Religious experts to left: Um, Palin’s “witchcraft” blessing isn’t that weird

posted at 9:50 pm on September 29, 2008 by Allahpundit

Yeah, turns out Christians have been known to pray for protection from supernatural evil. And Christians from parts of the world where people believe in witchcraft have been known to pray for protection from witchcraft specifically. Who could have guessed, except for me, Ace, and everyone else who doesn’t hate Palin passionately?

To blame for the misunderstanding: McCain, of course, because he didn’t carefully explain a belief system that anyone could learn about by opening up an encyclopedia.

The “witchcraft” line in particular caught the attention of liberal pundits and bloggers. Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” called the video “terrifying” and said it made the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the much-criticized ex-pastor of Barack Obama, look “pretty mainstream” in comparison.

But religious experts said there was nothing untoward in the video, which they said shows a fairly routine religious ceremony. Misunderstanding over it has grown because of the McCain campaign’s refusal to comment on the video, suggesting that the campaign was on uncomfortable footing with Palin’s religion, the experts said.

Jacob K. Olupana, a religion professor at Harvard, said the campaign appears to have been caught flat-footed when trying to answer questions on Palin’s faith. “I’m not sure they understand it,” he said.

“What you saw was something very basic that happens in a Pentecostal church,” said Anthea Butler, a religion professor at the University of Rochester. “You would see this in any Pentecostal church on any given Sunday.”…

“I don’t know why they are making a big thing out of it,” Olupana said of the media reaction to the video. “Witchcraft as part of a belief system is real to the people who live there,” he said, noting that there was “nothing unusual about what happened.”

Exit question: What would the campaign have gained by commenting on the video? Liberals who think this is irredeemably nutty won’t be swayed by the fact that McCain doesn’t or that a lot of Pentecostals don’t either.

Update: Tangentially related per the point about hating Palin passionately, here’s some graffiti a reader in Seattle spotted. I’m guessing whoever did this is very concerned indeed about that withcraft business.


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BTW – for clarification of previous statement:

my church = United Methodist denomination (which is in a huge struggle against if-it-feels-good-do-it liberals)

Religious_Zealot on September 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM

trailboss on September 29, 2008 at 11:16 PM

OK. I won’t get weirded out on ya.

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM

OK. I won’t get weirded out on ya.

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM

:)

trailboss on September 29, 2008 at 11:19 PM

In my humble opinion, I think you & R_Z need to look for a different church.

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM

See previous clarification.

I love my denomination and the tradition it comes from (Wesleyan).

There are many good United Methodist (UM) churches out there that stick to scripture and good doctrine.

However, like many other mainstream denominations, the ill-winds of liberal human-based teachings have blown through our denomination.

And as long as the doctrine remains what it is, I will stand by my church.

Religious_Zealot on September 29, 2008 at 11:20 PM

I went to Pentecostal churches for most of the 28 yrs I’ve been a Christian, though I’m in a non-denom church now. I miss the excitement in the worship.
Why do people scream & jump around at meaningless sports events, then call us weird when we get excited about eternal life with God?

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 PM

Why do people scream & jump around at meaningless sports events, then call us weird when we get excited about eternal life with God?

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 PM

God doesn’t have a point spread.

fogw on September 29, 2008 at 11:23 PM

And as long as the doctrine remains what it is, I will stand by my church.

Religious_Zealot on September 29, 2008 at 11:20 PM

I look up to John Wesley (Charles, too). I just wish all of today’s Methodists were more like him…& you.

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Free speech? Does that also apply to this comment: “Either keep them to yourself or stay out of my threads. Or else I’ll twitch my nose three times and you’ll disappear.”

wise_man on September 29, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Good point. But, pissing off the “man” in charge of the “hammer” with undiplomatic positions (without preconditions) is not wise, man.

I’ve supported you in many things over the months but, a little more decorum might be in order in this one.

Over.

1GooDDaDDy on September 29, 2008 at 11:24 PM

“Free Speech” with an asterisk. Awesome. Look at my first comment again. DOes it merit thhat threatening response?

wise_man on September 29, 2008 at 11:26 PM

wise_man on September 29, 2008 at 11:05 PM

I try to picture this as AP’s & Ed’s house. I’m a guest, & I ought to be grateful that he invited me to hang out.

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:27 PM

“Free Speech” with an asterisk. Awesome. Look at my first comment again. DOes it merit thhat threatening response?

wise_man on September 29, 2008 at 11:26 PM

Free speech is only protection from the gummint. AP has all the power here.

trailboss on September 29, 2008 at 11:29 PM

hey how about that whacky Palin. huh? whoo I sure hope she doesnt end up VP. woah be to us if she does

wise_man on September 29, 2008 at 11:31 PM

What exactly is your problem?

