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"A theocrat is a theocrat."

Juan Cole has an article on Salon.com. As a riff on Palin's joke at the RNC, the article is entitled What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick.

The article takes Palin's political policies.... not her religious beliefs... her political policies and compares them with the political policies of Muslim countries such as Iran. When I stress that these policies are political and not religious, it's a bit misleading though because Palin doesn't actually differentiate. So, yes, they are her religious beliefs... which is totally fine. She can believe whatever she wants. The problem is she will implement those religious beliefs in public policy and force her religious beliefs on the country.

Tolerance and democracy require freedom of speech and the press, but while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin inquired of the local librarian how to go about banning books that some of her constituents thought contained inappropriate language. She tried to fire the librarian for defying her. Book banning is common to fundamentalisms around the world, and the mind-set Palin displayed did not differ from that of the Hamas minister of education in the Palestinian government who banned a book of Palestinian folk tales for its sexually explicit language.

Emphasis is mine. Banning books is the most basic of violations of the First Amendment. It's an action done in fear. Extremist and Fundamentalist minds are afraid that people will educate themselves and no longer need to cling to those original extremist and fundamentalist viewpoints.

Palin argued when running for governor that creationism should be taught in public schools, at taxpayers' expense, alongside real science. Antipathy to Darwin for providing an alternative to the creation stories of the Bible and the Quran has also become a feature of Muslim fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia prohibits the study, even in universities, of evolution, Freud and Marx. Malaysia has banned a translation of "The Origin of the Species." Likewise, fundamentalists in Turkey have pressured the government to teach creationism in the public schools.

The subject of teaching creationism in schools is another First Amendment issue. Creationism is a religious belief. Teaching a religious belief in a Biology class is wrong. Making it required material which is paid for by the government is a violation of the Establishment clause.

The GOP vice-presidential pick holds that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or severe birth defects, making an exception only if the life of the mother is in danger. ... Palin's stance is even stricter than that of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2005, the legislature in Tehran attempted to amend the country's antiabortion statute to permit an abortion up to four months in case of a birth defect. The conservative clerical Guardianship Council, which functions as a sort of theocratic senate, however, rejected the change. Iran's law on abortion is therefore virtually identical to the one that Palin would like to see imposed on American women, and the rationale in both cases is the same, a literalist religious impulse that resists any compromise with the realities of biology and of women's lives.

She can choose "life" all she wants. That's her choice. To take AWAY someone's right to choose though... it's wrong. She wants everyone to back off and respect her family's privacy, but she explicitly stated she wants to overturn Roe v. Wade (just like McCain). So... she and her family can choose... but you can't.

Theocrats confuse God's will with their own mortal policies. Just as Muslim fundamentalists believe that God has given them the vast oil and gas resources in their regions, so Palin asks church workers in Alaska to pray for a $30 billion pipeline in the state because "God's will has to get done."

She's also says that the Iraq War is a "task that is from God."

I cannot stress enough how important it is to separate religious views from the government. The majority of repressive regimes in the Middle East use religion as their vehicle to abuse, control and murder their own populace.

You CANNOT put someone in power who thinks they are mandated by God and their actions are directed by God.

Now, I don't want you to think that Juan Cole is just going off on religious beliefs, etc. He's a Mid East scholar and understands today's version of mainstream Islam compared to today's Fundamentalist Islam compared to Islam over the centuries past. He acknowledges that many Christians and Muslims do not hold these extreme views and even that the core of Islam in past centuries has held lenient stances on many issues that are utterly contentious at the moment. Here though, is the golden line of the article:

Palin has a right to her religious beliefs, as do fundamentalist Muslims who agree with her on so many issues of social policy. None of them has a right, however, to impose their beliefs on others by capturing and deploying the executive power of the state.

This comes down to the core idea of the First Amendment. You can hold whatever beliefs you want, but you cannot force them on me.

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