John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate has invigorated a lackluster campaign. The media can’t stop talking about her. Given McCain’s age and state of health (his medical file was nearly 1,200 pages long), Palin would indeed be a heartbeat away from becoming President. But what would a Palin administration really look like?
Palin is a radical right-wing fundamentalist Christian who would love to create a theocracy. She believes we are living in the “end times” which will result in a bloody inferno from which only true Christians will be saved. Palin recently attended a service in her Wasilla Bible Church run by David Brickner, who runs Jews for Jesus, a group the Anti-Defamation League criticizes for its “aggressive and deceptive” proselytizing of Jews. Those who don’t accept Jesus as their savior will burn in Hell, according to Palin’s brand of theology.
As Governor of Alaska, Palin asked her congregation to pray for the natural gas pipeline, which she characterized as “God’s will.” She thinks the war in Iraq is a “task that is from God.” Palin has pushed for creationism to be taught in schools, and she opposes stem cell research.
Palin’s choice to have a Down syndrome child and her teenage daughter’s choice to continue her pregnancy have made evangelical Christians ecstatic. But while she chose pregnancy, Palin would deny a woman victimized by rape or incest the right to choose abortion, and then criminally punish both the woman for having one and her doctor for performing it.
McCain would also love to inject a heavy dose of Christianity into his administration. A year ago, he declared, “The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.” Just about the only issue on which McCain has not flip-flopped is his opposition to abortion rights. The next president will almost certainly make at least one appointment to the Supreme Court. McCain has pledged to appoint judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito; these would also be Palin’s preferred judges. Another conservative on the Court would mean that Roe v. Wade will be overruled. That will return us to back alley abortions with coat hangers.
Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, said that “this election is not about issues . . . This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.” The Republicans know they will lose if they really focus on issues such as the economy, the war, healthcare, education, and the environment. They are hoping that pro-choice women who supported Hillary Clinton will gravitate to Palin because she’s a feisty – albeit anti-choice – woman. They are also banking on support from people who cannot bring themselves to vote for a black man.
But those non-evangelicals who back the McCain-Palin ticket do so at their peril. Not only will they continue to suffer four more years of the disastrous Bush policies; they will also find themselves living in a Christian theocracy.
MARJORIE COHN is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She is author of Cowboy Republic. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.(The views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer; she is not acting on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild or Thomas Jefferson School of Law)