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Sarah Palin has done it again. The waffling mayor of Wasilla has survived the guffaws of Alaskan governorship and, most recently, has earned the right to be crowned Teflon American tycoon. Clad in a protective wetsuit, the one who could have been Vice President has faced her mudslingers with obstinate determination as she refuses to let anybody turn her around. With barracuda-like tenacity, this puzzling politician has delighted in taking bite size chunks out of the liberal prophets of doom who just can’t seem to finish her obituary. Who would have imagined that a person whose “extensive” foreign experience was gained from observing Russian icebergs from frigid Alaskan beaches is being sought by investment bankers for advice at international conferences?
The former governor’s latest savor of sweet victory has been delivered to the world in the form of a 243 page tome titled, Going Rogue: An American Life. An ambrosia-tic aroma to her supporters and a stifling stench to her opponents, this autobiographical manifesto for the new breed of American conservative sold over 300,000 copies on the first day. This debt to deliverance story of the woman who went rogue from the maverick McCain led barracuda battery depicts the irony that is America. This is a nation where collective crowds with corporate craniums celebrate individualism with uncritical unison. This is a society where knee-jerk ideologues can be hailed as heroines. This is a culture where ditto heads take their marching orders from racist rabble-rousers with surnames like Limbaugh and Beck. Only in America can a “know nothing” become a “know it all” without actually knowing anything.
Going Rogue is not just the story of an American life, it’s the theme of life in America – a country built on the myth of Divine predestination and sustained by illusions of Messianic ordination. Although pluralistic voices champion a secular state where religion is relegated to archives in the Smithsonian, an influential mob – whose momentum is maintained via mandates from the moral majority – is determined to return America to its “Christian” roots. With uncritical zeal, they yearn for the days of school prayer and public displays of Christianity. The same days, I might add, when schools were segregated, Blacks sat at the back of the bus, and the Ku Klux Klan publicly displayed symbols of Christianity on many lawns throughout the nation. I make no apologies in asserting that Sarah Palin has become the paradigm of this movement – a movement fueled by red necked isolationist bigots who confuse ignorance with virtue.
Sadly, many professed Christians touting conservative values are willing passengers on the rogue bandwagon. Somehow they have confused the Kingdom of God with the American Republic and envision themselves as the twenty-first century incarnation of ancient Israel. In their fantasy world, they claim Divine authority to eliminate all semblances of deviant Canaanite ideologies. Unfortunately, their understanding of evil is derived from the unholy scriptures penned by bonus bursting corporate executives and star studded xenophobic generals with imperial ambitions. Taking orders from the satanic verses on these well worn pages, they make automatic heroes of the death-dealing products spewed from the massive military machine – men and women who are trained to believe that the voice of a human superior trumps the pleadings for peace that proceed from the lips of God’s Spirit.
Having gone rogue from the liberating and empowering message of the gospel, those who have inculcated selfishness into their reasoning side with the greed driven insurance companies as they oppose health reforms that are aimed to protect the “least of these.” Hypnotized by the hypocritical hyperbole of power prepped patricians, they serve as cheer leaders for the “Joe the Plumbers” who barf at any government attempt to level the economic playing field. Then after receiving their daily dose of brainwashing from Faux News and other fact twisting, pill popping media fascists, they go to their churches on the weekend and sing, “We’re Marching to Zion.” As they sing, they are totally oblivious to the fact that the ceilings of the segregated sanctuaries serve to restrict the journey of their rehearsed harmonies. Those who embrace a philosophy of hate sing about One they do not know, and can only join the 144,000 on Mount Zion if they discard their faulty road map and learn to trust the moral directions embodied in the Divine GPS.
Lest I be accused of making hasty generalizations driven by partisan preferences, let me hasten to declare my awareness that the same rogue spirit has also possessed many liberals who profess Christianity. What can I say about the actions of a visionary President who just last week was giving thanks, but this week is sending tanks; a revolutionary leader who just last week was engaging in acts of appreciation, but this week is orchestrating methods of annihilation? The rogue spirit does not discriminate between political ideologies, because it is the spirit of confusion. It is the spirit that entered the heart of Lucifer and became the catalyst of the heavenly war whose details were revealed to John in the Apocalypse (Rev 12:7-12). It is the spirit whose celestial expulsion brought joy to the hosts of heaven and grief to the inhabitants of the earth. It is the spirit of anti-Christ that opposes everything that resembles God (2 Thess 2:3-11).
As the rogue spirit expands its agenda through non-discriminatory acts of transmogrification, it behooves the people of God to be on guard. In this age where insatiable taste buds lust for worldly wine, Peter encourages us to maintain sobriety and vigilance so that we can recognize the Adversary when he manifests himself through those unsuspecting channels we have grown to adore (1 Pet 5:8). Now more than ever, those who claim citizenship in Messiah’s kingdom need to contemplate what it really means to maintain activity in public affairs while undergoing spiritual transformation through mind renewal (Rom 12:1-2). Ultimately, it is only a mind fully submitted to God and guided by His word that can be fortified against the temptation to go rogue.
Keith Augustus Burton is the executive director for Life emPowerment, Inc., a non profit organization promoting personal responsibility and community cooperation. He is a member of the advisory board for the Adventist Peace Fellowship and his prophetic and provocative essay, “God Bless Afghanistan: The Rhetoric of Justice in the Sermon on the Plain,” appears in The Peace Making Remnant (Douglas Morgan, ed).