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Why Sarah Palin's Speech Will Not Win Over All Evangelicals
New Republic ^ | 9/4/08 | Alan Wolfe

Posted on 09/04/2008 7:58:19 AM PDT by mathprof

I teach at a Catholic university. I study and write about evangelical Protestants. I have no religious convictions of my own. This bothers people who insist that if you are not yourself religious you cannot possibly "get" religion. I leave it to others to decide whether my lack of faith helps or hinders my capacity to understand the subject. But I do know one thing. Because of where I teach and who I study, I have come across some remarkable people I otherwise would never have met.

Familiar with the Catholic tradition, I cannot say I am surprised to meet learned Catholics with a deeply honed sense of social justice. But I have been taken aback by how many evangelicals to whom I have spoken who think deeply about the obligations we human beings have toward each other, take seriously a command to lead lives of good purpose, and resist having their faith corrupted by the temptations of money and power. Megachurches and Christian colleges and seminaries have more than their share of people who love God and want to make the world a better place.

Sarah Palin's speech last night was rapturously received by the delegates to the Republican convention, most of whom are conservative Christians. But just because most Republicans are conservative Christians does not mean that all conservative Christians are Republican. I have the feeling that Palin's speech will not wear well among many of the primarily younger evangelicals I have come to know.

To be sure, Palin's personal story will resonate with them, especially the story of Trig. (At one evangelical event in Atlanta I attended, I was bowled over by the parents of a quadriplegic child to whom they had clearly devoted their lives; I do not think I have the same level of devotion within me). But three aspects of Palin's speech are likely to bother them.

Evangelicals are becoming increasingly persuaded that Christians are under an injunction to preserve and protect the natural environment bequeathed to us by God. They will not be attracted to destroying the beauty of Alaska to fill our all-too- human urge to drive cars. Christians are from time to time called on to sacrifice for their beliefs, and if we have to cut back our energy consumption to protect God's gift, that is as worthy a sacrifice as there is. Palin rhetorically called for clean energy but her words lacked conviction, especially when compared to her calls to drill and drill some more. This will be noticed.

Palin's speech, secondly, was too partisan to be easily swallowed by younger, post-partisan, evangelicals. These are people who disagree with Barack Obama's position on abortion but respect him as a Christian. Palin's over-the-top sarcasm toward Obama will not play well with them, especially her implicit questioning of his patriotism. To the extent that these younger evangelicals are political, they look for a politics of elevation. The whole tone of last night's convention will prove to be a bit too sour. You do not call for change and adhere to the Rove-Schmitt style of attack.

Finally, and most importantly, Palin did not speak to the powerful sense emerging among evangelicals that all Christians, and not just Catholics, should do their best to insure social justice in this world. On the contrary, Palin mocked Obama's service as a community organizer, an odd thing to do given that so many community organizers are inspired by their religious convictions. Promising to cut taxes appeals to country-club Republicans. It is not nearly as resonant a theme to those who understand that the programs financed by taxes help the neediest and most dependent. If Palin said one word about how to make this world a fairer place or indicated at any point how to realize the common good, I did not hear it.

This is the moment for Sarah Palin to have her day. But great speeches are meant to be digested over long periods. This is not one that future generations of evangelicals will turn to for inspiration.

Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008rncconvention; agnostics; atheists; christianvote; environment; evangelicals; mccainpalin; palin; palinspeech; rncconvention; tnr
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1 posted on 09/04/2008 7:58:19 AM PDT by mathprof
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To: mathprof

Alan Wolfe is yet another lib defining what “evangelicals” believe and think and then explaining why Palin doesn’t fit “our” mold.

He is so wrong. He couldn’t be wronger!


2 posted on 09/04/2008 8:00:03 AM PDT by Jemian (Nobama - wants to kill babies & raise taxes; Palin - wants to kill taxes & raise babies!)
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To: Jemian

And Obama’s didn’t win over all Democrats...So what’s the f’ing point Alan?


3 posted on 09/04/2008 8:02:48 AM PDT by MNlurker
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To: mathprof
That is literally impossible.

I have no religious convictions of my own.

4 posted on 09/04/2008 8:03:02 AM PDT by DManA
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To: mathprof

I feel sorry for the students who have learn from this lamebrain.


5 posted on 09/04/2008 8:03:47 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Et si omnes ego non)
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To: mathprof

I have 5 very liberal... did I say very liberal women who go to church with me. They sent out an email this morning saying to make sure we all vote. I sent back a reply.. I will vote and I am very anxious to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. Funny thing I have not had any replies back to me. I was the only Republican on the email and all others HUGE libs.


