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A Tale of Two Churches

December 22, 2008

This is a tale of two American churches. One is in a major city. The other is in a small town. One preaches hatred of America and its institutions. The other preaches love and patriotism. One is infected with a toxic dogma known as Black Liberation Theology. The other espouses the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One was just firebombed. Guess which one.

Barack Obama spent twenty years sitting in the pews of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, listening to some of the foulest teaching ever to come from the mouth of a "preacher." That preacher was a poison-tongued demagogue named Jeremiah Wright, who has spewed racist lies and hateful conspiracies from his pulpit during his entire career.

Meanwhile, in Wasilla, Alaska, an evangelical church, attended by Gov. Sarah Palin and her family, teaches the true meaning of Christ's message to His church and to a fallen world.

On Friday, Dec. 12, the Wasilla Bible Church was firebombed. Authorities said the fire started at the main entrance of the church and that they are investigating the blaze as arson. They estimated the damage at $1 million. No one was injured, although a small group, which included children, was inside at the time.

The Wasilla congregation gathered for their services at a local middle school the Sunday following the fire. The statements of the members and their pastors, as reported by the Associated Press, are telling:

Patsy Inks said the news initially shocked and frustrated her. But by Sunday, she was feeling blessed, she said at the school, where worshippers lingered over a potluck dinner for a church family leaving Alaska. "This tragedy has brought us all together," Inks said, her eyes tearing up.

The congregation realizes the church is more than the building, said John Doak, associate pastor at Wasilla Bible Church. "The definition of the church is the body of Christ, made up of God's people," Doak said. "The church is still there. We are the church."

Gov. Palin, who was not at the church at the time of the fire, stopped by Saturday. She reportedly told an assistant pastor she was sorry if the fire was connected to the "undeserved negative attention" the church has received since she became the Republican vice presidential candidate on Aug. 29.

According to AP, worshippers acknowledged the possible Palin connection with the fire, but more in a "gee, maybe" sort of way, said Rob Tracy, a member of the church. But people are speculating about other motives.

"It's just as likely to be some troubled person who has a beef with God," Tracy said.

"Or some local punks," Doak said.

The AP seemed to offer a different motive for the attack:

"After Palin was named John McCain's running mate, the evangelical church was the subject of intense scrutiny. Early in her campaign, Palin's church was criticized for promoting in a Sunday bulletin a Focus on the Family 'Love Won Out' conference in Anchorage. The conference promised to 'help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome.'"

So let me see if I have this straight. The media fell all over itself during the Obama campaign avoiding an in-depth look at the vitriol flowing like a river of vomit out of Wright's Chicago church. Yet, when Sarah Palin was named as John McCain's choice for vice president, every major news outlet in the country put reporters on planes to Alaska to "investigate" this woman's strange church. And now that this same church has been burned - an act that would surely be hailed as a "hate crime" had it happened at Obama's church - we are told that a ministry to help homosexuals who want to leave their deviant lifestyle may be the reason for the attack.

Meanwhile, the loving, forgiving members of the Wasilla Bible Church are turning the other cheek after their church has just been burned to the ground. Can you imagine Jeremiah Wright and his ilk having such a reaction had it been the Trinity United Church of Christ that was attacked?

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Copyright ©2008 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.