As many probably remember, back in 2008 Sarah Palin came under considerable scrutiny when it was discovered that she had once attended a fringe pentecostal church where adherents stand up and blurt-out an ancient, unknown language called "speaking in tongues" aka jibberish nonsense:
Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, says that like many Pentecostal churches, some members speak in tongues, although he says he's never seen Palin do so. Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."
Well, move over Sarah: Years ago, Scott Walker had the guts to leave his father's Baptist church and not only join a fringe pentecostal church, but is still a member in good standing there, today!
We reached Scott Walker's pastor, John Mackett, at Meadowbrook church and he said "plerb frun shhhample trew!" and directed me to his website, where he scolds those experienced in talking in tongues not to look down their noses at beginners, saying:
Sometimes the Church’s response to those beginning to explore and use their spiritual gifts has been more like the parent of an adolescent than the parent of a toddler. A new Christian’s prayer of faith for the healing of another’s cancer is labeled “presump-tuous” and a person’s attempt to pray in tongues in his cell group is met with the icy glares of the “frozen chosen.” I admit that people can abuse spiritual gifts. The movies portraying religious hucksters didn’t develop in a vacuum. However, the fear that some gifts of the Spirit might be abused does not give us the right to abuse those who are trying to exercise such gifts.To be in fellowship with people who are discovering and exercising their spiritual gifts requires patience and kindness. We wouldn’t rebuke an infant whose first attempts at walking ended on the floor. So why would we criticize the novice Sunday School teacher for misapplying a Bible verse or shame a tongue speaker for misjudging when it would be helpful to exercise his gift?
In addition, Walker's "Pastors Advisory Panel" includes John D. Putnam, who is the Pastor at Pentecostals of Sheboygan County. On Putnam's website it says his church "embraces the Pentecostal view that speaking in tongues is the initial sign of receiving the Holy Spirit."
In 2008, the Wall Street Journal described "speaking in tongues" at Palin's former churchs as one of several "core beliefs not widely ascribed to by major Christian factions" and Time magazine asked "Does Palin Have a Pentecostal Problem?" and said:
It is this Pentecostal association that most concerns and confuses the McCain campaign. As Minnery makes clear, millions of Evangelicals have accepted Palin because of her membership in a Bible church. But there is no denying that mainstream Evangelicals and Pentecostals, while political allies on many social issues, have historically had significant tensions over theological differences. The Evangelicals' swoon for Palin might fade if it turns out that she continues to hold fast to Pentecostal practices and beliefs.
So what exactly is Pentecostalism, and could it really pose a political problem for Palin? Here's a brief TIME primer on the religious tradition that is such a touchy subject for the McCain campaign:
What is Pentecostalism? Pentecostals are named for the feast of Pentecost described in the New Testament Book of Acts as taking place shortly after Jesus' ascension into heaven. During the feast, his followers were said to have been "filled with the Holy Spirit" and gained the ability to speak in many different languages, or "tongues." The modern Pentecostal movement is relatively new — just over 100 years old — and is usually dated to the Azusa Street Revival that began in Los Angeles in 1906. (The revival was a nine-year series of near continuous worship services that popularized Pentecostal worship and practices.) Pentecostalism can be best understood as a branch within evangelical Protestantism, characterized by a focus on the Holy Spirit and a belief in spiritual gifts, such as healing and speaking in tongues.
So, to recap, Scott Walker says that Jesus literally speaks to him, orders him what to do, and Walker dutifully does every that this voice says in the Christian tradition of "trust and obey." Therefore, the logical question to ask: When Jesus "talks" to Walker is it in English? Or is Jesus talking to Walker in "tongues" and Walker is translating it as an order to make the biggest cut to education in Wisconsin history, take away teachers right to collectively bargain and give the Koch brothers whatever the hell they want?