By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Last night was big for Sarah Palin. Speaking at Indiana's Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner, the Alaska governor embraced her role as leader of opponents of abortion rights more fully than at any other time since she leapt onto the national political stage last summer.
Palin spoke more movingly and more personally about her opposition to abortion, revealing her own momentary brush with contemplating abortion last year after discovering she was pregnant with a child with Down syndrome. To conservative Christians, this tale of temptation and resistance gives Palin a redemption narrative that supplies her more credibility on abortion. To see this powerful testimony, watch this clip:
Beyond unveiling this redemption narrative, Palin's speech brimmed with overtly Christian themes and imagery to an extent unknown in her speeches as a vice presidential candidate. If Palin runs for president, we now have a good idea about the kind of Christian candidate she'll most likely be. The faith-based highlights from Palin's address last night:
- On Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele:
He, the blessing of a teenage mom . . . she selflessly gave him up for adoption. She chose life for him. What a providential series of events that has brought you to where you are today. Challenges since before you were even born. And surely there's purpose in every single step that has brought you to where you are.
- On being invited to the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner :
We got invited some months ago to attend, and I said, "Oh, man." I've got some adversaries up there in my state, and they're going to crucify me if I say yes to traveling outside the state of Alaska.
- Now I want you to invite you to Alaska, to God's country . . . Anyone who goes there can't deny the hand of the Creator in that state. . . .. It seems that God just dumped his stores of oil and gas out there . . . millions of barrels and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that I believe he intended for us to develop and to use to better our world.
- On her child with Down syndrome, Trig:
Trig . . . is our gift from God. He's proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that every innocent life does have purpose and there is not an accident. And I'm going to choose the Creator's idea of perfection over society's definition of perfection any day.
- America's forefathers founded this great nation in powerful words in America's Declaration of Independence. They read in part like a holy text. . . . Providentially and with so much wisdom, our Founding Fathers wrote that life is valuable because it is ordained and not utilitarian. . . . I know for sure my son is perfect just as he is, and I do believe he is made in the image of God.
- On keeping her latest pregnancy secret until the last minute:
It was a sweet, sacred time, a secret between Todd and God and me.
- On learning she was pregnant at age 44:
Plus, I was old, and I thought, oh, very funny, God—my name is Sarah, but my husband is not Abraham. It's Todd. And just like Sarah of old, I too—I laughed.
- In my moments of doubt that I just went through a year ago with these different steps, I clung to a faith that taught me that I could meet the challenges, that we won't be given anything that we can't handle. And really, at times, that faith was all I had.