Evangelical faith drives Palin’s pro-Israel view
|Tuesday, August 5,2008 05:20|
|By Ralph Z. Hallow|
ST. PAUL, Minn. | Sarah Palin displays an Israeli flag in her governor’s office in Juneau, even though she has never been to the country, and attends Protestant evangelical churches that consider the preservation of the state of Israel a biblical imperative.
Her faith makes her a favorite with the staunchly pro-Israel neoconservative elements in the Republican Party.
But other Republicans may be concerned that a John McCain-Sarah Palin administration will disregard the caution of former President George H.W. Bush and some of his top advisers and continue the tilt toward Israel.
Most Republicans and conservatives outside Alaska know little about Mrs. Palin’s foreign policy views - on Israel or anything else.
But Tucker Eskew, who holds the title of counselor to Mrs. Palin in the McCain-Palin campaign, left no doubt where she stands.
"She would describe herself as a strong supporter of Israel’s, with an understanding of Israel’s fear of an Iran in possession of nuclear weapons," Mr. Eskew told The Washington Times.
In June, Mrs. Palin told ministry students at her former church that in going to war with Iraq, the United States is "on a task that is from God," the Associated Press reported.
Mrs. Palin’s brand of evangelical Protestantism is especially well-disposed to the preservation of Israel for biblical reasons, said Merrill Matthews, an evangelical Christian and a Dallas-based health-policy specialist.
Mrs. Palin was baptized as a teenager at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church. She frequently attends the Juneau Christian Center, which is also part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God. Her home church is the Church of the Rock, an independent congregation.
"Historically, the Assemblies of God have been dispensationalists, which means they believe in ’the rapture’ of Christians that takes them out of the world," said Mr. Matthews. "Central to that position is a very strong support for Israel. It’s integral to their view of both prophecy and politics. Denying Israel is almost like denying the faith."