I can see no good reason why Sarah Palin’s religious upbringing should clash with her performance as vice president. Many previous candidates have been elected and served without their personal beliefs becoming an issue. The question, then and now, was whether or not the office-holders would permit their personal issues to affect their adherence to the oath of office.
The presidency is different from any other job in the Federal government, in that there are few real checks and balances regarding matters such as these. A religious bigot in the congress is no big deal — we have, and have had, many. There, however, there are opportunities for their effects to be moderated by the rest of the legislative body. With a president or vice president (who must be presumed, for the purposes of this discussion, to be president), that moderating influence does not exist.
These things were taken for granted for the first 180 years. Only in 1960, when the first Catholic ran for president, did the issue arise. JFK said, loudly and publicly, that he would not let his religious beliefs conflict with his presidency, the public believed it, and events showed that he in fact did not.
The matter came up again during the Reagan candidacy, raised that time by the religious right in support of a candidate whom they believed — correctly — would support their causes. Then they brought the full power of both their political and propaganda apparatus to the table with George (Little George) Bush, preferring to see trashed the very separation of church and state that they used to their advantage so effectively during the campaign, in favor of a future theocracy. They brought, as well, a totally reprehensible refusal to repudiate the dirty tricks of the NeoCons who were using them for their own purposes. Very Christian, if you believe in justified Christianity, but not to most of us.
Now the question is, will the tricks work again and, if they do, what can we expect from the results? (Look for an “October Surprise,” courtesy of the Republicans, with support from the now-quiescent Shrub.) Frankly, I really don’t know enough about Sarah Palin’s character to trust her, especially given her penchant for never giving a straight answer to a question — even if you could trust the media to ask the right ones.
McCain might not be too bad, but the governor scares the crap out of me. It’s pretty clear that she’s no Jack Kennedy.