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Program Note: Sarah Palin’s former pastor describes how he expects her religious beliefs to influence her decision-making… Watch Rani Kaye's exclusive report 360° tonight 10 ET.
Randi Kaye | Bio
Since joining the Republican ticket, Sarah Palin hasn't said a peep about her religion so we decided to look into her beliefs for a piece on AC360 tonight.
She calls herself a Christian, but identified herself more specifically as a Pentecostal for most of her life. She had been a member of the Wasilla Assembly of God church from the time she was a young girl until 2002, when she left the church to join a non-denominational church that is more mainstream.
The McCain campaign has said Palin doesn't consider herself a Pentecostal.
Some Pentecostals speak in tongues, and believe in "faith healing" and "end times", a violent upheaval that will bring the second coming of Jesus and only believers will be saved.
We'll have an interview with Palin's pastor from the Assembly of God and let you know if Palin ever spoke in tongues.
Her former pastor says he has no doubt her religious beliefs are used in her decision-making when it comes to government policy. Regarding her desire to build an Alaskan pipeline, Pastor Tim McGraw told us, "Sarah knows that in Genesis, God creates the world and its very good and that we’re supposed to be caretakers in terms of not destroying the environment so there’s no way that Sarah is going to exploit or damage the Alaska tundra in the name of getting gas if she doesn’t have to."
Her campaign says she doesn't mix her faith with government business, but a video circulating on YouTube shows Palin speaking at Assembly of God and asking church members to pray for the $30 billion natural gas pipeline that she wants to build in Alaska. Here's what she said, "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas pipeline built so pray for that ...I can do my job there in developing my natural resources..But all of that doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart is not good with God."
She also talked to church members about "being saved" at the Assembly of God and suggested to them that the war in Iraq is a mission from God. Palin said, "our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we are praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."
And remember those controversial comments by Barack Obama's pastor? Well, Palin's pastor has made his share too.
Senior Pastor Ed Kalnin, from Wasilla Assembly of God once said those who voted for John Kerry for president in 2004 would not go to heaven. The church has since said he was joking about those voters going to hell and has apologized. That same pastor also said that Alaska will be a refuge for the "end days"..that Alaska will serve as a shelter for Christians at the end of the world. Pastor Kalnin said "God is going to basically reserve (Alaska) for the place of refuge because the earth is groaning for the return of God. "
Do you think Palin's religious beliefs will affect policy if the Republicans win? She is anti-abortion even in the case of rape and incest, and she believes Creationism should be taught in schools. She is also opposed to gay marriage and spousal benefits for gay couples. And it just so happens her current church, Wasilla Bible Church, is promoting a conference to help turn gays straight through the power of prayer.
Do you think religion has a place in government?
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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