6 posted on 09/04/2008 8:04:35 AM PDT by JFC (McCain/Palin 08 BASE IS RALLIED!)
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To: Jemian
These are people who disagree with Barack Obama's position on abortion but respect him as a Christian.

So they're not upset that Barack supports murder, but they will be upset that big bad Sarah said baaaad things about him?

7 posted on 09/04/2008 8:04:56 AM PDT by Mygirlsmom ("With all due respect, Barak Obama isn't half the man that Sarah Palin is"...... Rush Limbaugh)
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To: mathprof

“...the powerful sense emerging among evangelicals that all Christians, and not just Catholics, should do their best to insure social justice in this world.”

“Social justice” is just another term for socialism/communism. I’ll take that old time religion myself- the Lord helps those who help themselves.


8 posted on 09/04/2008 8:05:04 AM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: mathprof
Alan Wolfe is either an idiot or being deliberately mendacious.

And I find it hard to believe that anyone who is completely irreligious can "get" religion -- but, o.k., I'll judge him on his conclusions as he requests.

It's clear from his conclusions that he doesn't "get" religion at all.

9 posted on 09/04/2008 8:05:10 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse - TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: ClearCase_guy

No kidding, I stopped reading afte the first sentence, no wonder C is so messed up, sorry, but true, spoken as a former C


10 posted on 09/04/2008 8:05:10 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: mathprof

Bunk, her life example will win people of all kinds over.

The speeches are just tasty frosting on the cake.


11 posted on 09/04/2008 8:06:13 AM PDT by A CA Guy ( God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: mathprof
Palin's speech, secondly, was too partisan

What's she doing giving a partisan speech at a party convention? Geez, what a lamebrain!

12 posted on 09/04/2008 8:06:35 AM PDT by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: mathprof

An assertion without any to back it up.

most of whom are conservative Christians.


13 posted on 09/04/2008 8:06:39 AM PDT by DManA
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To: mathprof

NOTHING from the New Republic is to ever be believed.


14 posted on 09/04/2008 8:06:39 AM PDT by Night Conservative (Sarah Palin for Vice President in 2008.)
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To: mathprof
Here, let me save everyone some time--evangelicals will be unpersuaded by Gov. Palin because of:

1. the environment,
2. abortion, and
3. social justice.


15 posted on 09/04/2008 8:06:42 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: mathprof

Liberalism wearing a fake collar.


16 posted on 09/04/2008 8:07:23 AM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: mathprof
I teach at a Catholic university

NEXT!

17 posted on 09/04/2008 8:07:32 AM PDT by Rutles4Ever (Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna!)
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To: mathprof

Catholics are going to be the toughest contingency for Obama to win over. Definitely not going to happen now.


18 posted on 09/04/2008 8:07:44 AM PDT by jersey117
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To: mathprof
Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

I understand now...

19 posted on 09/04/2008 8:08:11 AM PDT by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: mathprof
Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
Obama: “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

20 posted on 09/04/2008 8:08:21 AM PDT by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: Jemian
LIBS ARE DESPARATE - the roaches are coming out of the woodwork:

Alan Wolfe - was a member of the collective that put out the Marxist-oriented journal, Kapitalistate, whose pages featured articles by such writers as Poulantzas, Claus Offe, Ralph Miliband, and Bob Jessop. By the early 1980s, Wolfe's politics had become more centrist.

A contributing editor of The New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, Commonwealth Magazine, and In Character, Wolfe writes often for those publications as well as for Commonweal, The New York Times, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and other magazines and newspapers. He served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton in preparation for his 1995 State of the Union Address...

21 posted on 09/04/2008 8:08:23 AM PDT by The Bronze Titan
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To: Scythian

what is a “C”, why and how is it messed up, and why are you a former “C”?


22 posted on 09/04/2008 8:09:03 AM PDT by joe fonebone (The Second Amendment is the Constitutions reset button)
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To: mathprof

LMAO... the New Republic is now an expert on Evangelicals!


23 posted on 09/04/2008 8:09:21 AM PDT by johnny7 ("Duck I says... ")
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To: mathprof

LOL, very funny.


24 posted on 09/04/2008 8:09:25 AM PDT by peggybac (Tolerance is the virtue of believing in nothing)
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To: mathprof

“...I cannot say I am surprised to meet learned Catholics with a deeply honed sense of social justice.”

_______

Social justice. That’s all I needed to know about this guys opinion.


25 posted on 09/04/2008 8:09:34 AM PDT by rightinthemiddle (Without the Mainstream Media, the Left is Nothing.)
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To: mathprof
***But just because most Republicans are conservative Christians does not mean that all conservative Christians are Republican.***

True enough but to add one bit to it, one can not support abortion and be a Christian.

