My Take: More places Palin should visit on bus tour
Sarah Palin leaving the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
June 2nd, 2011
07:55 AM ET

My Take: More places Palin should visit on bus tour

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Dear Governor Palin,

Your it’s-not-a-campaign-bus-tour has motored through the National Archives, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty and Donald Trump’s penthouse.

So obviously you are highlighting America’s most historic sites. But as you head toward New England and beyond, I’d like to suggest four additional sites, sacred to the chain of memory that is American religion.

Together these sacred places acknowledge not only the powerful role that Christianity has played in American life (something you often mention) but also the fact of American religious diversity (something you might mention more).

1. Plymouth Rock

There isn’t much to see here. In fact, when I took a field trip there as a kid I was disappointed, and I rather doubt Governor Bradford and his Mayflower Pilgrims actually disembarked here.

But there wasn't any rioting here, like at Boston's Tea Party. Just writing: the Mayflower Compact, which brought these separatists from the Church of England together in a religious and political “covenant” enacted “for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith.”

In other words, right up your alley!

There is also a great bas-relief of the signing of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown just under the Pilgrim Monument, but if you are running for president (and I know you haven't announced) that's probably not a very good campaign stop.

2.  Jonathan Edwards' Church

Another town you might want to visit is Northampton in western Massachusetts. Like Provincetown it’s more gay-friendly than Palin-friendly, but since you aren’t campaigning (right?) perhaps that can be overlooked.

The draw here is First Churches of Northampton. Today this congregation, formed through a merger of First Church of Christ (Congregational) and First Baptist Church (American Baptist) bills itself as “open and affirming” and “environmentally covenanted.”

But BPC (before political correctness) it was the church of the revivalist Jonathan Edwards and Ground Zero for the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s.

This awakening gave us evangelicalism, which gave us Pentecostalism, which gave us your Assemblies of God denomination. So though it’s outside the Bible Belt you should feel right at home! Don't stay for the sermon, however. They gave up the fire-and-brimstone centuries ago.

3. Walden Pond

During the Second Great Awakening of the early nineteenth century, as America was turning on to Jesus, Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were looking to find God not in church but in nature. “Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand,” Thoreau wrote.

Thoreau, of course, did that experiment of his at Walden Pond. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

More than 140 characters, I know, but pretty good as aphorisms go.

Anyway, it seems to me that Thoreau's ways of living and dying are worth pondering, and after you've done that you have to admit that there are a lot of "spiritual but not religious" voters out there (not that that matters, of course).

Anyway, it’s worth a try! Though you won’t find any moose to shoot in Concord.

4. Hill Cumorah

I'd like to send you to the Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts, for a little slice of Buddhism or to New England’s first Hindu temple in Ashland, Massachusetts, but whistle stops like that would be like red meat (or tofu) for the "lamestream media."

So here’s a more practical suggestion: one of Mormonism’s most sacred places, Hill Cumorah in Palmyra, New York.

This is where the golden plates that God (supposedly) revealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. through the angel Moroni were buried, and after Smith dug them up and "translated" them they became the Book of Mormon (the book, not the musical).

The best time to visit is early July when they are putting on the Hill Cumorah Pageant, Mormon America's analog to the popular Passion Plays of Europe. But even now it’s worth a visit.

I know you’re not running for president (at least not yet!) but let’s pretend for a moment you were. Wouldn’t it make sense to know something about Mormonism, given that two of your Republican challengers—Mitt Romney and John Huntsman—are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? (Just a thought.)

So that's where I think you should go. Safe travels, and (as presidents say), "God Bless America!"

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Houses of worship • Mormonism • Politics • Sarah Palin • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. Allah

    WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  2. PhilipPorembski

    the economic law is protecting the economy if the economic law were not
    protecting the economy they couldn't rehabilitate people for economic
    crimes committed because the economic crimes committed cannot be
    committed without the economy
    the above proves the economic crimes are committed because of the economic law ,if economic law WERE NOT protecting, economic crime COULDNT be committed , CAN'T WITHOUT YOU, because of you.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  3. Barking Alien

    Maybe the bus can stop at McDonalds where McFailin can have a Big Mac with her McSupporters and McPatriots. Afterwards they can share a soft serve and create more revisionist history.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  4. moi

    I dare her to come out to either CA, Oregon or Washington.....but since she can't handle any sort of criticism that won't happen.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  5. Reality

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Palin, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets.