Allahpundit on September 29, 2008 at 10:12 PM

Penis envy.

davidk on September 29, 2008 at 11:33 PM

Leave Allahpundit alone!

JimRich on September 29, 2008 at 11:35 PM

“Free Speech” doesn’t apply when you’re in someone else’s house.

And I’ll never understand why this is such a difficult concept for so many commenters here and on other sites I frequent.

Religious_Zealot on September 29, 2008 at 11:35 PM

The left would be more at ease if she were being blessed by a coven of Witches.

Elizabetty on September 29, 2008 at 9:59 PM

You are right and especially if it was members of Code Pink doing the blessings, and that’s not far fetched being that Code Pink admits that witchcraft is one of their methods.

Maxx on September 29, 2008 at 11:36 PM

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM

I did, and I found one that suits my spiritual needs. The church newsletter piece to which I referred did not delve into policy, politicians, or positions. It just reminded everyone to be nice and pray for whoever wins. It was a refreshing change from politics for the pulpit.

Religious_Zealot on September 29, 2008 at 11:20 PM

Good for you, and I mean it. You are right about the churches around DC leaning hard left. It just isn’t easy to be a Christian and a Republican on the East Coast.

Laura in Maryland on September 29, 2008 at 11:36 PM

Laura in Maryland on September 29, 2008 at 11:36 PM

But if you go for years without ever seeing anything spiritual in the church newsletter…?

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:38 PM

Religious_Zealot on September 29, 2008 at 11:20 PM

I’ve been a “Wesleyan” all my life. We sure could use a Wesley in these times. An amazing man.

davidk on September 29, 2008 at 11:39 PM

JimRich on September 29, 2008 at 11:35 PM

…repeated often, through tears, profanities tossed in here & there, & you’ve got a viral video!

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:39 PM

“Free Speech” with an asterisk. Awesome. Look at my first comment again. DOes it merit thhat threatening response?

wise_man on September 29, 2008 at 11:26 PM

You poke AP in the eye.

He tells you to quit wheedling in his threads or he’ll toss you out.

You spam much of the rest of the thread with your hurt feelings and tirades about “free speech” and being “threatened”.

It’s tiresome, dude.

TexasDan on September 29, 2008 at 11:40 PM

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:39 PM

jgapannoy,

Please reread the original post…then go stand in the corner and think about what you’ve done. I got you book of discipline right heeere.

Laura in Maryland on September 29, 2008 at 11:43 PM

AP has been really beat up today, WM.

But like others have said, it’s his house; he owns the bat and ball.

Let it slide. You make some very good comments; you hit a nerve tonight, so just let it go..

davidk on September 29, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Or else I’ll twitch my nose three times and you’ll disappear.

Allahpundit on September 29, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Allah has a sense of humor, I never knew that. He actually made me laugh.

Maxx on September 29, 2008 at 11:46 PM

I’ve been a “Wesleyan” all my life. We sure could use a Wesley in these times. An amazing man.

davidk on September 29, 2008 at 11:39 PM

I totally agree.

Personally, I think the modern Methodist church would be well nigh unrecognizable to Wesley.

The epitome of losing our Wesleyan heritage was shown a couple of years ago when a big to-do happened when a pastor refused postponed membership for a person who would not renounce his sin.

Wesley would have kicked his butt out in 2 seconds flat along with all of the pastors and bishops who complained that pastors shouldn’t have the right to decide if someone is ready to become a member.

-sigh-

Well, at least the highest court in the Methodist church ruled the correct way.

Religious_Zealot on September 29, 2008 at 11:53 PM

The baptism ceremony in many churches asks the parents and godparents if they “renounce the Devil and all his works and all his ways.”

Wethal on September 29, 2008 at 9:57 PM

I’m not Catholic, but note the priest’s words during the baptism scene in The Godfather just before Michael settles all Corleone family scores.

One of the things I find most uncomfortable about Obama is that he doesn’t recognize evil–Wright, Ayers, Rezko, too many others, and Obama’s ghoulish position on abortion. Lowlifes such as Olberman and Maddow can hold their noses at someone such as Palin and me. I don’t care, because I know I’m right.

BuckeyeSam on September 29, 2008 at 11:55 PM

Meh, this is so the worst possible thread to take after AP’s ambivalence towards religion and the religious. He’s being open-minded and fair with a dash of snark for the lefty jugheads blindly attacking Palin’s religion.