26 posted on 09/04/2008 8:09:39 AM PDT by tobyhill (fraud -noun;(1)deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, (2) Obama)
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To: mathprof; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment

Obama: “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

27 posted on 09/04/2008 8:09:42 AM PDT by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: mathprof

I am a white, conservative, middle class evangelical.

I think I will write a column on how Barak Obama cannot win over the votes of homeless, cross-dressing African Americans.


28 posted on 09/04/2008 8:09:45 AM PDT by Mr. Brightside
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To: DManA

“I have no religious convictions of my own. “

/end commentary


29 posted on 09/04/2008 8:10:05 AM PDT by maggief (Difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull ... lipstick!)
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To: mathprof

I love the pretentious condescending I speak for you tone of this author

classic liberalism


30 posted on 09/04/2008 8:10:07 AM PDT by lonestar67 (Its time to withdraw from the War on Bush-- your side is hopelessly lost in a quagmire.)
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To: mathprof
I love it when liberals who have no clue about evangelicals whatsoever (outside of snobby stereotypes) then try to lecture us on what evangelicals will do.
31 posted on 09/04/2008 8:10:50 AM PDT by DesScorp
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To: mathprof

LOL. I am sure evangelicals are more drawn to Barry and his worldview than those of Palin.

Sure. She REALLY has them worried. They probably had already paid for renovations to the White House. I hear they were going for a Temple of Delphi theme.

Complete with smoke machine and a theatrical lift system so that Barry can be lowered down from the Heavens when meeting with foreign leaders.


32 posted on 09/04/2008 8:11:09 AM PDT by rom (Cold on McCain '08. Enthusiastic about McCain-Palin '08!)
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To: mathprof
McCain/Palin will win 80% of the Evangelicals and that is more than enough. No one can win 100% of anything, it is simply impossible unless it is Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea and China.
33 posted on 09/04/2008 8:11:48 AM PDT by jveritas (God Bless President Bush and our brave troops)
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To: mathprof
50% of the so called Evangelical community are liberal.

I have no idea why people seem to believe they are all Conservative. It just makes no sense at all.

These liberal believers actually think Jesus was a liberal reformer, so there ya go.........

34 posted on 09/04/2008 8:12:20 AM PDT by Cold Heat (Well....................................That's .....that.........)
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To: mathprof

I am sorry, but I don’t do “religion”.


35 posted on 09/04/2008 8:12:41 AM PDT by Obadiah (I remember when the climate never changed, then Bush stole the election.)
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To: mathprof

“I teach at a Catholic university. I study and write about evangelical Protestants. I have no religious convictions of my own.”

“Why would someone with no religious convictions want to teach at a Catholic university?” I asked myself. Then I saw that this was Boston College...no Catholic university it.


36 posted on 09/04/2008 8:14:12 AM PDT by veritas2002
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To: mathprof

I’m not an evangelical, nor do I play one on TV, but I think this guy is out to lunch.

First of all, the headline: Of course her speech won’t win over ALL evangelicals. That was never in question. That’s as stupid as saying one Obama speech can win over ALL African-Americans.

To the specifics: I don’t recall Sarah Palin saying that we should be “destroying the beauty of Alaska to fill our all-too- human urge to drive cars.” This moron seems to think Palin called for oil derricks to be set up across 100% of Alaska’s pristene, scenic landscape. ANWR is not pristene or scenic, nobody sees it but a bunch of caribou, and we’re only talking about a small percentage of land there, anyway.

This was a political convention. Conventions are, by their very nature, partisan. There’s a news flash for you. Go back and watch Biden’s speech. Or Obama’s. Do you hear any partisanship there? But, I guess THAT won’t turn off evangelicals, because evangelicals like leftist partisanship. And when did Palin “implicit[ly] question... [Obama’s] patriotism.”? I’m not sure what speech this guy was watching.

Finally, how is a “community organizer” working for social justice? Isn’t he, rather, working to build up a voting base and curry favors? Most Catholics, evangelicals, and any other Christians who want to work for the benefit of their communities do so through charitable works that their Church performs. They don’t spend their time registering Democrats to vote.


37 posted on 09/04/2008 8:14:26 AM PDT by Choose Ye This Day ("Above all else, let us think straight." -- Melvin J. Ballard)
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To: vox_freedom
I teach at a Catholic university... I have no religious convictions of my own.

