On September 20 and 21, I attended services at the church Sarah Palin belonged to since she was an adolescent, the Wasilla Assembly of God. Though Palin officially left the church in 2002, she is listed on its website as “a friend,” and spoke there as recently as June 8 of this year.
I went specifically to see a pastor visiting from Kiambu, Kenya named Thomas Muthee. Muthee gained fame within Pentecostal circles by claiming that he defeated a local witch, Mama Jane, in a great spiritual battle, thus liberating his town from sin and opening its people to the spirit of Jesus.
Muthee’s mounting stardom took him to Wasilla Assembly of God in May, 2005, where he prayed over Palin and called upon Jesus to propel her into the governor’s mansion — and beyond. Muthee also implored Jesus to protect Palin from “the spirit of witchcraft.” The video archive of that startling sermon was scrubbed from Wasilla Assembly of God’s website, but now it has reappeared.
The Youtube version is below (Palin appears after about 7:30):
It is well known now that Sarah Palin enacted legislation that forced rape victims to pay for their own rape kits. Given that the levels of rape are unusually high in Alaska, particularly in Native communities, Palin’s policy had disastrous effects. And she may have fired her police chief because he opposed her draconian stand on rape kits. But here is something new: John McCain voted against legislation sponsored by Joseph Biden that would have prevented states and municipalities from billing rape victims for rape kits. This is a potentially explosive story.
Phil Munger has just posted a poll at Progressive Alaska that asks this question: “Should Sarah Palin be asked about the Wasilla Police Department Policy of charging rape victims for their forensic exams, during the VP debate?” One respondent has proven that the “no” button works.
I have just attended a sermon by the internationally renowned witch-hunter Thomas Muthee at Wasillla Assembly of God, one of the churches Sarah Palin frequently attends. I had planned to divulge details of the evening, but after talking to progressive Alaska radio host and blogger Shannyn Moore, I have second thoughts. After appearing on Countdown to discuss Muthee’s battle with a supposed witch in Kiambu, Kenya, and his ties to Palin, the Wasilla Assembly of God allegedly told Moore not to appear at their Saturday services. They knew what she looked like, and would immediately oust her, they supposedly warned. I had a similar experience tonight. I’m planning to see Muthee again tomorrow and the following day, so until then, I’m going to hold off from reporting on his sermonizing. But stay posted.
Right now, I’m hanging with Phil Munger, the sage of Alaska’s burgeoning progressive community. Check out his blog here and see what a longtime Alaskan political insider has to say about his former mayor.
I’m at the shadiest hostel in Anchorage (the only one with wi-fi) preparing to head to Wasilla tomorrow. I had planned this trip weeks in advance around Bishop Thomas Muthee’s appearance at the Wasilla Assembly of God. Unfortunately, the Times of London ripped off the work of Bruce Wilson to “break” the story about Muthee’s ties to Sarah Palin. Then, the story migrated to Keith Olbermann:
Michelle Goldberg recently attended Wasilla Assembly of God and was singled out by Palin’s former pastor, Ed Kalnins, as a member of the secular media. Kalnins forced her to put her reporter’s notebook away; he did the same thing to David Talbot of Salon.com, imploring his flock not to speak to the reporter in their midst. I suspect the McCain campaign has warned Kalnins off. I am going to see Muthee tomorrow but am worried that all the publicity he has garnered will create an ugly media circus. Pray for me that I may not be unceremoniously ejected before getting it all on video.
Palin's pastor, Larry Kroon, warns God "is gonna strike out his hand against" America
On July 20, 2008, the pastor of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s home church, Larry Kroon, delivered a sermon called “Sin Is Personal To God.” Kroon, the senior pastor of the non-denominational Wasilla Bible Church in Wasilla, Alaska, used the book of Zephanaiah as his reference point for discussing “that great day of the Lord when God will finally bring closure to human history… a day of wrath.” According to Kroon, “all things and all people” are going to bear the brunt of God’s “intense anger.” “There’s anger with God,” he proclaimed. “He takes sin personal.”