Anyway, this will still fly, the Harvard professor’s Kiplingesque blessing notwithstanding. Or perhaps because of it. The overall talking point is how strange and outre she is. This is something that doesn’t have to be consciously rejected to affect how someone will respond to a poll on the subject. It only has to be a thread in the cord. The good thing is that it won’t affect the base; with some it might even strengthen her position. Regardless, this likely won’t make a dent in her overall favorables.

spmat on September 29, 2008 at 11:56 PM

I think McCain is doing the right thing by not commenting. Let the liberals talk about how weird and scary Pentecostals are. Pentecostals happen to be overwhelmingly blue collar, so let the liberals insult the religion of the voters they are trying to woo.

As if belonging to a church that asks God to bless our troops, speaks in tongues, and prays for protection from witchcraft are all pertinent issues for voting, but belonging to a church that accuses the US government of being behind the AIDS virus, saying “God damn America”, and saying that 9/11 was just America getting what it deserved- that’s a-okay.

Sheesh

Sackett on September 29, 2008 at 11:56 PM

Those who will not accept the existence of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will certainly not accept the existence of satan.

davidk on September 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Anyway, this will still fly, the Harvard professor’s Kiplingesque blessing notwithstanding. Or perhaps because of it. The overall talking point is how strange and outre she is. This is something that doesn’t have to be consciously rejected to affect how someone will respond to a poll on the subject. It only has to be a thread in the cord. The good thing is that it won’t affect the base; with some it might even strengthen her position. Regardless, this likely won’t make a dent in her overall favorables.

spmat on September 29, 2008 at 11:56 PM

It will only “fly” with the far left.

Moderates on either side of the aisle will only roll their eyes at the left’s attempts to make this an issue.

And, as you said, it will only strengthen her base (who correctly understand that the prayer isn’t strange).

To be honest, I kind of hope the left really DOES push this because I think if they do, they will have overplayed their hand and really shouted to the world that they don’t have the faintest idea what Christianity is about.

Religious_Zealot on September 30, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Exorcise Obama in November 4th.

profitsbeard on September 30, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Why do people scream & jump around at meaningless sports events, then call us weird when we get excited about eternal life with God?

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 PM

Heh. You made me think.

Spirit of 1776 on September 30, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Why do people scream & jump around at meaningless sports events, then call us weird when we get excited about eternal life with God?

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 PM
Heh. You made me think smile.

Spirit of 1776 on September 30, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Laura in Maryland on September 30, 2008 at 12:07 AM

Allah has a sense of humor, I never knew that.

Maxx on September 29, 2008 at 11:46 PM

??????

Allah is in Da House
!

baldilocks on September 30, 2008 at 12:25 AM

baldilocks on September 30, 2008 at 12:25 AM

Nice find…I never knew. Still scary though.

Over.

1GooDDaDDy on September 30, 2008 at 12:33 AM

I’m not in agreement with all of Palin’s religious beliefs, but a belief in witchcraft (evil wished by others upon us) can be transliterated by me to a hunk of the Lord’s Prayer: Deliver us from evil.

So, while I’m not in agreement that evil thoughts without action translates into actual evil for anyone but the wisher, a belief that prayers ward off such evil does not translate into any action damaging to another person, and so I can condone and accept someone’s belief system that includes such prayers. Prayers against witchcraft are definitely different from condemning someone as a witch.

Now, condemning live-born babies to die because letting them live would inconvenience their mothers is actual evil, in my book.

Even with her belief system slightly skewed from my Catholic one, she’s still far more aligned with my Catholic belief system than Joseph Biden, who claims to be Catholic but acts counter to his proclaimed faith.

“By their works, you shall know them.”

unclesmrgol on September 30, 2008 at 12:46 AM

This is weird but sucking vibrant children out of the womb is okay? I don’t get it.

Metro on September 30, 2008 at 12:53 AM

My dear AllahPundit; my mother had her house exorcised of demons three times during the 1980′s. The priest would do the laying on of hands thing while commanding the demons to leave her body in Jesus’ name, then he’d lead a small procession of god believers from room to room while singing hymns. She believed in witches, demons, and spoke “in tongues”. She believed that stomach aches were caused my stomach demons, and that people were trying to control her mind. She had the walls of her bedroom, dining room, and kitchen, and assorted furniture flecked with bits of paper with a Bible passage written on each one. These days, she no longer “speaks in tongues”, nor are there any more exorcisms, and the bits of paper a far fewer but she’s still insanely religious. She has become somewhat of a paranoid schizophrenic. She’s accused neighbors of stealing bits and pieces, odds and ends, and has accused me of doing the same. She’s turn every neighbor into a perceived enemy. But I have resigned to just accepted it. Superstitious pap is inherent to Christianity, as it is to all religions, so we should not be surprised if practitioners from time to time engage in quite daft behavior that you’d figure should have been consigned to the distant past. My point is, they’re all mad to some degree, but they haven’t killed us yet. So cheer up!

