thinking but are too timid to do, except maybe when drunk in a beer hall or pulpit.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Charles, not only the equality of worth of time, but think of some things that “tithing” or particular hours of service don’t consider. One person spends half her income on health insurance, and has to borrow from retirement funds to do that; is counting on saving after age 65. Has a burgeoning business but only because of shelling out 30 percent of income on business equipment. Is sick a lot, so has to spend all free time (non-sick time) working.
    Years when she can, but is not stretched too thin with work, she spends three or four hours a day volunteering. (They try to give her an award, but she is too stuck with deadlines to accept.) After four or five years of that, no longer having such free time, no place in the region will accept her volunteerism, apparently because — who knows.
    The church and the city is all about volunteering and showing up, but for this one, there is no time, no energy. Apparently her highest and best use is what she does to earn money, and best allowed to continue without cease till she dies. They all think she is a drug addict, why else would she be so asocial.
    Come to think of it, such widespread suspicion suggests that a lot of people are drugging their way through this recession. I guess “they” need to be needed. Volunteerism needs a direct link to results, I think, as well as a chance to socialize. Take a couple raising a dozen foster children, adopted ones; and home-schooling them because of their deficits. They do a lot of social services without ever being assigned hours.

  • Sam Wilson

    @ T. Voyd, on September 8th, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    Can I see Uzbekistan from my home here in Alaska?

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Martha Schwope- I am with you on this. It is either about a greedy resource grab by Palin for her child or it is a cover-up pregnancy for her daughter. Either way, it needs to be brought out. The truth will out.

    If only there were a way to get DNA on her, Todd, Bristol, Levi and the baby. Then we would know. Maybe Levi could assemble it all for us and make an appearance on Maury Povich. That would be fitting, empty chairs for Sarah, Todd and Bristol and Levi there as the provider of the DNA evidence. I am writing Maury today about this.

    I lost all respect for her when she decided to campaign despite the fact she had a Down-syndorme child. My uncle Sonny was a fairly high functioning Down-syndrome, but let me tell you, that was only achieved because my grandmother and grandfather worked really hard the rest of their lives, educating and socializing him. My grandmother put it all into perspective for me one day when I asked her if it had been hard raising Sonny. I expected her to say yes it had been hard. Do you know what she said? She said, “No it wasn’t hard, Sonny is the closest anyone of us will ever come to meeting Jesus here on earth, he has a pure soul, there is no malice in him, only kindness, so we were glad to do it.” Let me tell you I got a whole new perspective that day. It is a full-time job if you plan on doing right by your child. When I realized she was going to go through with the campaign in spite of having a Down-syndrome baby I was appalled.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Ellen Dibble, If it is you, I appreciate what you have done, if it is somebody else you are talking about,thank them for me.

    Part of the plan is that volunteerism would get you qualified for the “plan” as would turning over a proportion of your wages equal to the time you could have devoted. It levels the playing field as it were for all.

  • Jim

    A Manchurian candidate. It seems pretty obvious that Palin cannot craft a world view on her own. The really frightening thing is that Bill Kristol is one of her tutors. Frightening, of course, because one is hard pressed to think of one piece of advice that chicken hawk has ever gotten right.

  • Ellen Dibble

    No one has borrowed my name next.
    Consider, Charles, that it was a confluence of health and economy factors that freed me up to volunteer. It was the community that provided the opportunity.
    If I was not borrowing from my retirement monies, I would not have had the time. I was glad to be able to use it, to be sure, but it was nerve-wracking.
    Your Plan suggests that even if my business was rife with deadlines, I would have to abort its growth and pause mid-cavort, so to speak, to serve my time.

  • Sam E.

    The description of prayer warrior is basically incorrect. Prayer warrior doesn’t specifically connotate angels and demons. Prayer warrior simply means praying actively for intervention of God in any matter such as personal difficulties, family affairs, stressful situations or illness. You don’t even necessarilly have to believe in angels and demons to be a ‘prayer warrior’.

  • Jim Ryan

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find it disturbing that female public figures are routinely referred to by just their first names with the familiarity of discussing your cousin at a family gathering while males are generally given the respect of being referred to by their title and surname? It grates on the nerves to hear “Sarah” or “Hillary” used throughout the entire program yet you’ll not hear VP Biden referred to as just “Joe” or Palin’s running mate as just “John”. How about squaring up the standards?

