Monday, May 3, 2010

Jews for Sarah Founder in the NY Sun

Benyamin Korn of Jews for Sarah has an opinion piece in the NY Sun.

"What Does Sarah Palin Read Her Daughter from the Bible?" -

When Governor Sarah Palin spoke to 16,000 Christian evangelical women in Louisville, Kentucky on April 16, guess which book she mentioned as the one she reads to her daughter at bedtime?

Try the biblical Book of Esther.

That’s right — Sarah Palin, mocked and pilloried by Jewish liberals as a danger to world Jewry because of her Christian beliefs, reads to her 8 year-old from a book that most Jews should probably spend a little more time with.

Governor Palin’s Kentucky speech, to a group known as the Women of Joy, is being claimed by her critics as proof that she is too Christian. But a careful look at the speech reveals, in fact, how close to Judaism and the Jewish people she is.

To judge by some accounts in the major news media, it sounds like she made a Bible-thumpin’, foot-stompin’ appeal to the unwashed fundamentalist masses.

The Washington Post’s online religion commentator, David Waters, wrote a post called “Palin’s Christian Nation,” which began, “In a speech last week, Sarah Palin promoted belief in God as a form of patriotism [and] dismissed notions that ‘America isn’t a Christian nation’...”

And on ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer declared: “Tonight, a question about religion and America, occasioned by comments by Sarah Palin that are getting a lot of attention. And here is the question: Should America be defined as a Christian nation?”

Ironically, the columnist “Angry Mouse" quoted Governor Palin more accurately than did the Post or ABC News.

She cited several examples of recent overreaching by those who want America to be more secular. She mentioned a Wisconsin judge’s assertion that National Prayer Day is unconstitutional, and she referred to President Obama’s statement that America is not a Christian nation.

Here’s the key sentence: “And then, you know, hearing any leader declare that America isn’t a Christian nation, and poking an ally like Israel in the eye, it’s mind-boggling to see some of our nation’s actions [in] recent days, but politics is truly a topic for another day.”

What? Poking Israel in the eye? What’s that doing in the middle of that remark? And how was it omitted from the Washington Post account?

The Israel remark is there because to Sarah Palin, the well being of Israel and the Jewish people is an integral part of her worldview. Israel is not just another cold run-of-the-mill foreign policy matter, like trade with Mexico or aid to Sri Lanka. What happens to Israel matters to her as a Christian. Threats to America’s moral fiber and threats to Israel’s national security are all part of the same challenge that she wants Americans to address.

Governor Palin takes her Bible seriously. Not in the sense of someone who wants to impose her beliefs on anyone else, but simply as someone who believes that both the Hebrew Bible an the New Testament provide moral guideposts for our lives. She reads the Book of Esther to Piper because she wants her daughters to emulate Jewish history’s most famous heroine.

In her speech to the Women of Joy, Palin included a few quotes from the New Testament. But Jewish scripture figured much more prominently. She quoted twice from Psalms, as well from Proverbs and Malachi. She spoke to Piper about how Esther, an orphan, overcame steep odds and difficulties in order to save the Jewish people. And she took issue with President Obama’s policy of “poking our ally Israel in the eye.”

Fear-mongers with political agendas want to drive a wedge between Governor Palin and American Jewry. Sometimes they do it with quotations that leave out key sentences. Sometimes they do it with distorted depictions of her religious beliefs.

Jews have nothing to fear from Sarah’s Palin religion. But we have plenty to fear from those political leaders who not only have no interest in Esther or Proverbs, or Sarah, but who think that poking Israel in the eye makes for good foreign policy.

Mr. Korn, formerly executive editor of the Jewish Exponent at Philadelphia, is director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, and editor of

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