Helping Who?

July 28, 2009

Sarah Palin claimed Sunday during her last address as Alaska's governor that one thing that can make us "happy or healthy or wealthy or wise" is "God's grace, helping those who help themselves." Although polls have found that many Americans believe that the idea that "God helps those who help themselves" is a verse from the Bible, it actually is a quotation from Benjamin Franklin. A deist at best, evangelical Christians would not consider Franklin's spiritual beliefs to be even remotely close to Christian theology. Yet, his message of the strong and wealthy receiving God's blessings has been canonized as a key principle in the American gospel. In reality, this teaching is very far from the teachings of Jesus, who told his disciples that they must become "poor in spirit" and "meek." He also explained that the "first will be last" and that true followers are those who care "for the least of these." Such radical teachings are a far cry from that preached by Palin as she left office. No amount of lipstick can make her theology match what Jesus taught.