  • Valkyrie607

    Sam E. -

    You don’t have to believe in angels and demons. I assume this means you can if you want? How does that belief or lack thereof change the fundamental definition of “prayer warrior”? And if being a “prayer warrior” is just about PRAYING for intervention in various things, how is this different from being a regular praying Christian? In which case, why would you need a special term to describe this? I was under the impression that being a prayer warrior meant that you accepted that you yourself may be the instrument of God’s intervention. As with Palin, you can see in early youtube vids of her at church, she clearly believes that her ascendancy to national politics was willed by God Himself.

    This sort of thinking is deluded at best, dangerous at worst.

  • Charlotte

    Forgive my allegedly nattering nabob negativism but methinks me smells a latter day Anita Bryant channeling Spiro T. Agnew.

    You see, even here in the ‘hood, some of us know and remember our recent history in them thar polysyllabic words.

    I dare yous guys to refudiate it!!! :)

  • http://notyet charles A. Bowsher

    Ellen, the plan does not require you put in time, just that you turn over an equivalent amount of money that that time represents. For example, to get health care say it equates to 4 hours per week of the median wages (much fairer basis thank average). Somebody earning $25/hr would pay $100/week while somebody earning $10/hr would pay $40/week, or either has the choice of volunteering in their communities the equivalent amount of time. This idea is in the development stages of course so there are many many details to flesh out.

    I really think the place to start is with a nationwide on-line conversation about the issues of the day. I am sick and tired of relying on polls, it is time all our voices are heard. In Australia’s most recent general election they had something like a 95% turnout. How did they do it? Voting is mandatory. Seemingly a dangerous proposition here (voter knowledge levels and all), but we have got to do something, our electoral system is broken.

  • http://notyet charles A. bowsher

    Charlotte, I haven’t forgotten old Spiro, Kudos’ to you! We seem to be a nation of ostriches with very short attention spans and even shorter memories.

  • jeffe

    I view Palin as a dangerous demigod and virus that can effect our nation. The self righteous nature of her persona and of those who follow her is not a healthy thing for our democracy. We are living in some very precarious times and the chance of this country going over the edge into a right wing religious fundamentalist direction now seems to me to be evident.

    Most of the conservatives I know who are not of this ilk find her repulsive and have the same view points I do on her. She and Beck are a very dangerous combination in my opinion.

  • jeffe

    I forgot to add I found Tom’s commentary to be wanting today. To act as if he doe not know what this woman is about. Just ask Meghan McCain about the Palin clan, from what I have herd her say it seems a lot of what Michael Joseph Gross has been saying is true.

    On the idea that she is being wronged here and that “yellow journalism” is spreading false information about her I remind people that Palin does the same exact thing.
    She can dish it out but she can’t take it.

    Everything she says about Obama is a lie.

  • William

    Gov. Palin has her faults, but who would pass the “pubic eye” if they jumped into the political arena? A fair person would have to give her credit for at least daring to go against the political machine. She won’t become President but she does keep the MSM jumping.

  • Brian K

    I usually vote Republican, but I think Palin is the biggest joke to hit the political scene in years. She is an embarassment to our country. She is nothing more than a populist who appeals, in large part, to ignorant and frustrated rural white people. She offers nothing to this country. She has less substance than any other politician that I can think of, and that is saying a LOT!

    The GOP needs to distance herself from people like beck and herself. If it doesn’t, it will lose would be supporters like me.

    She will never do a tought interview. She can’t even handle Katie Couric.

  • rascalofearth

    and at the 29th minute you heard it. hide the real identity, develop a cadre of followers who will without questioning act as you direct = fascism for America

  • Ellen Dibble

    For some reason the people who show up and sport large signs have intercepted our common sense. If that is activism — because it is organized, um, “promulgated,” then I’m not sure I want to counterinsurge. The more fool I. Some people have time for that sort of thing. The rest of us are trying to hold this country together by the shoestrings.
    I do think I have finally understood what my father meant when he talked about the “booby traps” laid down to catch unwary soldiers in World War II. I always wondered about that double meaning in booby. I don’t think male electoral “traps” have quite the zing that female booby traps can pack.

  • Steve

    Ellen and Charles,

    your ideas are provacative but consider:
    -scale and

    What type of organization is required for the scale and administration of the plan? Who gets to choose…the IMF, the US, a fictional democracy, the church…?

