- Current Issue
SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
During the 2008 campaign the beliefs of various candidates’ spiritual mentors has attracted a great deal of attention, especially those of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and to a lesser extent those of John Hagee, who endorsed John McCain. So now seems an opportune time to examine the viewpoints of Sarah Palin’s two most recent pastors, as expressed in their sermons.
Since becoming governor in 2006, Palin has attended the Juneau Christian Center, where Mike Rose serves as senior pastor. Her previous pastor was David Pepper of the Church on the Rock in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla — a church that “was kind of a foundation for her.”
Of the two, Rose is certainly the more politically active, both locally and in the broader evangelical community (with ties to Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, for example). Pepper, it should be noted, is outspoken on slavery, racism, and the massacres of Native Americans, all of which he terms “sins” that still cast a long shadow on minority communities.
Sebastian Jones found links to many sermons by Rose and by Pepper. The excerpts below come from his review.
Mike Rose, senior pastor at Juneau Christian Center
From an April 27, 2008 sermon: “If you really want to know where you came from and happen to believe the word of God that you are not a descendant of a chimpanzee, this is what the word of God says. I believe this version.”
From a July 8, 2007 sermon: “Those that die without Christ have a horrible, horrible surprise.”
From a July 28, 2007 sermon: “Do you believe we’re in the last days? After listening to Newt Gingrich and the prime minister of Israel and a number of others at our gathering, I became convinced, and I have been convinced for some time. We are living in the last days. These are incredible times to live in.”
David Pepper, senior pastor at Church on the Rock:
From an November 25, 2007 sermon: “The purpose for the United States is… to glorify God. This nation is a Christian nation.”
From an October 28, 2007 sermon: “God will not be mocked. I don’t care what the ACLU says. God will not be mocked. I don’t care what atheists say. God will not be mocked. I don’t care what’s going on in the nation today with so much horrific rebellion and sin and things that take place. God will not be mocked. Judgment Day is coming. Where do you stand?”
From an October 28, 2007 sermon: “Just giving in a little bit is a disastrous thing…You can’t serve both man and God. It is one or the other.”
Christian conservatives like Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, and James Dobson have hailed McCain’s selection of Palin. Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, vowed earlier this year never to support McCain. However, within hours of Palin’s addition to the G.O.P. ticket, he had changed his tune, saying, he had “not been so excited about a political candidate since Ronald Reagan.” Given the viewpoints expressed by Palin’s pastors, it’s easy to understand why Christian conservatives are so excited.
Update: The Huffington Post reports that Palin was baptized at and long attended the Wasilla Assembly of God. The church’s pastor is a firm believer in the approaching end times and suggests that criticism of President Bush for his handling of Katrina was, “not going to get you anywhere, you know, except for hell. “
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
Notes on South Africa’s failed revolution
“I will never know what goes on in your mind, or what that shield of a smile behind which we try to advance should tell us.”