Religious right likes McCain’s pick

Religious conservatives are excited by Senator John McCain’s choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, says Ralph Reed in The New York Times:

“They’re beyond ecstatic,” said Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. “This is a home run. She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith. And she is really one of the bright shining new stars in the Republican firmament.”

Ms. Palin is known to conservatives for choosing not to have an abortion after learning that she was carrying a child with Down syndrome. “It is almost impossible to exaggerate how important that is to the conservative faith community,” Mr. Reed said.

(Politico is on the case as well.)

While running for governor, Palin said she thought creationism and the theory of evolution should both be taught in public schools.

Talking Points Memo has more.

Dallas Morning News Religion Blog has more. Palin is a member of the Assemblies of God Church.

From the Anchorage Daily News in 2006:

Palin’s parents say they are not political and don’t know how she decided to turn her ambition and work ethic toward politics. Her Christian faith, they say, came from her mother, who took her children to area Bible churches as they were growing up (Sarah is the third of four siblings). They say her faith has been steady since high school, when she led the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and grew stronger as she sought out believers in her college years.

Palin doesn’t brandish her religion on the campaign trail, but that doesn’t prevent others from doing so. After she was first elected mayor, her predecessor, John Stein, objected that a Valley cable TV program had hailed her as Wasilla’s first “Christian mayor.” In a column for the local newspaper, he named eight previous mayors and added that he, too, was a Christian, despite a name that led some voters to suspect “I must be a non-Christian, have non-Christian blood or at least have sympathized with a non-Christian sometime in my career.”

Her official campaign bio, still up on her campaign site, offers evidence that she didn’t “brandish” her religion during that campaign. While it mentions her membership in the Iditarod PTA, htere is nary a mention of a church or religious affiliation.

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