[sigh]

38 posted on 09/04/2008 8:14:34 AM PDT by murphE (I refuse to choose evil, even if it is the lesser of two)
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To: mathprof

Well, at least this is on the issues. He’s not calling for the death of her child and grandchild.


39 posted on 09/04/2008 8:15:06 AM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: mathprof
This bothers people who insist that if you are not yourself religious you cannot possibly "get" religion.

It must be those Christians who agree with Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

40 posted on 09/04/2008 8:15:15 AM PDT by Dutchgirl ("All you need to know about Obama is this: Farrakhan really wants him to be president."-Feder)
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To: mathprof

Who is Alan Wolfe?

From Wikipedia:

Earlier in his career, Wolfe was a member of the collective that put out the Marxist-oriented journal, Kapitalistate, whose pages featured articles by such writers as Poulantzas, Claus Offe, Ralph Miliband, and Bob Jessop. By the early 1980s, Wolfe’s politics had become more centrist.

Link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Wolfe


41 posted on 09/04/2008 8:16:34 AM PDT by capecodder
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To: mathprof

“I teach at a Catholic university.”

Boston College is not Catholic—it is Jesuit...Has their theology dept signed JPII’s mandatum???


42 posted on 09/04/2008 8:17:04 AM PDT by Ravens70
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To: mathprof
Dr Wolfe teaches at a Catholic college. The fact that there are some liberals there that might call themselves “evangelicals” is simply an attempt by the libs to obfuscate the term “evangelical”.

What they really are is a pack of lesbians that want to be nuns and leftist that want to use “social justice” as a mechanism to promote left wing causes.

I'm a Roman Catholic and I'll throw my lot in with the Baptist and the Assemblies of God and the REAL evangelical faiths any day.

43 posted on 09/04/2008 8:17:14 AM PDT by Artemis Webb (Sarah Palin: Babies, Guns, Jesus. HOT DAMN!)
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To: mathprof
RE:I teach at a Catholic university. I study and write about evangelical Protestants. I have no religious convictions of my own.

This twit comes across as a self-styled Margaret Mead studying traditional Christians as if they are exotic primitive tribal people. The Catholic University system has been infected with the black mold of secular humanism. How tragic.

44 posted on 09/04/2008 8:17:29 AM PDT by Irish Queen (Nevada Gal)
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To: mathprof

He is surprised to find out evangelicals and other Christians are concerned for the environment and their fellowmen and women? He clearly doesn’t understand the Christian faith. The difference between liberals and Christians is that liberals work toward their ideals by imposing their ideas of paradise on the people through taxation, restrictive laws, intimidation and other equally repugnant means—all in the pursuit of their “worthy goals” of course. Christians follow the dictates of their Founder by working to change the hearts of their brothers and sisters and thereby indirectly contributing to a more just, kind and sensible citizenry. As one Christian leader stated, “we take the slum out of the person and he takes himself out of the slum” and this is accomplished by example, love, respect and patience rather than force.


45 posted on 09/04/2008 8:17:33 AM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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To: Mygirlsmom

“These are people who disagree with Barack Obama’s position on abortion but respect him as a Christian.”

All three of them have doubts about Sarah, but they should come around.


46 posted on 09/04/2008 8:18:35 AM PDT by Rennes Templar (If the election were today, Obama would win.........in Europe.)
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To: mathprof

“But I have been taken aback by how many evangelicals to whom I have spoken who think deeply about the obligations we human beings have toward each other, take seriously a command to lead lives of good purpose, and resist having their faith corrupted by the temptations of money and power.”

This “teacher” is a dufus!


47 posted on 09/04/2008 8:18:39 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: Jemian

The dopes are coming out of the woodwork.


48 posted on 09/04/2008 8:18:40 AM PDT by dforest
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To: Jemian
These are people who disagree with Barack Obama's position on abortion but respect him as a Christian.

Someone with Obama's position on abortion is NOT a Christian. Period. It doesn't matter what he considers himself. It's what God thinks of him.

49 posted on 09/04/2008 8:18:48 AM PDT by bcsco (Sarah America! Ignore the lipstik at your peril!)
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To: Jemian; MHGinTN
Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

Alan Wolfe is a fool and a liar as well, but that's obvious.

He claims also, and perhaps not surprisingly, that he didn't expect evangelicals to be supporting charity. ????

His immediate hatred of conservatives (see it in his language and terms such as “country-club”) show that he has NO understanding of what he (claims to) be teaching. I cannot imagine any more of a waste of time, money, and ink than to take a course in religion under a “man” who claims to have no religion.

But one who worships the god earth anyway. Who cannot see Obama’s lies for they are.

50 posted on 09/04/2008 8:19:41 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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