November 17, 2008

Palin’s Witch-hunt

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:56 pm by Rev. Thomas Perchlik

[Note: I started this blog entry in mid-October, but only finished it today.] 

 My politically liberal friends asked me if I had seen “that horrible video” with Sarah Palin being prayed over.  They talked about how if this had been done with Obama there would have been a firestorm of protest.  It sounded wild and scary.  One person told me that the video featured an African “voodoo minister” who was “casting out witches” as if Palin had been threatened with some sort of demon possession.  So I looked around and found the video clip. 

It was pretty tame.  Really;  I have seen far more dramatic prayer in Muncie during a weekly Christian prayer meeting.  I have seen rituals in other religions with much more drama.  In the Palin video two men stand beside her, holding her arms in case she is overwhelmed by the spirit (she wasn’t in the slightest).  It is all pretty controlled and conventional for the new “spirit filled” style of Christianity that has become quite popular these days. 

The Minister does say that witchcraft is one of the things that God is rebuking (presumably through Sarah,) but even Unitarians in the Kasi Hills of India fight forms of witchcraft, trying to turn the Kasi people from propitiating evil spirits to living ethically.  Belief in evil spirits and those who can control them are dangerous beliefs, but they are also amazingly common and even ordinary.  In fact we UUs have cast out and rebuked more witches than Sarah’s minister ever has.  We have done this by simply not believing in them, being skeptical of those who suspect others of being witches, and by heeding the results of science and the guidance of reason. 

The video must have been made early in her V.P. run.  The minister in the video asks God to provide her money, an army of people and other resources needed for success.   The prayer came at the end of a homily talking about the importance of “believers” taking over all areas of society to transform them to “righteousness.”  I certainly am glad that his prayer failed and his narrow vision of the right and good has been kept from taking over society.  But the prayer was not crazy or scary, unless of course you are personally afraid of becoming the target of a (Vice Presidential led) witch hunt.

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