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A PRAYER FOR PALIN….Ross Douthat enthusiastically recommends John Podhoretz’s review of an article in the NYT today about Sarah Palin’s religious beliefs:

Today, the New York Times published an article that, should it receive wide circulation (and it might, on the web), will do a great deal to harden evangelical attitudes against the supposed leftward swing [of younger evangelicals] — because it is an act of secular aggression against a believing Christian.

Headlined “In Palin’s Life and Politics, Goal to Follow God’s Will,” the article has about it the wide-eyed wonder that anyone might actually be crazy enough to believe in a Creator Who still plays a role in human affairs.

OK, I read it. I detected no wide-eyed wonder at all. In fact, it struck me as an almost painfully straightforward look at Palin’s church and her religious beliefs. There were no value judgments, no subtle word choices to suggest a point of view, and the authors even took pains to point out that Palin had changed churches a few years ago in order to attend one that was lower key and more discreet than her previous church. You might object to the article if you think that merely describing Palin’s beliefs will automatically damage her — an odd belief for a social conservative to hold — or if you believe that religion has no place in politics — which would be even odder — but it’s hard to see what other grounds there might be for grumbling about it. After all, religion plays a major role in American political culture; the Christian right is a powerful segment of the Republican Party base; other presidential candidates (Obama, Huckabee, Romney) have been put under the same microscope; faith is plainly a significant part of Palin’s life; and her particular brand of Christianity is equally plainly a huge factor in her popularity within the GOP. It would be journalistic malpractice not to write a profile of Palin’s religious views.

So what’s going on here? Answer: it’s yet another attempt to rally the troops by making up a fictitious (but plausible sounding!) narrative about coastal elites looking down their noses at them. This is something I expect we’re going see a lot more of over the next couple of months.

UPDATE: Ross reconsiders. That’s what makes him worth reading.

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