  • Brian K

    “and at the 29th minute you heard it. hide the real identity, develop a cadre of followers who will without questioning act as you direct = fascism for America”

    Don’t give her that much credit. She is nothing more than a cult leader. She would have to have actual beliefs to be a fascist. The only thing she believes in in Sarah Palin.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Steve, I question whether churches have a role in the Plan at all. I think the mission of religious groups has to be rethought post-separation of church and state. That’s not an answer. That is a question.
    My idea is to recreate a more organic human infrastructure to make sure that the corporate ones do not become Too Big To Fail. Right now, small towns can be decimated if a papermill outsources the jobs to Malaysia. That sort of thing. “Jobs” implies corporations, too often. And corporations are Special Interests.
    That leaves a lot of room for Small Business. I’m trying to clarify what I think is an important difference in orientation. The village cobbler had roots in a way that a factory-farm does not. Maybe that’s a bad example. I’m saying that community as we wish it to be depends on people working together, working FOR one another. And no, I don’t think it has to be all volunteer. If people are serving one another, baking their bread, growing their beans, they will naturally be there for one another to help each other out.
    The same cannot be say for the soda bottling plant.

  • http://www.celebratelife.us Garrett Smith

    I was very disappointed by Tom today. In general I have found him to a remarkable interviewer, extremely well prepared. I have always valued in particular his ability to challenge his guests. You have to be careful what and how you say things on Tom’s show. He keeps you honest. However, I don’t know what happened to Tom today, he just disappeared during the Michael Gross interview. I thought Gross was using all kinds of hearsay and innuendo, portraying facts and opinions in a skewed light. And he was never challenged on it by Tom. I don’t even like Sarah Palin, but I felt slimed (Ghostbusters) as I listened to my radio, or maybe just grieved.

  • AF

    I also wondered what was going on when Tom Ashbrook basically shut down the caller who identifies herself in these comments as Martha. If/when this happens again, it would be better to explain to listeners that you have a policy against (whatever it is). I expect fairness from NPR and usually that’s what we hear from Tom.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    On the question of Christianity re Palin & Beck:

    The kind of Christianity espoused by Beck (I am not absolutely certain about Palin, but I suspect it is the case) is evil. It is entirely self-centered, concerned with “winning” (while enjoying watching others lose) through personal salvation. This is Pauline corruption. The teachings of Jesus to help the poor etc. are ignored (or in Beck’s case actively denied).

    I am an atheist, and certainly no Christian, but I do subscribe to the ethical teachings of Jesus (at least those which are not contradictory), and want my government to subscribe to the same teachings not through Puritan-style anti-sin laws but through socialized care for all of society. Since neither Beck nor Palin want the latter but embrace the former, I can only conclude that they are repressive monsters who will lead our country into Christo-fascist Hell.

    On top of all of that, Palin is ignorant. Call me elitist, but anyone who runs for government office ought to have a certain level of education, demonstrate a certain level of daily readings in literature and news, and possibly prove that their IQ is at least 120. By all means, allow all adults no matter what to have a vote, but by no means allow their representatives to be ignorant or stupid.

    That won’t solve all problems, not by a long shot, but it would be an excellent step forward. Of course it would require that higher education be free, so that all classes could reach for that apple. If we are not a society that makes opportunity free, then we are not a free society.

  • Joshua Hendrickson


    when you wrote that Palin is a “dangerous demigod”, did you perhaps intend “dangerous demagogue?” I suspect that you did, because a demagogue is exactly what she is. I only hope that her father isn’t Zeus.

  • Bush’s fault

    Another liberals-foaming-at-the-mouth-with-hate segment…so refreshing!

    “lies, half truth, misinformation she spews every-time she open her mouth” favorite pastime of hate Bush dems.

    Americans are stupid ( now there’s a way to win people over )I

    “If Sarah looked like Golda Meier would anyone care about a word she said?” If Obama looked like Golda……

    “Palin is an idiot or vacuous or a joke”…when all else fails – call people names

    Then we have those who are scared of Palin…better leave now…

    “religion is appalling”…another one with no substantive argument

    pseudo psychologists are rampant, as usual….evidently no real work.

    Look…this was a phony article made up by an artsy dreamer to sell to a fashion mag.

