Thank you, Steve Waldman

Take it away, oh thou czar of Beliefnet.com (bonking you head on the wall the Divine Ms. MZ has been pounding all day).

The headline: "On God, Palin Was Right, Gibson Was Wrong."

Thus, Steve Waldman (who is not a registered member of the Religious Right) takes us back to the exact words, which is a good thing. Accurate quotes are good.

Grrrr. In his quesitons about God and war, ABC News's Charles Gibson took Sarah Palin's quote out of context and then claimed it was an exact quote.

Here's how he phrased it:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Well, no. Palin asked members of the church to pray "that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan." That's very different. She's asking them to help insure that the war is part of God's plan, not declaring that it was. ...

If Gibson wanted to challenge her on religion, he should have asked about her comment that it's "God's will" that Alaska have a great big natural gas pipeline.

A valid question, and one that often needs to asked to religious and civic leaders in places like Detroit (during a recession hitting the big auto makers), the Midwest (during a drought) or even, I might add, Alaska (where Native Americans have long had rites to urge God to send lots of salmon). There are subtle doctrinal differences in there, I know. But the lines often blur between God's will and economic blessings.

Which brings me to another question: Who has seen the best transcript of the pipeline quotations? Who has THAT story right, if that is the next theological tsunami that is headed toward us?

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