SARAH PALIN, ANOINTED.

That's what a charismatic evangelical I know told me in an e-mail yesterday. When he saw Sarah Palin speak on television two weeks ago in Dayton, he called his wife and said, "I do not know who this woman is, but she is anointed. She must go to a spirit-filled church."

"By anointing," he continued in his e-mail to me, "I mean more than just stage presence. I mean authority. Palin believes what she is saying. It comes through. She is confident because she believes she is right. I have yet to hear , 'uhhh,' or a 'ummm' from her when she speaks. There is no weighing, no political hesitation in her voice. She is gifted in that area."

When she looks cocky, willing to ignore or lie about inconvenient facts, and willing to exploit power to get what she wants -- for charismatics and Pentecostals, Palin, who was raised in the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination, is displaying that she is anointed by God. Prominent charismatics have begun talking publicly about her anointing, like Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma magazine, who wrote in a post titled "The Deborah Anointing":

Talk about a role model. Palin’s life is a prophecy to America. She doesn’t have to preach against abortion. She and her family, even with their flaws, are the embodiment of the compassionate pro-life values America desperately needs to adopt.

When McCain announced that he had chosen Palin as his running mate, I was reminded of the biblical story of Deborah, the Old Testament prophet who rallied God’s people to victory at a time when ancient Israel was being terrorized by foreign invaders. Deborah’s gender didn’t stop her from amassing an army; she inspired the people in a way no man could. She and her defense minister, Barak, headed to the front lines and watched God do a miracle on the battlefield.

For these Palin devotees, it seems not to matter whether she actually knows something; she acts like she knows it. She doesn't even need to address their core issue, abortion; her own life is a prophecy. She is a role model of a mother, a vanquisher of terrorists, a miracle worker, and better than any man.

Did she hesitate, Charlie Gibson asked, when McCain asked her to be his running mate, did she wonder whether she had enough experience to be, potentially, commander in chief? Palin said, "I didn't hesitate, no . . . . I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate."

Many evangelicals are talking about Palin being like the biblical Queen Esther, who saved the Jews from the genocidal Haman, and believe that Palin has come, like Esther did, "for a time such as this." (The same narrative built around George W. Bush when he was running.) My charismatic source added, "The beauty queen hidden away until an appointed time. The newscaster training, her rise in service, etc. But I just think her authenticity resonates with believers. They feel like she is real. I believe many feel she has been hidden for this time in accordance with God's plan. At least that is their hope."

--Sarah Posner

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