Sarah Palin loves God. God loves Sarah Palin.
And that is why they hate her...and Him.
And why she -- and He -- will be back.
That love, an essential part of her everyday life, holds out the hope of a return to the nation envisioned by the unapologetically spiritual generation that birthed the U.S. Like Ronald Reagan, of whom it was said that his relationship with God "had a profound affect on how he lived, on what he did, and on those around him," Sarah Palin's spirituality has affected every part of her life, allowing her to clearly recognize the evil that has leached into our political and media culture. Sarah Palin is both usual and unusual. She is usual in that she is in the mainstream of those who believe in American exceptionalism, the 71 percent who are "very proud" of being American. At the same time, she is unusual in that she views and conducts herself not as a politician -- which she is -- but a citizen who sees public office as an opportunity to serve. Interwoven in all of this is the confidence that comes from knowing that God loves her, up close and personal, an integral part of her Christian faith and central to Judeo-Christian culture. Sarah Palin is grounded in the divine, which means, in part, that she believes, as did the framers of our constitution, that individuals are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." God gives us our rights, and not Washington, the United Nations, or The New York Times or NBC. She does not need a poll to determine the morality of a political and media culture in which the pursuit of power and wealth on the part of its participants comes first (any doubt, see the recent attempt by the Washington Post to sell access to its newsroom and the Obama administration), in which a political establishment has replaced the national anthem with the soundtrack from Jaws. She is steeped in the religious notion of service as evidenced by loving God and loving others, what one of her pastors praised as "a grounded sense of God." In other words, a certainty that God is alive and well and a part of all that we do in this world. Her vision is shaped by what Gerard Manley Hopkins, priest and celebrated poet, described as a conviction that God "plays in ten thousand places...through the features of men's faces."
And when you're shaped by something beyond this world, convinced there is a bit of God in all whom you serve, then morality is part of what you do -- and being called "judgmental" is praise, not criticism. To Sarah Palin, the corruption of both Republicans and Democrats in Alaska, which suffered from an institutionalized class of thieves on the public payroll, was immoral, violating the God-given rights of the citizens of her state...and so she took them on.
She promises to do the same at the national level. Although leaving public office, she holds out the possibility of taking -- in the words of an American Thinker commentator -- on a "larger fight." Both Mark Levin and Thomas Lifson see evidence that she is simply gathering her strength for the next round. She looks at Washington and knows, instinctively and with gut-wrenching clarity, that what is happening is not just wrong...it is immoral. Following her resignation as governor, she told Time magazine -- to the amusement of its editors -- that the growing of government "outrageously" by President Obama is "immoral." She deliberately chose a God word that suggests evil, a word that belongs -- in the words of journalist Christopher Hitchens, the atheist darling of both elite right and left -- to "the superstitious, fearful childhood of the race" because she has a visceral reaction to the mountains of debt being piled on future generations. Like Hitchens, the Time editors believe the "religious part of our brain is part of the less highly evolved bit" and so she touched off a new round of sneers. Conservative Jonah Goldberg summed up the elite reaction to her continuing to pass judgment on the media and political class: You're "whining," you're "blowing it," just shut up (which is the civilized National Review's equivalent of The New York Times label of "one nutty puppy," which in turn is more civilized than MSNBC terming her a "delusional lunatic," which is heads above the liberal award-winning website Wonkette, which described her as "batshit-insane"). And Peggy Noonan, the former Reagan speechwriter who laments the decline of our social values while sipping half-caf nonfat lattes with quintessential liberal elite journalist Leslie Stahl of CBS and actress Candice Bergen (of Dan Quayle-is-a-Bible-thumping-ignoramus fame), did what Peggy Noonan does: take 1,200 words to again cruelly label Palin an idiot.
You know nothing, our liberal and conservative elite sneered. After all, you didn't go to an Ivy League university, can't rattle off on demand the names of ten trendy but unassuming restaurants on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and have never waxed poetic about taking an intern to a cozy little watering hole in Georgetown (or anywhere else, for that matter).
Lost in the derision is this truth: there is a higher standard, and Sarah Palin unashamedly rests in he grip of the one who provides those standards. The unparalleled borrowing to fuel Obama programs and Democratic patronage is not just wrong policy; rather, it is evil because it is accompanied by crushing debt that will, ultimately, devour large chunks of individual income, stimulate runaway regulation that will rob us of freedom, and establish involuntary servitude as measured in hours worked to support government.
And most of this will fall on future generations; in other words, unborn children. Sarah Palin is concerned about unborn children -- another God thing. Fancy that.
And because, as Thomas Jefferson noted, "the God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time," she goes to the source for guidance. In other words, she prays -- an act that prompted the digital venture of the Washington Post to label her "A Little Shop of Horrors," Palin, described by Christianity Today magazine as "unabashed about her faith," prayed continuously during the presidential campaign as she has for all of her life. In this she mirrors the sixty percent of the country that prays at least once a day. Her prayer is a heartfelt effort to prepare for trials and challenges, the stuff of life. In doing so, she connects with the source of wisdom, unashamedly asking her Creator for patience, clarity, and the ability to love in and through all circumstances. And with her prayer she, in the words of Christian writer Philip Yancey, "stands at a place where God and human beings meet," a humbling experience that allows her to remain -- through it all -- just plain Sarah. And therein rests the problem with our elite: God is an intimate part of her life. He is not a tool to be used at the appropriate time to convince the governed that you, too, can "cling to guns or religion," as Obama described praying America to San Francisco grandees during the campaign. This God stuff sets off our privileged classes, which refuse to acknowledge that anyone -- especially someone who did a road movie with Charlton Heston -- has authority over them. And so they scream. The Washington Post, dismayed by her spirituality, trotted out a minister who said Palin "lacks ministerial preparation and theological education" to speak about God. Neither the minister nor the newspaper editors noticed that few of God's significant others -- from Abraham to Moses to Jesus to Paul -- have Harvard Divinity School degrees.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin moves inexorably forward, her life a testament to God's admonition:
Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously-
take God seriously.
God is not done with her. Nor is he done with a nation that has brought freedom and opportunity to hundreds of millions around the world.
I'm not much on prophesying, but I'll take a turn: They'll be back.
Stuart H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is a former newspaper and retail executive. He is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.