From the time she was a teenager until 2002, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin attended a church affiliated with the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal Christian denomination in the U.S.
Pentecostalism emphasizes such practices as speaking in tongues, prophesying, divine healing and other miraculous signs of the Holy Spirit, which it believes are as valid today as they were in the early Christian church. Prominent Democrats, including CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee Leah Daughtry and Director of Religious Affairs for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign Joshua Dubois, also are associated with Pentecostal Christianity.
The Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in the summer of 2007, makes it possible to examine the demographic, religious and political characteristics of Pentecostals in the U.S.
Reasoned commentary from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State:
There has been a lot of “God talk” this election season, and Americans United has been critical of it on both sides of the political aisle. The reason is simple: Being president, vice president, senator, governor (or even small-town mayor) involves certain tasks, but none of them is religious in nature. The president oversees the national budget, serves as commander in chief and manages international relations, among other things. Governors draw up state budgets and work with their legislatures. A mayor makes sure the police and fire departments are adequately funded and deals with zoning issues.
Calling people to God (or determining if they need to be so summoned) is the job of the clergy. …
Steven Waldman is president and editor-in-chief of Beliefnet.com, and author of Founding Faith. Previously the national editor of U.S. News & World Report, he is a recognized expert on religion, social issues and politics.
I’ve given talks and interviews on “the politics of evangelical voters” numerous times over the past seven years, so I was surprised after a TV appearance last week when my wife turned to me and asked, “Um, Hun, what do you mean when you say ‘evangelical?’”
For a few seconds I was angry, then disappointed. Like any spouse, I wondered if she truly listened to me. But she was right. Evangelical is a word I regularly use without defining. So, I’d like to try. …