    The show today was not about Christianity and Palin and Beck…please stay “OP”

    Finally….Posted by Ellen Dibble, on September 8th, 2010 at 9:50 AM – Ellen, magnificent.

    Sleep well.

  • Jodi Smith

    An interesting juxtaposition of subjects. It appears that Sarah Palin is part of that church co-opted by the American culture. David Platt offers up an alternative. Certainly Glenn Beck’s rally was about civil religion, American patriotism as gospel.
    I’ve been reading through the Bible this year. I keep on coming across verses that condemn the rich for not sharing with the poor, that talk about the sinner being the one who does not help the widow and orphan. Sounds anathema to the Tea Party line of paddling your own canoe, and keeping all “my hard earned money for myself”.
    I believe Jesus said, “If a man ask you for your coat, give him your shirt as well.” The Gospel of Christ seems to clash with the American Dream and Sarah Palin’s pronouncements.

  • jeffe

    Yes I meant demagogue, I need to have my coffee before I post…

    I was not impressed by Michael Joseph Gross’ interview and I suspect he was not really telling the complete truth.
    The real story here is how she is playing the media and using the anger of a certain group of people in this country who are being a sold a bill of goods here.

    Her state gets more money from the federal government than most of the lower 48. This is a fact. Without this federal tit to suck on the state would fall apart.

  • Marc

    There’s very little I agree with Palin on. And as someone who leans conservative on at least fiscal issues, she’s an embarrassment.

    But could you find a creepier guest than Michael Gross? (ok, maybe Pastor Terry Jones). … An Alaska politician says Palin does a lot of unusual things. She got an email from an unsavory figure. There are some inconsistencies about the birth of her child with Down syndrome. People who know her say she’s … All he offered was cheap shots, rumors, unsubstantiated sources and his interpretation of how bad a person she is. Sounds like one of a dozen slimy authors who attacked Clinton.

    And then he had some weird emotional breakdown where he couldn’t continue for a few seconds and had to be rescued by Tom while he collected himself.

    Ok, I understand that there are always people who are willing to write anything to get a book deal, but what a creep.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Pastor Platt seems to have got the right ethical slant on Jesus (let’s leave aside everything else). More power to him. As Babs Ehrenreich has said (not a quote), it would be a big plus if humanists could just convince more Christians that poverty is the real “sin” in our society.

    Not to disparage Pastor Platt, but I do wonder what he would say if his megachurch was required to pay its fair share of property taxes. I can only hope he would not be hypocritical on the subject. The taxation of religion is long long overdue in this silly country.

  • Ellen Dibble

    George W. Bush was pretty clear about leaving as much of the social services as possible in the hands of the churches, who most intimately know the problems parish by parish. I think the idea is the churches are tax exempt because they do a lot of work that government (or families, until they fail) would be doing.
    Are churches the backbone or are they the grout between the cracks? I tend to think churches can be used as an excuse by government for not trying to get it right across the board. I’m thinking of a report on the Jim Lehrer Newshour tonight about Dacca, where 15 million live, many in slums, and the government is fragmented and unable to police or provide electricity and water, to see to its provision at a fair price.
    And so? In come the NGO’s, nongovernmental organizations, the tax breaks for the billionaires who wind up paying less in taxes percentwise than their secretaries. However, this kind of entrepreneurial enterprise is providing water for, oh, say, 100,000 people in Dacca. Something like that. But the problem is that only the lucky few are covered; it’s a patchwork of good intentions, where it would seem that the government should be BLANKETING the city with water and electricity. It’s almost a cop-out to say let 100,000 American churches each pay for one well for water, one school for kids, and all combined, Bangladesh will have its people provided for (until the Ganges runs dry, I believe it is).
    What instead? What indeed. Messianism dies hard.
    It does seem to me that the “work” of various faith traditions today is actually veering sharply, so you see these wildly different “takes” even within one church. (Think of Obama and the fire-breathing minister of his former church in Chicago.) Think of bin Laden and the Sufis seeking to build the Muslim Cultural Center in NYC, Imam Rauf (I think). A couple of billion Muslims apart; but sharing one set of prayers.

  • Sam E.


    The description is improper because it implies that ‘Prayer Warriors’ are praying against specific forces of evil presumably embodied in a tangible enemy, supposedly in this case a poltical opponent which isn’t necessarily true. Prayer warriors could be praying for safe travels, wisdom and guidance, that a person be able to deal with stress, peace among a family in a difficult time or any range of things not necessarilly for protection from or triumph against evil forces.

