Waterboarding = baptism? $arah Palin’s 15 minutes are up

Yes, that’s the name “Sarah” with a dollar sign for the “S.” Because apparently money is the only thing $arah Palin believes in anymore.

$arah Palin recently gave a speech for the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association for which she no doubt was paid a hefty fee (her net worth is estimated at $12 million). She didn’t disappoint the red-meat crowd when she threw them this tasty morsel: Terrorists “obviously have information on plots to carry out jihad. Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

You know, in my church, baptism is a sacrament, just like it’s a sacrament in just about every other Christian church (Christian Scientists, Quakers, and Unitarians don’t baptize). Whether it’s baptism by immersion at a conscious age of consent or baptism by water on the head of an infant, it’s an act that represents the individual’s becoming a part of the church.”Meet your new brother (or sister) in Christ,” is what our ministers say after an infant, a toddler, a teen, or even an adult baptism takes place.

For $arah Palin, who claims to be a born-again Christian and who claims the high moral ground on cultural issues – well, she was all wet on this one.

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture called on $arah and the NRA to repudiate the statement. Of course, since the GOP doesn’t apologize for anything, we’ll all grow old waiting for that to happen. As the group’s letter to the NRA, signed by 17 faith leaders from different religions and denominations, said: “For Christians, baptism is a profoundly holy act. It is in stark contrast to the abhorrent act of waterboarding. Equating baptism to an act of torture like waterboarding is sacrilegious – and particularly surprising coming from a person who prides herself on her Christian faith.”

In a separate letter to $arah Palin herself, the group said: “Your statements play into a false narrative conveying that somehow, the conflict between the United States and the terrorist cells is a conflict between Christianity and Islam, or Islam and ‘the West.’ ”

Faithful America, a group with the wonderful tagline “Love thy neighbor. No exceptions,” started an online petition to object to $arah Palin’s statement drawing a parallel between waterboarding and baptism. “This is what we’ve come to in America: A former candidate for vice president can equate torture and Holy Baptism, and one of the nation’s most powerful political lobbies erupts into cheers and applause.” Started only a few days ago, the petition has nearly 60,000 signatures so far.

In a published blog on the Huffington Post titled “Sarah Palin’s Heresy,” Rabbi Menachem Creditor also objected to her words about torture: “Most faith traditions incorporate water’s restorative power. The Muslim ritual ablution of Wudu, the Jewish Mikveh ritual bath, the Hindu ritual immersions in the River Ganges, and the Christian practice of baptism, each point to renewal, transformation, and life. How dare the NRA tolerate – worse, amplify – hatred garbed in religious symbolism.”

The blog Patheos had an interesting take on why $arah Palin was correct in her take on waterboarding and baptism, quoting the Rev. Daniel Brereton:

“We baptized ‘combatants’ with waterboarding. … We raised to life new creations of our own making, creating enemies in our own image. We baptized the innocent in the indiscriminate and remote violence of drone warfare. … We baptized prisoners at Abu Ghraib with brutality, humiliation, and torture. And we were surprised when we raised to life new hatred, horror, and disgust. … We are still baptizing the world with American violence.”

Gone are the days when $arah Palin was treated as a kingmaker or queenmaker. Her endorsements don’t carry the weight they used to, and these days she waits until she sees a clear front-runner before endorsing. That way, she can claim her endorsement helped. But most political observers know better. She’s selling fewer books, and fewer people are contributing to SarahPAC. And whatever she was paid by the NRA, she doesn’t command the top speech fees she used to get.

The half-term governor of Alaska was Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008 on the GOP ticket. “If I were in charge,” she told the NRA, to the cheers of the nearly all-white and mostly Republican audience. Thank the Lord that she isn’t.

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