Is Sarah Palin the Next James Dobson?

Going Rogue establishes the former Alaska governor's Christian bona fides in a new way

By + More

By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Could Going Rogue establish Sarah Palin as a Christian Leader as much as it solidifies her status as a political player? I make the case in my most recent God & Country column from U.S. News Weekly.

Here's the top:

How much is Sarah Palin's new book tailored to evangelical Christian readers? Her writing partner for Going Rogue, Lynn Vincent, is a longtime editor at World magazine, which practices "biblical worldview journalism." Though the book is published by an imprint of HarperCollins, it is being distributed to Christian booksellers by Zondervan, the world's leading publisher of Bibles. And Going Rogue brims with testimony about Palin's Christian faith. Its opening pages relate how Palin's daughter Piper literally became the poster child for the antiabortion group Alaska Right to Life by posing for a picture with "pretend angel wings fastened to her soft shoulders."

The book's final paragraph, meanwhile, reads like an altar call, the part of a church service when pew sitters are invited to commit their lives to Christ. "I do know there is a God," the former Alaska governor writes. "My life is in his hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over."

Though most of the talk surrounding the release of Going Rogue revolves around how it affects Palin's standing as a political figure, including her chances of winning the White House, should she choose to run, the book is as much poised to heighten Palin's profile as a Christian leader. "It's a mistake to frame all this in the context of her potential candidacy," Mark DeMoss, one of the country's top Christian media specialists, says of Going Rogue. "She wants to tell her story and the story of her personal faith journey." At a time when politically conservative evangelicals lack a national figurehead, Palin's ability to connect with them could also deepen her appeal to a key part of the Republican base. "Christian audiences could respond to this like they did when George W. Bush talked about his faith," says John Green, a religion and politics expert at the University of Akron. "This community takes faith very seriously and likes people who talk about their faith journey."

Until now, that part of Palin's story has been mostly implied...

Read the full piece here.

  • Read 10 Things You Didn't Know About Sarah Palin.
  • See photos of Sarah Palin and her family.