Sarah Palin frequently refers to to her religious beliefs as part of her core values, but she has never made it clear just what those beliefs are. Now one casual remark during an interview last week with Barbara Walters may have drawn back the curtain a bit.
In response to a question about Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, Palin told Walters, "I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead."
Palin's expectation of massive Jewish immigration to Israel -- which would have to come primarily from the United States -- has no basis in current fact but does correspond closely to the end-times theology espoused by many evangelical Christians.
After Palin's interview, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg spoke to a representative of Liberty University, who told him, "'What Sarah Palin probably believes is that this is the first regathering,' when the Jews all migrate to Israel. 'This is a condition for the second regathering, the regathering in belief, when the Jewish nation is converted. Then there will be the battle of Armageddon.'"
"In the last two weeks," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann commented on Tuesday, "she has revealed pieces of the puzzle of her religious doctrines that suggest she shares the beliefs of her church, the Assemblies of God, that in the end-times, the Rapture, Jesus lifts true believers up with him as non-believers suffer through the apocalypse. She is also implying now that her interpretation of Biblical prophecy drives core elements of her foreign policy."
Palin met recently with the elderly evangelist Billy Graham, whose son Franklin told reporters that Palin had "quizzed him on the presidents he's known and wanted his take on what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq,"
Olbermann appeared to be particularly concerned by whether Palin shares the convert-or-perish attitude towards the Jews expressed in end-times theology. "If Mrs. Palin truly wants to discuss her faith, we invite her to clarify what her faith says about Israel, its role in the Rapture, and the ultimate fate of Israel and the Jews who choose to keep their faith," he concluded.
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Nov. 24, 2009.