    As to the difference between a prayer warrior and anything other christian engaged in supplication. I would say there is none. Prayer warrior is simply apostolic or pentecostal terminology for supplication.

    Furhtermore, whatever you think of the christian practice of supplication it’s widely practiced across the political spectrum by polticians and supporters of all stripes and does not inherently undermine democracy as Mr. Gross (whom I strongly suspect did not consult any theologians/scholars on this subject) seems to imply.

  • SalG

    Re: Prayer Warriors

    My religion has prayer circles or prayer groups. Prayer warriors does not imply praying for good things. Why all the militant imagery? Makes absolutely no sense to me. God was not about war so why use this word.

  • Martin Voelker

    I cannot understand why people would give consideration to a politician who is not a reader and doesn’t bring the broad comprehension of world and domestic affairs that one rightfully expects of someone who wants to lead. Even visionaries need a deep layer of facts to speculate fruitfully.

    Platitudes and generalities are no substitute.

    We already had one president, G. W. Bush, who was characterized (correctly!) as incurious and uninformed.

    I remember from the 2008 election how empty, circular, and ignorant Palin’s verbal output was (especially without script).
    I also know that brilliant people can be coached in a few weeks to a decent level of competence in just about any subject.

    Sarah Palin either didn’t have the brains or the determination to be coached as her unscripted performance never improved.

    She is demonstrably ill equipped and does not offer anything of substance:

    - no analysis of any depth
    - no program or platform
    - no solutions.

    I’m tempted to write her off as delusional. Going into battle without analysis, program and solutions is delusional.
    Sadly, so are millions of right wing voters.

  • Joshua Hendrickson


    while I appreciate that your religious circle doesn’t apply militant imagery to your worship, you should understand that, historically, God has had plenty to do with war. From the commands to the ancient Hebrews to slaughter every single one of their enemies, to the Crusades and the Inquisition; from the song “Onward Christian Soldiers” to the current directly military motifs adopted by many right-wing Christian groups on the internet; from “Gott Mitt Uns” on Nazi belt buckles to the cries of “Allah Is Great” by fundamentalist suicide bombers, the list is interminable. Even Jesus said at one point that he was not come to bring peace but a sword. God is an infinitely interpretable concept, and while I am glad you interpret God in a peaceful manner, don’t be surprised that other believers, just as sincere in their faith as you, see it otherwise.

  • Jean

    Sarah Palin is the girl we knew in high school who ruled the “popular” clique. We admired her, envied her, hated her and everyone wanted to be her or to date her, and she made us all miserable. Eventually, after those of us who were bright enough to get away, did, we realized just how pathetic and destructive these cults of personality can be. What enables someone like her to hold sway is hard to figure–certainly she has been helped by the terrible decline in education, and the elevation of the banal, in this nation.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    To Joshua to Sal G. I think you are confusing God with Religon. Granted God in the Old Testament was a bit of a warmonger/murderer, but not so in the New Testament. As for the Crusades and the Inquisition, that was a church led genocide, not started or supported by God. As for Jesus saying he was not come to bring peace but a sword, I think allegory is the word, or is my 54 year old mind getting feebler?

  • http://notyet charles a. bowsher

    Ellen Dibble I feel compelled to respond to part of your comment at 9:07. You allude to “Obama’s fire breathing minister” I would venture a guess that you have never attended services at a black church. Ministers there have a tendency to get fiery wtih their preaching. To really understand what Rev. Wright was saying when he made his controversial G.D. America rant you need to listen to the full sermon that day. He brought out the fact that from a black person’s perspective we live in: an America where the majority of blacks murdered are murdered by other blacks, an America where the percentage of blacks in prison is three or four times higher than the percentage of blacks in our population, an America where the young black male unemployment rate is four or five times higher than the same demographic for whites, there were other dismal facts he cited, then he said his G.D. America, but it was in the context of G.D. an America that lets this kind of outrage continue. I think that he was really speaking to the community he was addressing right then, challenging them to do something about the wrongness of it all.

    When all that came out during the campaign I was shocked at first until I took the time to go listen to a few of his full sermons. I did not become a convert by any means, but I came to understand and accept his rhetoric as his right.

  • http://notyet charles A. Bowsher

    jeffe at 7:48 I think it is accurate to leave it as demi-god.

