On Saturday afternoon, National Review‘s The Corner posted a piece entitled: “Is Palin Saying Catholics Aren’t Christian?” by Michael Potemra.
Potemra opens: “That is the clear implication of what she said if [he cautions] the specific wording of the USA Today account is not misleading.”
Potemra is referring to a November 7th piece in USA Today by Susan Page regarding Billy Graham’s final sermon, an event for which Palin was in attendance. According to that piece:
“His message transformed my mom’s life,” Palin, one of the dinner’s speakers, said in an interview with USA TODAY.
“In the 70s, she would tune into the Billy Graham crusades, televised. My mom was raised Catholic, and she … was yearning for something more,” she said. “His invitation for people to know that they could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ — my mom understood that from the way that he could articulate it. She became a Christian, led the rest of the family to Christ, and that I believe transformed our family.”
Potemra believes the ellipses in the USA Today quote may provide some wiggle room regarding Palin’s actual message and the context.
So I went directly to the source, Susan Page, who was gracious enough to provide me with the full quote. According to Page, Palin stated:
Unless Page is omitted key sections with the use ellipses (HIGHLY doubtful), it seems as though the ellipses were used to convey verbal pauses, rather than any omission of Palin’s words (or at least not the omission of any words that would affect or change the context of Palin’s message). Regardless, I disagree with Polemra that anything possibly omitted changes the overall message of what Palin was conveying, which is pretty darn clear: ‘My mom was Catholic… that wasn’t enough for her’ (OK, already kind of getting into offensive territory here…) and then she became a Christian. Huh?
Any way you slice it, in my opinion, that’s repeating the old ‘Catholics aren’t really Christian’ meme.
In addition to the remarks made to USA Today, Palin made similar ones in her address at the Graham dinner. Fast forward to the 2:36 mark here.
In sum, this probably amounts to a nothin’ burger but it does reveal a bit of insensitivity towards the Catholic community on Palin’s part. While she may have simply meant that her mom only truly became a believer in Christ once she found Billy Graham, there is still a slight slam against Catholicism about which Palin could be more artful next time she discusses her family’s path to faith.