There's been a lot made of the fact that Sarah Palin has said before that people should pray that God's will be done. Ripples of horror vibrate through the secularists of the Left. Why, if a person asks people graduating from a religious school should go into work and "make sure God's will be done here," it must mean she's encouraging students to fly airplanes into buildings, right?
I'd been waiting for Get Religion to offer its critique of the media hysteria over Palin's religious views and they haven't disappointed me. For instance, commenting on this paragraph from a New York Times article:
She also told the group that her eldest child, Track, would soon be deployed by the Army to Iraq, and that they should pray “that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”
There’s something very interesting about this paragraph. If you are a secularist, I think you read this and say, “Oh no, the theocracy is surely at hand.” And if you are an evangelical or Pentecostal Christian you say, “I, too, pray that God’s will be done in earthly affairs.” This article serves the purpose of freaking out secularists about Palin’s religious views while not fazing evangelicals at all. In that regard, I think it completely failed to explain Palin’s views in the context of mainstream (as opposed to mainline) Protestantism. It also didn’t really explain how a quote such as the one above has very little to do with personal views about the war. Think of it this way, while there are certainly many Christians who think war is always wrong, other Christians view war as an evil, but a sometimes necessary one. The Lord’s Prayer asks that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There are Christians who would personalize that request to everything from personal conflict to global conflict. This is certainly not anything close to how I talk about God’s will or how we pray about war in my Lutheran church, but I do recognize this as within a normal range of American religious behavior.
But to secularists, asking that people pray that we should do God's will is tantamount to wanting Armageddon. There's really nothing more illustrative of the hysterical Left than watching them dissolve into screaming fits because someone says we should pray that we do God's will. It all boils down to the fact that they don't get religion.
All you have to do is read Sam Harris's books or Christopher Hitchens and you get the secularist worldview: religion has been detrimental to human society and banning it would be best for human kind. They forget the millions of people killed in the Soviet Union and in China not for religious purposes but for secular ones. And they discount the amount of good religion has always done in the world, from peace efforts, to aid for poverty, to the abolitionists, to the suffragettes. Religion has always been a powerful force for good in the world. Unfortunately, what secularists see is a warped world through a distorted lens where praying that people would examine their deeds and ask themselves if it is what God would want them to do must be evil.
Reporters need to do a better job in covering Sarah Palin's religion as something different from "Othering" it. But the MSM seems dedicated to dwelling on Biblical inerrancy and whether a person thinks God plays a personal role in her life. Most Christians believe the latter, if not the former, and they also think prayer can be powerful. Why must the MSM demonize that?