Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

Sarah Palin’s War on Atheists

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By Michael Kaufman

It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet and already Sarah Palin is kvetching about the so-called war on Christmas. And she’s not just kvetching. She’s written a whole megillah about it! Her latest book published by HarperCollins and released just in time for the start of the holiday season, is titled Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. As described by Katy Steinmetz of Time magazine, “Many chapters center on made-up tales that illustrate Palin’s concerns, what she calls ‘stories based on reality.’ She bolsters these with related real-world examples.”

Steinmetz summarizes an “imaginative ghost-of-Christmas-future scenario,” in which Grandma Sarah visits grandson Tripp at college in 2028. There she learns that “the school has kicked out all the Christian groups, administrators liken the end of Christmas celebrations to the end of slavery and someone mistakes her for Tina Fey. Also, Mitt Romney finally gets elected on his sixth presidential run.” (Palin may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier but she does occasionally come up with a good line or two.)

Like fellow buffoon Bill O’Reilly, Palin hates the notion of making the holiday season a bit more inclusive. “A central trope in the book,” says Steinmetz, “is Palin’s disgust and frustration at people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’” She lauds stores such as Hobby Lobby that use Christian religious imagery in advertisements (and by the way also does not stock any Chanukah items even in areas with a substantial Jewish population) and lambastes businesses like Target and Wal-Mart that have opted for a more universal approach.

In many ways, notes Steinmetz, “Christmas is just the occasion for Palin’s book.” Palin complains that Christians are being “reviled and marginalized in American society.” She thinks Christian faith should be more central to culture, politics, schools and public squares. Some chapters, says Steinmetz, “lean heavy on the evangelism,” as Palin recounts Biblical stories and pushes for more “Christ in Christmas.” (Now there’s an idea for a bumper sticker.)

“God,” writes Palin, “is the only cure for what ails us.” This brings to mind one of my favorite cartoons, by Jennifer Berman, titled “God Having an Identity Crisis.” Against a backdrop of the heavens the booming voice of God declares, “Yes, but who created ME?” Besides, Sarah Palin doesn’t know what she’s talking about: I know for a fact and have raised my children to believe that a dip in the ocean will cure whatever ails you.

Palin bemoans the recent increase in the number of people in the United States who openly identify as nonbelievers. She depicts atheists as aggressive and power-hungry, and claims that the logical result of atheism is severe moral decay. And so she proclaims, “We must resist their efforts to push God out of the culture, to characterize us as silly and superstitious.” I don’t quite know how to respond to that. But as an agnostic Jew I try to be respectful of the beliefs (and non-beliefs) of others. I don’t try to push mine on other people and I resent those like Palin, O’Reilly, and others of their ilk who do. And to that list we can now add George W. Bush, former president and war criminal (in the eyes of many) who at this writing is still scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for an evangelical Christian group devoted to getting Jews to “see the light” and convert to their beliefs. To all of them I say “Happy Holidays and Gai mit dein kop in drerd.”

Michael can be reached at michael@zestoforange.com