    As for Alaska and its cost to us. The Republican Candidate Joe Miller is all about States rights because he and his group (including Sarah and Todd) are after the states natural resources. The resources in Alaska are worth hundreds of Billions of dollars if not into the trillions. Every native born citizen (including Sarah’s latest) are assured a lifetime of income from oil/gas royalties, timber and mineral royalties simply because they were born in the state. That is why Sarah rushed home from Texas to have here baby. She wasn’t concerned about the health of the baby, she was concerned about the wealth of the baby.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    To Charles A Bowsher:

    I wasn’t confusing God with religion. Since God is a concept in the mind of men, it can be made to stand for anything believers want it to. Even if (and as an atheist this is for me a really big if) God is real, it is still open to interpretation by individuals. Also, if God is real, it is impossible to say that the Crusades and the Inquisition were not ordered by God directly through the papacy. Either way, religion is as human beings do.

    Yes, Jesus’s words about “not peace but a sword” was an allegory about how he supposedly meant to divide rather than unite people. Again, metaphors are what their interpreters make of them, and it can be argued that plenty of Christians have brought “not peace but a sword” to the lives of unbelievers, heretics, and pagans.

    My suspicion is that if God really does exist, it pretty much has to be so far beyond the human realm as to make all human traits such as love, jealousy, judgment, etc. entirely inapplicable.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Also, Charles A. Bowsher:

    it is refreshing to hear someone defend Rev. Wright. I have long thought that those who were shocked and offended by his “God Damn America” sermon were living with conservative blinders on. To some, the idea of God not blessing America is just unthinkable; these people haven’t really given any thought to what kind of horrible things have gone on in America for so long.

  • Podcasts rule!

    Gov. Palin has her faults, but who would pass the “pubic eye” if they jumped into the political arena?

    A lot of people. Dan Quayle, and his son Ben, have been adjudged by the Beltway Inbreds to have sufficient brains to go with surfactant attractiveness. That is a damnably low bar.

    Sarah Palin’s voice resonates inside the Beltway, with Inbreds. The power of the Alaskan Quitbull is something that’s media-made, and I can’t think of the last lefty to get so much coverage with so little examination.

    I also don’t buy her endorsements resulting in a “Fairly divided success average” and an “Aura of influence”. It’s nice to know that a right-wing hack like the Alaskan Quitbull can be congratulated for a 50% rate of nominations. Perhaps our host could have mentioned any number of polls in which actual voters have shown a net negative for a generic Palin-endorsed candidate.

  • michael

    response to Bush’s fault,

    Awe poor sarah all she wanted to do is tell the natural truth right?

    Consisting of lies, half truths, easily identified false information/ false facts, who decries socialism yet comes from the biggest welfare state in the country, decries yellow journalism yet does just that herself, lets not forget the whoring out of her down S. child. Quitting her office when things got tough, the bridge to nowhere, preaching abstinence only, yet does not follow it in own family, said Mrs Clinton complain to much about sexism, but than did the same thing, plus the fact she even failed to answer soft ball questions,

    How dare those means liberals call her on it.

  • Think!Itaintillegalyet!

    I hope she wins the nomination. Can’t wait to see her tripping all over herself in a debate against the President, or anyone for that matter, when the words won’t be provided for her. I guess she thinks if she winks enough people will vote for her anyway.

  • zack

    We have bigger problems than Palin.

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  • Josephine

    Martha Schwope – I have to second you on this. I am a mother of two; my first delivery last almost 24 hours but my second was only 6 hours. Contraction is not one of those things that you could hold and wait. However, I’d have to guess that it is very hard to criticize a politician on the “weirdness” of her childbirth because most people probably would respond by saying “how lame? Why can’t we talk about issues?” This is more a tabloid story. (Hopefully the National Inquirer will write a story on this.)
    I am also very turned off by Sarah Palin constantly showing her children, especially the younger ones around like a trophy. This is taking advantage of the children at her personal gain. Not to mention she hijacks motherhood – especially working mothers – as if she were the spokesperson. She might like to brand herself as “Mama Grizzly” but no Sarah you don’t speak for me.