Kroon placed Zephaniah in a modern context, warning that the sinful habits of Americans would invite the wrath of God. “And if Zephaniah were here today,” Kroon bellowed, “he’d be saying, ‘Listen, [God] is gonna deal with all the inhabitants of the earth. He is gonna strike out His hand against, yes, Wasilla; and Alaska; and the United States of America. There’s no exceptions here — there’s none. It’s all.’”
(Kroon’s sermon can be heard here; a full transcript is here.)
Yesterday, I appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss Sarah Palin’s ties to the Christian right and the role she could play in a McCain administration. You can watch or listen to me here.
While I was editing a segment for the show on Monday night in Democracy Now’s office in downtown St. Paul, Amy Goodman was released from prison after being brutally arrested hours before (watch here). Then, DN producer Sharif Abdel Koudous and cameraperson Nicole Salazar stumbled in. Koudous’ arm was badly bruised and bloodied, the handiwork of Minneapolis PD thugging their way through the streets of St. Paul. Salazar had been slammed to the ground and kicked mercilessly while running away and screaming, “Press!” Both were illegally hauled off to jail. Representative Keith Ellison appeared later at the DN office to watch video of the Minneapolis PD’s brutalization of Salazar and Goodman. Ellison, who said he was sick of seeing his constituents being beaten senseless, successfully pressured St. Paul’s mayor and police chief to release Goodman and her crew. Countless more have been arrested for daring to be in the vicinity of belligerent riot squads, and many other journalists were abused during the past two days.
The Republican National Committee’s 2008 convention draft platform pledges to continue waging the right’s war on sex education. The platform reads: “We support abstinence education and oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception.” These words seem ironic in light of revelations that the 17-year-old daughter of Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, Bristol, was impregnated by her boyfriend, a self-described “fuckin’ redneck” who will “kick ass” if anyone messes with him.
“Juno From Juneau,” a video report from the floor of the Republican National Convention
Republican abstinence-only policies have been disastrous for teens across the country. A 2007 study by the Government Accountability Office found no evidence that the Bush administration’s abstinence education programs, including those that have falsely claimed that AIDS can be transmitted through sweat and tears, have demonstrated any effectiveness. Could Bristol Palin have benefited from the sex education and contraceptives the GOP seeks to deny to public school students?
In my latest video, “Juno From Juneau,” I probe the GOP reaction to this question on the floor of the Republican National Convention. Republican luminaries including Rep. Roy Blount and John McCain’s 20-something daughter, Meghan, tried to elude my line of questioning (Blount complimented Barack Obama’s handling of the matter, however). But members of the Alaska delegation were forthright about their enthusiasm for faith-based abstinence-only programs and restricting abortion even in cases of rape and incest. One delegate, Grace Van Diest, told me she is so fervent about abstinence education that her three daughters are only allowed to go on dates with their father, who lectures them on chastity and makes them wear “purity rings” to remind them of their vows to not have sex until marriage.
If Palin moves into the Vice President’s mansion, she will serve as McCain’s liaison to the Christian right, and can be expected to promote the Bush administration’s radical social policies with renewed vigor — even though these policies, and the radical mentality behind them, may have harmed her own family.
Last week, while the media focused on the spectacle in Denver, the country’s most influential conservatives met at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis for a group introduction to Sarah Palin. They are members of the Council for National Policy, an ultra-secretive cabal that networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy. Members have included Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Grover Norquist, Tim LaHaye and Paul Weyrich. At a secret 2000 meeting of the CNP, George W. Bush promised to nominate only pro-life judges; in 2004, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the group, “The destiny of the nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement.”
Though Dobson and Perkins were reportedly at the recent CNP meeting in Minneapolis, a full roster of guests would be nearly impossible to require. The CNP deliberately operates below the radar, going to excessive lengths to obscure its activities. According to official CNP policy, “The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs before or after a meeting.” Thus the CNP’s Minneapolis gathering was free of reporters. I only learned of the get-together through an online commentary by one of its attendees, top Dobson/Focus on the Family flack Tom Minnery. (Watch it here)