September 23, 2010 - 1:00am
Sarah Palin can be forgiven for avoiding discussion of her faith on the campaign trail and in her autobiography, according to the authors of a new book exploring her religious beliefs. After all, evangelical Christians who seek public office often become the target of vicious attacks by the left and the media.
“Politicians, particularly African American politicians, can wrap themselves in their faith and speak in church and rally church-going folks to their cause with absolutely impunity,” author David Holland said. “But if you're right of center that is absolutely forbidden.”
Holland co-authored with Stephen Mansfield the new book, “The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin: What She Believes and What It Means for America .” In a recent interview with the Culture and Media Institute, Holland said the authors hoped the book would broaden people's understanding of charismatic evangelical faith.
“If it is true that someone who is that flavor of Christian and wants to serve in the public arena, if they are forbidden from doing so, if they are disqualified from doing so because of their faith, then that is a troubling thing,” Holland said.
Holland said they were inspired to write the book because Palin's own memoir, Going Rogue, “didn't adequately explore her faith journey.” He said she “was being handled or managed to minimize the amount of exposure or criticism she might receive so her faith, to a certain extent, her faith journey had been sanitized.”
Holland blamed media bias against conservative Christians. “In most of the mainstream media today and the political left, Christians and Catholics who are open about their faith are barely tolerated,” he said. “She was attacked and her faith was parodied.”
Americans were aware of Palin's background in the Assembly of God church, Holland said, but he and Mansfield wanted to help explain the “explosion of what might be called Pentecostal or charismatic evangelical Christianity.” Holland described his own faith as “not dissimilar to that of Sarah Palin.”
Holland said he hoped the book would inspire other evangelical Christian politicians to stand up to media criticism and “be good articulators and good defenders of being a person of faith in the public arena.”
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