  • Maura Farrelly

    I am appalled by Sarah Palin… but I also found Michael Joseph Gross’ piece to be an appalling example of “journalism.” Rule #1 in the industry: don’t use anonymous sources unless the information is extremely important, and you have no other way to get it. Rule #2: when you have use anonymous sources, use them sparingly. I lost track of how many anonymous sources Gross used, and he used them to talk about things like Palin’s stingy tipping habits and whether she actually eats moose on a regular basis.

    Rule #3: No matter how pretty the turn of phrase may be, don’t use it unless you know exactly what you mean by it. The man has NOTHING to say when asked what he meant when he wrote that a “sad and moldering strangeness lies beneath” Palin’s life?? And shame on you, Tom Ashbrook, for not asking him why he would use a phrase like that if he can’t tell us what he meant by it. Writers choose every word very, very carefully… for him not to be able to explain his meaning right away is unacceptable. It is a clear sign that he — much like Sarah Palin, herself — was more interested in style, than substance.

  • Jader

    I did enjoyed Mr Gross’s little emotional breakdown. Tom should have kicked him out the door as it damages the show’s credibility..

  • T. Voyd

    “Mama Grizzly”-”High heels”-”Pitbull”-”Lipstick”

    I have mentioned a few times on the comment board that I am an Iraq war veteran and I must say, it is a scary thought to have this display of vanity as Commander in Chief. It pains me to invision such a sight, standing in the sand in Iraq or Afganistan, addressing the same military I lived and loved. What an embarrassment it would be for her to take her sound-bite catch phrases over sea’s. Don’t mistake this as male ego. If you were in Iraq or Afganistan, you would feel where I coming from.

  • HollyP

    I was appalled by Mr. Ashbrook’s dismissal of Martha’s question about the Wild Ride.

    SPalin came to prominence on her pro-life stance as evidenced by her motherhood and giving birth to a child with Downs Syndrome. Assuming Ms. Palin gave birth to her 5th child, should the media not question her activities when they are so clearly at odds with her pronounced beliefs? To have a pregnancy with multiple high risk factors, in early labor, yet choose to bypass several major med centers and take two lengthy flights and a long drive in a rural area to give birth in a hospital which does not have the facilities to deliver a high-risk pregnancy? Actions are not ones which would be taken by someone rational. If she isn’t rational, why has she been given a position of national prominence?

    Why will the media not address these inconsistencies?

  • joe pereira

    More religion, please. Great to hear impartial questions put to believers as well as nonbelievers.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Joshua Hendrickson if you are willing to, for arguments sake accept a God, then here is how the horrible things done in “his/her name” was explained to me. When God created men/women, he gave them life and free will. The horrible things (inquisition, crusades, etc.)done in God’s name are no more at his direction than a tsunami that kills a quarter million people is. He has given us free will to do as we please. It’s almost like a test, not only of the person comitting the act but also a test of the person witnessing the act. A pedophile’s crime is the worst imaginable sin to me, but I have to say that worse still is the church administrator who looked the other way, covered it up, or worse, sent them somewhere else where they did it again. You are right that if there is a God he is of a form/reality so unfamiliar to us that our imaginations can not even come close to capturing the faintest notion of It. My early love of math gave me my notion of God. He/She/It is infinity, its very definition. For me I don’t think I would ever be able to accept that there was no God. I am sorry to say that I believe Hocking (the physicist)as smart as he is wrong when he says there is no God. There is far to much beauty, to much utility in nature itself for it to have occurred randomly, without intelligent design. Evolution is amazing, but I will always believe evolution was created by God.

    Just as the winds and waters of the earth rise and fall in response to their “nature”. So men’s/women’s actions arise from their nature (read free will). It is at once a beautiful gift he has given us and a treacherous one. As for Love, Jealousy and Judgement, they are yet more gifts to wield as we see fit.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Joshua- As for your Rev Wright response, it’s not just the things we have done here in America it is also the things we have done around the globe. Our hands are not clean, but I think we are getting cleaner a little bit at a time.

  • Eric

    I think Tom and the show are generally awesome, but this article and its author are totally unworthy of the forum, and they cheapen show by association. Gross’s “Jan Brewer moment” before the break was embarrassing and, in my opinion, far more shameful than the Governor’s bizarre freeze up. If a writer cannot provide a even a brief explanation for a claim he makes, particularly one that casts another individual in a poor light, he really loses all credibility.

    There are truly plenty of ways to criticize Sarah Palin, but a story packed with anonymous sources really should not be given this much attention. On Point: please be more selective with your guests.

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