By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
How religious a book is Going Rogue? The opening vignette tells of Sarah Palin happening upon the Alaska Right to Life booth at the Alaska State Fair and discovering that her 7-year-old daughter, Piper, is still starring in the group's posters, pictured with "pretend angel wings fastened to her soft shoulders." The group had been using Piper as its poster child since she was an infant. And the book's very last paragraph is a long thank you to God, who receives more ink than anyone in the acknowledgments section.
Indeed, Going Rogue is written as much for Christian readers as for political junkies, and it will help establish Palin as much as a Christian figure as a political one. Some of the book's faith-based highlights:
— In the opening pages, Palin uses the story about encountering the state fair's Right to Life booth to frame herself more as a conservative Christian activist than a Republican:
A staunch advocate of every child's right to be born, I was prolife enough for the grassroots RTL [Right to Life] folks to adopt Piper as their poster child, but I wasn't politically connected enough for the state GOP machine to allow the organization to endorse me in early campaigns.... In the RTL booth, I smiled, dropped some dollars into the contribution can, and didn't care who might be watching, including local reporters.
— Palin expresses love for a gay friend but makes clear her opinion that the friend's sexual orientation is a choice, a widely shared view among Christian conservatives:
That's when I told them about Tilly, my junior high friend and college roommate, who, after college, decided to openly live the lifestyle she chose with her partner. To me, she was still Tilly. I loved her dearly.
— The former Alaska governor lays out her creationist-tinged take on biological evolution in a scene recounting an exchange with McCain campaign aides on the issue:
I believed in the evidence for microevolution—that geologic and species change occurs incrementally over time. But I didn't believe in the theory that human beings—thinking, loving beings—originated from fish that sprouted leg and crawled out of the sea. Or that human beings began as single-celled organisms that developed into monkeys who eventually swung down from trees; I believed we came about through a random process, but were created by God.... I had just dared to mention the C-word: creationism. But I felt I was on solid factual ground....
I know the word "creationism" evokes images of wild-eyed fundamentalists burying evidence for any kind of evolution under an avalanche of Bible verses. But I needed the campaign to know they weren't going to put words in my mouth on the issue.
Palin closes her book with a profession of faith:
And I do know there is a God. My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over . . . then see what He will do and how He will get you through. Test Him on this. You'll see there's no such thing as coincidence. I'm thankful for His majestic creation called Alaska.
Whether Palin hopes that Going Rogue sets her up to lead the Republican Party and/or the nation in coming years is an open question. But the book is clearly aimed as much at making her a Christian leader.