• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • September 2008
    M T W T F S S
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Has The GOP Found Its Future “Iron Lady” In Sarah Palin?

What do Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have in common?  They both have an iron will when it comes to issues of principle and integrity.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was known as Britain’s “Iron Lady.”  Her father was a greengrocer who taught her to never do things because other people are doing them; do what you think is right and persuade others to follow you. She earned a degree in Chemistry at Oxford and married Denis Thatcher. They had twin children.  She practiced tax law for a time, but was elected to Parliament in 1959.  She was later appointed Minister of Pensions and then Minister for Education.

Thatcher captured the leadership of her party in a stroke of luck.  Keith Joseph was supposed to run against Ted Heath for head of the Conservative Party in 1974.  Joseph backed out because of nerves at the last minute and Thatcher was unexpectedly pushed forward as an emergency candidate.  The leadership of Heath was more unpopular than expected.  Surprisingly, she won.  Thatcher retained leadership of the party and was elected Prime Minister in May 1979.  She served for eleven and a half years which is longer than any other British Prime Minister in the 20th Century. As Prime Minister, she was a capitalist and opposed socialist policies in Britain. During her tenure, she cut taxes, reduced spending, and decreased regulations.  She privatized state-industries and state-housing, reformed education, was tough on crime, and espoused traditional values.

Sarah Palin’s father was a teacher and her mother the school secretary.  She graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in communications-journalism and political science.  Sarah married Todd Palin and they have five children.  She became a sports commentator and also worked with her husband in commercial fishing.  Palin served two terms on the city council of her hometown Wasilla and then two terms as mayor.  She has also been Alaska’s top regulator of the oil industry and now governor for almost two years. She brings to the McCain campaign much needed expertise on energy and has more experience running a government than Barack Obama.

Like Thatcher, Sarah Palin is aggressive in advocating political integrity.  She resigned in protest in 2004 as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission when the governor did nothing about alleged ethical violations by the state Republican chairman who was a commission member.  She ran against that Republican Governor two years later and won.  She then went on to defeat the Democratic Candidate in the general election.  Palin stood up to Big Oil when she supported a natural gas pipeline instead of an oil pipeline backed by the state’s major petroleum interests.  She also pulled state support for the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” which was supported by Alaska’s congressional and state Republican leaders.

Palin is pro-life on abortion, pro-gun ownership, and pro-drilling for oil. She has made her reputation by pointing out corruption, cutting wasteful government spending, and using her veto power to cut that spending.  She is prepared to take political risks, even when opposed by her own party, in order to do the right thing.   She made three promises prior to her election: to provide accountability, to end state government corruption, and to cut spending.

In her Vice-Presidential nominee acceptance speech, she summed up her motivation to accept the nomination, “As governor, I’ve stood up to the old politics as usual. This is a moment when principle and political independence matter.”  Principles and integrity over politics would be a real change.  Perhaps Sarah Palin will be America’s “Iron Lady.”

Does Your Conscience Speak To You?

I am acutely aware of my conscience at some times more than others. I am particularly aware of it when I know I have chosen a wrong action over what is right. Why is it that it seems that some men live their lives without conscience at all? I pray never to be so forsaken. St. Augustine wrote:

“A good conscience is the palace of Christ; the temple of the Holy Ghost; the paradise of delight, the standing Sabbath of the saints.”

When a Christian turns his conscience over to God, he cannot do whatever he wills. The conscience makes known the presence of God and the need for truth and holiness. It is enlightened by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It points us to Christ. It asks, “Is this right?”

“What Conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do;
This teach me more than Hell to shun,
That – more than Heav’n to pursue.”

(Alexander Pope, Universal Prayer)

Often, when I am praying for forgiveness of my sins, my conscience reminds me to also ask forgiveness for the good I have not done. Thus I am kept aware that I must put my trust in Christ and He will keep my conscience well.

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