On August 17, 2008, David Brickner (director of Jews for Jesus) spoke at Sarah Palin’s family church in Wasilla, Alaska. Govenor Palin was in attendance. Mr. Brickner spoke extensively of his organization’s mission in Israel (they also do extensive work in America – especially with college students) to convert Jews to Christianity. They call themselves Jews for Jesus, but the religion the practice is Evangelical Christianity.
In his sermon (download/read the entire sermon on the Wasilla Assembly Church website) Brickner details Jews for Jesus’s missions in Israel (and his son’s work in India). He describes the difficulty of converting Jews in Israel and highlights the important work that his group is doing there.
Following the sermon, the Pastor of the church, Pastor Larry Koon, offered a special version of the congregation’s closing prayer. This prayer likely encapsulated the day and focused Koon & Brickner’s messages. Here is the prayer
Our Father in heaven, We stand before You as a people who’ve experienced Your grace, and we acknowledge that that grace was first extended to our people through Your people, the Jews; that there is not a one here in this room who would know Jesus and serve Him if there had not been a Jew, generations ago, that spoke Jesus’ name to our people. Father, that comes full circle and we wish to extend Your grace back to Your people. And we pray and we ask that as a result of this time here, and as a result of this offering, there will be people among the Jews today who come to say the name “Jesus” with faith. In His glorious name we pray, amen.
Governor Palin was there. Her church advocates for the active conversion of Jews. Not because the Jewish people are seeking such conversion (we are not), but because her church believes that is what they (good Christians) must do. In the time that she has been known as the nominee, Palin has often spoken of her faith but has never clarified that she differs with her church on this matter. Even after this sermon got a small bit of press on Politico.com, she did not see a need to say that her views are different from Brickner. All people need to seriously think about whether we really want to vote for someone who believes that Jews need to be converted. We already know that she doesn’t find any validity in Evolution, believes in (and promotes in her state) abstinence only education – both of which are closely linked to ideologies in the Assembly church movement. Since she acted on these issues in her state, why would she act differently about Jews being allowed to be Jews as Vice President? Why not? Will the Constitution really contain her? The GOP stance on religion in American life is clear – more of it. The walls separating church/state are already very very low with faith based social services receiving government money. Jews cannot vote for her without giving serious thought to this issue.
But, you may be thinking, isn’t she okay on Israel? We don’t really know. Let’s look to the sermon from her own church, the central focus of her life and her family’s life. Maybe Brickner’s sermon will give us a clue. Here is what he says about Israel.
But what we see in Israel, the conflict that is spilled out throughout the Middle East, really which is all about Jerusalem, is an ongoing reflection of the fact that there is judgment. There is judgment that is going on in the land, and that’s the other part of this Jerusalem Dilemma.
Brickner is blaming the Jews for the terrorist violence and war in Israel. Why is Israel being judged in his statement above? As you can see clearly in the full sermon – it is because Jews don’t believe in Jesus. Really. Is this the kind of Israel support that Jews need?
I went to the McCain Palin website to research this post and search for any statement put out by the campaign about Palin and her beliefs, her faith, and the role she sees it having in their administration. I searched “Palin” and “faith” and received an error message for an invalid search. (Guess McCain’s “I don’t use a computer” is also impacting the usability of their website. Either that or they don’t want people to know what Palin believes. Hmmm)
Governor Palin supports open, pressured conversion of Jews. She has said not one word to clarify, distance herself from, nor disagree with Mr. Brickner. The Israel that some Jews think she supports is one where the violence is destined because Jews believe wrong.
I ask you again, is this the Israel support that the Jews need?
How much does faith inform her decisions? Take a look at video of Gov. Palin preaching in her church in Wasilla on G-d’s plan for War (since we know that G-d “loves” war – not).
Two other blog posts on this issue: The Israel Situation, Blogs of Zion