FierceGuppy on September 30, 2008 at 1:31 AM

Blacks love Pentecostal churches because they have a full band rocking to the spirit on any given Sunday.

Right. Cause full bands have been so popular with Blacks since the Kool and the Gang.

The Race Card on September 30, 2008 at 2:10 AM

United Methodist denomination (which is in a huge struggle against if-it-feels-good-do-it liberals)

The struggle for all institutional religions is the futile one against intromission of unscriptural cultural mores. Like most other denominations, they lost that struggle in the 20′s and 30′s.

TMK on September 30, 2008 at 3:23 AM

OMG I’m Shocked!

Is that a pant suit she’s wearing?

Nothing to see here, move along.

Amadeus on September 30, 2008 at 5:01 AM

FierceGuppy on September 30, 2008 at 1:31 AM

Who are the first to compassionately respond to victims of natural disasters? Who give more sacrificially to the poor than any other group? Who are the most likely to give up successful careers in order to serve the underprivileged full-time? Who are the most likely to adopt one of the world’s 143 million orphans? (I could go on and on) Religious people…specifically, the Christians that you & leading atheists love to mock.

jgapinoy on September 30, 2008 at 6:40 AM

Why do people scream & jump around at meaningless sports events, then call us weird when we get excited about eternal life with God?

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 PM

well said.

defendfaithandfamily on September 30, 2008 at 6:52 AM

FierceGuppy on September 30, 2008 at 1:31 AM

The abuse of biblical doctrine is unfortunately alive and well. I am sorry about your mom – but there are a few scam artists who PREY on the weak in guise of pastors and conduct “religious” ceremonies to fill the coffers. The foundation of a true Christian life is in the Bible – check it out if you have a minute. Then you will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

defendfaithandfamily on September 30, 2008 at 6:57 AM

The struggle for all institutional religions is the futile one against intromission of unscriptural cultural mores. Like most other denominations, they lost that struggle in the 20’s and 30’s.

TMK on September 30, 2008 at 3:23 AM

The struggle against the “intrusion of unscriptural cultural mores” in the Christian church has been going on since Judas thought he knew better than Christ.

As such, the struggle is neither new nor futile.

And for most denominations, it has not been lost (although I believe both the UCC and Episcopal church have lost this fight and are well nigh indistinguishable from Unitarians.)

Religious_Zealot on September 30, 2008 at 7:18 AM

Forget all this wacky Christian stuff. Let’s try to levitate that Mint again!

Coronagold on September 30, 2008 at 7:21 AM

FierceGuppy on September 30, 2008 at 1:31 AM

Well, I certainly can’t blame you for being a bit ‘cynical’ toward religion in general and Christianity in specific.

However, your mother does not represent anything close to orthodox Christian beliefs and behavior.

You described her as “insanely religious”, and while I am no doctor, from your description the stress should be on the ‘insanely’ and not the ‘religious.’

Religious_Zealot on September 30, 2008 at 7:22 AM

FierceGuppy on September 30, 2008 at 1:31 AM

Your mother has serious emotional issues.
Your mother is religious.

Therefore all religious people have emotional issues.

Nice logic there. /sarc

MarkTheGreat on September 30, 2008 at 7:33 AM

See, I know a lot of pagans and witches. Most are dilettantes, like a lot of christians, are just peaceful lefties saying “Blessed be!” and being vegan (except when they HAVE to have that bratwurst). But there really is a dark side to this with serious people that wish Christians ill and work towards it. Nothing wrong with praying for protection from them.

billhedrick on September 30, 2008 at 8:37 AM

My youngest sister has demon issues, too. Whenever her house gets to be a mess, she claims to be oppressed by the Demon of Sloth. Now, I didn’t know that devils had certain jobs, at which they work so very hard, slothfulness being but one of many occupations. The pastor went over to her house and tried to persuade her from Scriptures for several hours, to no avail, that this was erroneous belief, but my sister would have none of it, and so he left her, saying, You cannot be saved, because you won’t allow God to save you. I thought that was quite a powerful statement. More powerful than an exorcism, even.
Now Davidk….you’re a wesleyan. Good on ya. You want to go and read about the Welsh Revival of 1904 and Evan Roberts. That will inspire you somewhat.

