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Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Posted: September 12, 2008 03:43 PM

On God, Palin Was Right, Gibson Was Wrong


The Republicans are guilty of one case after another of egregiously ripping Obama words out of context. This time it's Palin's words that have been taken out of context.

Here's what Gibson asked:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Actually, Palin asked members of the church to pray "that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

In the quote as edited by Gibson, the meaning is that she thinks the war is part of God's plan. In her actual quote, she's saying it might or might not be part of God's plan and we sure better hope, and pray, that it is.

I understand the impulse to hear in that Palin comment the sentiment that the war is God's plan. After all, she has in fact used that line of logic in other cases - like when she said it was "God's will" that the state build a natural gas pipeline. (I wish Charlie Gibson had asked her about that!). Maybe this is a case of framing the guilty. And perhaps in this case Palin accidentally phrased it in a Lincolnesque way and some shrewd aide notice the parallels and suggested the Lincoln comparison.

But all we have is her words, which, in this case, were quite responsible.

Now, if you want to know what is actually worrisome about Palin and religion, click here.