Governor Sarah Palin delivers one heck of a speech; we all know that now. But I was struck by another speech, one she made to ministry students at her former church in Wasilla, the School of Ministry at the Wasilla Assembly of God church.
Speaking of the war in Iraq, to which her eldest son is expected to be sent, she said 'Our national leaders are sending them (the troops) out on a task that is from God.' In an earlier speech, she urged students to pray for the construction of a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it 'God's will.'
It must be comforting to worship a God you know so well that you are certain of what His wishes are, but I wonder. Some wars are inevitable, of course. I remember Bill Mauldin, the World War II cartoonist whose Willie and Joe were the best known soldiers in that war, saying once that he didn't think the war had made the world better or kinder but 'of course we had to kill Hitler.' Of course we did; he was a huge and evil figure. But did we have to invade Iraq? Saddam Hussein was a bad man, too, but not a threat to the whole world the way Hitler was.
We have now lost more than 4,000 American lives in that war; many more Iraqis have died. Is Iraq better or safer than it was? Are we better off than before we invaded? Honest people can disagree about the answers to those questions, but they are not obvious.
I don't know where God (if he exists) stands on the war or on the proposed pipeline. But when it comes to choosing leaders who will decide these hard questions, I'm for people who see shades of gray not just black and white. These issues are not easy. I would much rather vote for people who see the grays, who see the nuances, the difficulties these issues pose than for someone who confidently says, this is God's will.
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