Our lively discussion on Pentecostalism continues …

his is a great time to add that comment or raise that question you’ve been pondering this week. The
purpose of OurValues.org is to simulate—sometimes provoke—a
lively and thoughtful discussion of American values. That’s
exactly what is unfolding.

opened the week with a post about Palin and Pentecostalism, and the
questions her candidacy raises about religious influence on policy decision.
Max worries about anyone who thinks “their actions or policies
are somehow sanctioned by a higher power.”
She says that
political leaders seem to get a “free pass…if they are
perceived to be of strong religious (especially Christian) faith. The
Bush Administration may turn out to be the most destructive in our history
thus far, but hey, George is born again, and he’s faithful to Laura,
so he couldn’t possibly have deliberately
lied to justify the Iraq War, right?”

isn’t “…against people using religion as a guide for how to
live their lives or even as a guide for how to lead a country. But using
religion for specific governmental action is a huge mistake. Bush said
he spoke to a ‘higher father’ about invading Iraq and look
at how that turned out. Either God was wrong or George Bush’s heavenly
visions are out of whack.”

is in the camp that sees Palin’s religion to be “scary.”
But he finds “ALL religious beliefs, espoused by PUBLIC figures,
to be scary.”

readers had questions about Pentecostalism and what it means (or what
I interpreted it to mean).  Dick H was “puzzled by [my] description
of Pentecostal belief as having ‘a mandate to enact God’s will on
He asked if I had some
“peculiarly Pentecostal understanding of what it means to discern
and do God’s will.”
I answered on Wednesday, saying that this
mandate is not what makes Pentecostals distinctive.
considered the categorization of Pentecostals as the “ultimate Conservative
Christians”—a label applied by sociologists Mike Hout and Andrew
Bodine countered, saying, “I have reservations about the characterization
of Pentecostals as ultimate anything.”

says, “If you are saying that there is something distinctly Pentecostal
that makes one a more faithful and true conservative, then I disagree. Conservatives don’t have a lock on truth by any means, and many fail
in their responsibilities. But conservatism has it right on some core
issues, even if individuals fail in living up to those ideals
“the value of each individual human life.”

Cindy La Ferle “supports faith and family values, and calls herself
a patriotic American.”
But her criteria for a good president
do not include religion. They do include “a top-tier education
from a well-respected American university (Harvard works for me), legal
experience, political experience, a keen understanding of foreign and
economic policy, moral conviction, deep intelligence, grace, integrity,
an abiding concern for social justice, and a tremendous sense of dignity
to represent my country in foreign affairs.”

the election drawing near, these issues—and our discussion—will
become more and more important. My thanks to all of you who are
faithful readers of OurValues.org. This is still a great time to add another comment to this rich discussion.

Click on the “Comment” link above, or if you prefer to drop us a quick Email,
you can do that as well. We’re also still inviting readers to sign up
for a couple of in-depth surveys Dr. Baker plans to conduct a little
later this fall. To take part in that effort, add your Email address to
the box in the upper left area of our Web site.

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