Jewel on September 30, 2008 at 9:05 AM

I see nothing wrong at all with a prayer against witchcraft – it’s something that many people apparently believe in. I personally think that 99.9% of all people who claim they dabble in witchcraft or Wicca are harmless (because it’s nonsense), and the rest probably have mental issues. But if I grew up in an environment where witchcraft was presented as a legitimate threat, damn skippy I’d have a defined fear of it.

However, in response to a previous comment, the Harry Potter books have nothing to do with reality – it’s a fantasy series, and just because a person reads them, it does not mean they believe in or practice witchcraft. And while there is much in this world that is unseen and unknown, not all of it is a sign of evil.

Anna on September 30, 2008 at 9:18 AM

It might be common, but Palin still probably wishes this hadn’t gotten out.

chiefeditor on September 30, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Ignorant drivel is still ignorant drivel.

And because it is common, such drivel will gain no real traction.

And the more the left tries, the more it reveals itself to be not only ignorant of Christian beliefs, but also intolerant.

As I said earlier, I really DO hope the left tries to push this. It will only backfire on them.

So, no, I don’t think Gov. Palin regrets this getting out.

In fact, she probably would love to engage in debate over it.

Religious_Zealot on September 30, 2008 at 9:43 AM

A brief history of the rise to power of A. Hitler in Germany reveals that Hitler took Occult practices very seriously.The basic concept of the Aryan race simply meant the descendants of a race of psychics [read Witches] who had the spiritual talents to rule the world. In other words, let the most powerfull witch win. The eugenics idea from Darwins theory claimed that these psychic powers {read witchcraft]were inherited in the Blood of the Aryans but had been weakened by interbreeding. This problem was to be solved by the controlled breeding of the best remaining Aryan stock, who would then kill off everyone else. The term Nazi means the plan to rule the world by witchcraft. So I guess protection from witchcraft may be relevant today.

jimw on September 30, 2008 at 9:52 AM

You cannot be saved, because you won’t allow God to save you. I thought that was quite a powerful statement. More powerful than an exorcism, even.

Jewel on September 30, 2008 at 9:05 AM

It goes back to the old joke ending with “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more do you want?”

darury on September 30, 2008 at 9:55 AM

jimw on September 30, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Is it time to invoke Godwin’s Law?

Religious_Zealot on September 30, 2008 at 10:07 AM

baldilocks on September 30, 2008 at 12:25 AM

Okay, thanks a lot. Now I have a full fledged crush on AP. :*)
I’ll have to add that to my list for confession, since I’m a wacko that believes in evil! *gasp*

pannw on September 30, 2008 at 10:24 AM

I went to Pentecostal churches for most of the 28 yrs I’ve been a Christian, though I’m in a non-denom church now. I miss the excitement in the worship.
Why do people scream & jump around at meaningless sports events, then call us weird when we get excited about eternal life with God?

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 PM

Precisely. I have often thought sports fans like that were out of their minds about something that has no real value in the scheme of things.
If you look at it, many people treat sports like a religion.
I care more about my eternal soul than if the Twins or Vikings win a game.

Badger40 on September 30, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Like my friend in Seattle (King County) when I pointed out all the wacky people that would vote for Barack – i.e. Hugo Chavez, US Communist party, Amadenijihad, etc. His retort was that works both ways, and included “fundamentalist Christians”.

Yeah, we’re a lot like those left wing cretins.

I’ve seen results of the supernatural, but since you can’t physically “see” it in 3-D, it’s hard to believe. But Hollyweird sure tries to bring it to 3-D.

kirkill on September 30, 2008 at 11:44 AM

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels (demons) were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren (that is, Satan’s ongoing campaign against every believer) is cast down, which accused them (believers) before our God day and night. And they (believers) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb (shed blood of the Lord Jesus), and by the word of their testimony (the Gospel); and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:9-11

That is who Satan is and what he does.

I hope that this helps you.

apacalyps on September 30, 2008 at 2:40 PM

As such, the struggle is neither new nor futile.

It is new, as Judas was not injecting cultural doctrines into an institutional organization, he was just greedy. Self-denominated religious institutions are not native to Christianity, but are the very embodiment of the intrusion of unscriptural cultural mores. You will never find in the New Testament anything that remotely resembles a typical western church, and most denominations wear that fact like a badge.

Like an unrepentant alchoholic lecturing her child about the dangers of drink, a culturally-influenced establishment attempting to restrict further cultural erosions is indeed futile, especially when those organizations ceded to labor unions, socialists, and suffragists decades ago.

TMK on September 30, 2008 at 8:36 PM

Comment pages: 1 2