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Sarah Palin Exceptionalism, Theocracy and Hurricanes

“under a due form of government both civil and ecclesiastical.”

God “hath taken us to be his after a most strict and peculiar manner, which will make him the more jealous of our love and obedience. So he tells the people of Israel, you only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you for your transgressions.”

I’ve written over the last couple of days about Sarah Palin’s references to a fundamental source of her political philosophy of American exceptionalism: Puritan settler John Winthrop’s sermon entitled A Model of Christian Charity. “That world view that says that America is a nation of exceptionalism. And we are to be that shining city on a hill,” Palin has said, referring to John Winthrop’s sermon as a guide to proper leadership on several occasions over the last few days.

I’ve written about how Winthrop’s sermon is a call to genocide and a justification of never-ending poverty and economic inequality as a glorious gift from God.

I have not, however, yet focused the most obvious problem in Sarah Palin’s political affiliation with the John Winthrop school of political philosophy: The problem of theocracy.

Theocracy is a form of government that predates democracy and is incompatible with it. In theocracy, religious elites, not freely elected officials, control the government. That’s just what John Winthrop called for in his speech. John Winthrop was not just any Puritan preacher, after all. He was the both the religious and secular leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Winthrop called for the creation in America of a theocratic government: “a due form of government both civil and ecclesiastical.” In this theocracy, the religious government would have the right to enforce religious laws even in private household matters. “The public must oversway all private respects,” Winthrop wrote. In speaking of Winthrop’s sermon, and its American exceptionalist idea that the legitimacy of government is established by God, Sarah Palin is suggesting that she support’s Winthrop’s theocratic agenda for America.

Does that connection seem unfair? Does it seem like too much of a stretch to accuse Sarah Palin of palling around with a politician who has been dead for hundreds of years?

Let’s remember a couple of things: First, it’s Sarah Palin who has drawn attention to this connection between her own political career and the political philosophy of John Winthrop, and she’s done so over and over again. Secondly, although John Winthrop himself has been dead for hundreds of years, Winthrop’s ideas have been kept very much alive by authoritarian American Christian groups.

One of those groups, the Assembly of God, formed the center of Sarah Palin’s religious upbringing. The Wasilla Assembly of God continues to be Sarah Palin’s home church, to which she returns several times a year, although she no longer lives in Wasilla. The Wasilla Assembly of God shares much of the religious and political vision of John Winthrop, including theocracy. In fact, when Sarah Palin’s campaign for Governor of Alaska was announced at the Wasilla Assembly of God church, the introductory sermon of the day promised church members that if they voted for Sarah Palin, they would get a servant in government who would use the government’s power to impose the church’s religious beliefs. Sarah Palin was watching that sermon, and then took to the stage to confirm through a special prayer ceremony that it should all come to pass. It’s all on video.

It isn’t just Sarah Palin’s church that supports John Winthrop’s vision of theocracy for America. Think of John McCain’s pal, John Hagee. Think of Jerry Falwell, whom John McCain literally embraced before he died. Think of Pat Robertson.

These preachers have not only supported John Winthrop’s agenda of theocracy for America, they also have shared Winthrop’s idea that if American government is does not strictly follow even the most harsh religious laws to the letter in a kind of Christian sharia, God himself will damn America and punish our nation through all weapons at his heavenly disposal.

“If we shall neglect the observation of these articles,” Winthrop preached, “the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, be revenged of such a perjured people and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.”

Sarah Palin says that she considers America a “city on a hill”, as John Winthrop did. Do you know what the context of that phrase was in John Winthrop’s sermon? Most people don’t know that it’s a warning: God damn America. Here’s the context from Winthrop’s sermon:

“We must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us ‘til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are agoing.”

God damn America – that’s what John Winthrop warned about, and Sarah Palin seems to embrace that warning. So, how can Sarah Palin blast Jeremiah Wright for the same thing?

The sad answer is that, as far as Sarah Palin is concerned, it’s only a bad thing to call for the damnation of America when a Democrat does it.

7 thoughts on “Sarah Palin Exceptionalism, Theocracy and Hurricanes”

  1. Janet Hurley says:

    “… it’s only a bad thing to call for the damnation of America when a Democrat does it.” Or an African American perhaps?

  2. Lynn says:

    This is not surprising. There has obviously been something demonic about this woman from the start. She has too many secrets and is too ready to be everything negative in this campaign. She was a hindrance to the Republican ticket from the start, and I can happily say, it will only get worse and worse.

  3. DARK ENERGY says:


    Let’s not adopt the terminology used by religious zealots such as the people Sarah Palin has surrounded herself with for most of her life. The problem with Sarah Palin is that she is an ambitious religious crackpot… and not very bright.


  4. HareTrinity says:

    Thought I’d drop off this link:

    I found it interesting, and it’s relevant as it looks at Christianity compared to witchcraft in terms of child abuse. Here’s a quote:

    “She attempted to drive the demons from her body by beating her daughter’s naked body with a spoon-like wooden stick. [The daughter] died from loss of blood.”

    That one was in Canada. A reminder that any religious group with emphasis on violence as a solution can be a problem.

  5. Deborah says:

    Well folks, Noah warned the people of his day for about 120 years that there would be a flood. He warned the people to turn from their sins, and their idols. Hummm, 120 years of warning (God was patient in my opinion). However, as crazy as the people thought old man Noah was, the flood came… and if you don’t know the story, maybe you should all read it! God warned the people of Sodom & Gomorrah too, as many nations that have fallen throughout history. Wow, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever?
    I’d be inclined to think, WAKE UP AMERICA…
    REPENT of the rebellion, sins, idol worship, blaspheming, and false religion. Jesus is Truth, and the truth is Jesus Christ will return! And, if you read the past prophecies that have taken place, there are so many… I’d bet the chances are vary good, the future once are coming to pass, even as I write! God is not a liar, that he should repent! God loves us, but sin separates us, Jesus blood on the cross redeems us… only those who really love him and trust him will ever be made right with God. Religion is man’s way of working his way to Heaven, Jesus said we’ve all failed at some point…
    God reached down to mere man, and brought us back to himself through coming down here in the flesh. A true Christian should love the sinner, as Christ does, but still hate sin, and with a right heart do the right things, that please God… otherwise, how can one say they love God?

  6. DARK ENERGY says:


    Regarding the story of the Great Flood, I have one question…

    What kind of a god drowns babies for the sins of their parents?


  7. Elle says:

    judeo/christian/muslim god = one sick supernatural psychopath.

    And he attracts the kind of followers to prove it too.

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