In case you didn’t notice, there is a concerted war on serious biblical faith in our post-Christian society.
And that’s why any day now, you can expect Sarah Palin to be asked a question designed to knock her right out of the race for the vice presidency.
It won’t be a question about the "Bush Doctrine." It won’t be a question about her teenage daughter. It won’t be a question about Alaska state troopers. It won’t even be a question about abortion.
None of those questions threatens to deliver a killer blow to her bid to be the first female vice president of the United States.
But even as you read this column, some devious, partisan hack of a reporter or producer is preparing to ask her a series of questions that could deliver that blow — if she’s not prepared properly for it.
Here’s the way it will go:
Reporter: You are a born-again Christian who is serious about your faith. Am I right?
Palin: That’s right. It’s the guiding influence in my life.
Reporter: As such, you believe that only those who repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior go to heaven. Is that right?
Palin: That’s what the Bible teaches. Yes.
(Then comes the punch meant to be a devastating body blow.)
Reporter: Therefore, you believe that Jews and Muslims, Hindus and Baha’is, Buddhists and pagans all go to hell. Is that right?
How Sarah Palin handles that question will dictate how she fares not only as a vice presidential candidate this year but also in her future aspirations for the White House.
Here’s the quandary in which she will find herself: If she does not answer the question carefully and accurately, she risks alienating her strong base of evangelical Christians and also risks alienating secular voters who are attracted to her but have not thought deeply about theological issues of this kind.
The reporter asking this question will hope Sarah Palin responds in one of three ways:
–Palin: Yes, unfortunately, all those people currently are destined for hell. Unless we can reach them with the Gospel and the saving grace offered by Jesus, they are doomed to eternal torment in the lake of fire.
–Palin: No, there are actually other ways to heaven. I think if we’re just good people in this world of ours, God will reward us.
–Palin: I just don’t know the answer to that question, and I’m not sure of its relevance to this campaign.
All three of those answers are losers that will seriously undermine her campaign this year and, to some extent, her political future.
That’s why it’s time for Sarah Palin to begin thinking about that answer before the question ever is asked.
It’s a tough question for a politician. Do you plead theological ignorance? Do you tell millions of prospective voters they are doomed to hell? Do you betray your own biblical faith and distort what you know to be true?
The answer is that you do none of those things.
Here’s the way Sarah Palin needs to answer that question if she hopes to become the first female vice president and possibly the first female president of the United States:
Palin: I know exactly why you are asking that question in this forum. You want to play the "gotcha" game. You want a headline from this interview. You want something sensational. You want me to say something controversial and provocative and maybe even offensive to millions of Americans of other faiths. But I’m not going to play that game with you. I already have told you what I believe about salvation and redemption. It’s the same belief hundreds of millions of other Christians around the world share. I am firmly committed to my faith, just as others are committed to their faiths. I respect the faiths of others, just as I hope they respect my beliefs. This is a serious issue that cannot be addressed adequately in bumper-sticker slogans or sound bites. Therefore, I’m not going to fall for that bait. I love to talk about my faith. That’s something I’m qualified to
do. I welcome the chance to talk about the issues facing this country today. That’s something I’m qualified and prepared to do. But I’m not going to talk about the faiths of others. Nice try. Next question.
Sarah, the question is coming. They’re gunning for you. They’re lining up to take you down. Better start preparing now for the inevitable.