    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

    (Currently, a perfect birth control barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one! In the meantime, mono-ma-sturbation or mutual ma-sturbation are highly recommended for hete-rose-xuals who need a contraceptive. Abstinence is another best-solution but obviously the se-x drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?)

    June 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  6. WOW

    What sad pathetic people we have here. We all blame politics, but look how grown adults act over one person. If you don't like her, don't vote for her. but god, grow up!

    June 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  7. MJB

    People are so afraid of Sara Palin its unbelievable. She and anyone else has the right to or not to run for any office in this country. People would be much better off studing both parties and seeing what they are going to do to get this country out of debt and going again. By the way many hospitals now are being given monies by Obama to not give us some procedures that we need to live longer. Lets halt all the free care to Illegals, then maybe we canget what we need for those of us that
    pay and pay and pay for out insurances and tax us to death to help out own.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  8. Leonid Brezhnev

    Please, don't burden the people of the above mentioned places with white trash like the Alaska hillbillies. They need to go back to Alaska and paint their trailer.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm |


    June 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  10. Peter

    Every spot that she visits has to do with WASPs. I would like to see her visit a synagogue, Chinatown, etc, to maybe learn that the "real Americans" exist in all forms. Think she'll do it? Don't think so. She is sending out WASP signals and she knows it.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  11. Bible Clown

    She should visit the nearest mental hospital and get a checkup.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  12. Palin Fan

    Keep on rolling saraaaaah.... show us what a fool you are. again.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  13. Oldie in TampaBay

    Stay away from Florida, please ... altho ...hmmmm ... she & Gov Scott might like each other. Both are idiots.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Patrick

      Well I'm from Florida and Voted for Rick Scott....and he is doing exactly what "we" hired to do....

      June 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  14. Brent Hall

    Well, it's an interesting "spoof" of sorts to a lip-service-giving, heart-far-from-the-Lord Palin, but a little off on the true spiritual intent of why this once-great nation was founded...and blessed by that Lord.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  15. Mack

    And once again, there's Piper – right up front. Not only am I sick of seeing $arah, I've about had my fill of Piper, "Little Miss Priss!"

    June 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Mikey

      Do those Palin children have a tutor along while they trail their mother around the country??? Or do they just not go to school at all?

      June 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Patrick

      Oh, the little haters......now your attacking Sarah's children?

      BTW....you do know that Sarah Palins Father, who is with them, is a former Science Teacher, right?

      June 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Patrick: Yes, of course, having a grand father science teacher ride on the bus with you is the equivalent of a full education.
      BTW: I agree with you on this though... Lay off the woman's children. She may have dragged them into the spotlight but the least we can do is not beat them up while they're there.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  16. Dave from GA

    How about the bus tour to London to visit the royal welfare family?

    June 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  17. Arlene Strickland

    Hey, there, Slappy...you ask: "Are you feeling pretty good about where we are today vs. two and a half years ago?"

    You bet your sweet bibby!

    We have an intelligent, thoughtful president who is respected all over the globe. An articulate leader who understands what the middle class faces every day. Someone who doesn't shoot off his mouth at every opportunity, but presents a reasoned approach and attempts to build consensus for his policies. Too bad you find it necessary to criticize him at every turn. Last time I looked, you were in the minority.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  18. cherrios

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha........ OMG!! SHe's such a joke!! Media hog and all she wants is attention/ I suppose she is not getting much up in Alaska.

    Hey Stephen Prothero, good points you added in your article. Honestly, Palin probably needs to brush up on her history and reading. She probably has no idea what you're talking about.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  19. larvadog

    Please, God, don't let her come to Rhode Island.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Patrick

      Who would want to?

      Once you see The Breakers all you got left is a "famous night club that burned and killed everyone in it".

      June 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  20. Matt

    Visiting Plymouth Rock would be a *perfect* stop for Palin – just like her and her teahadi supporters, it represents a small hyperreligious minority forcing the rest of the group into an intolerant theocracy. Plus they killed lots of brown people, so that's a big plus for conservatives as well...

    June 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • me


      June 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.