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. NorCalMojo

    ANOTHER Palin article! This must be the 20th just this week.

    CNN can't help itself. Palin is an irresistible force of nature.

    Enjoy the hate fest

    June 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  2. maxdenn

    Sarah Palin's claim to fame? She quit her job in Alaska.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  3. blake

    What is it with the left's obsession with this woman?

    June 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Susan

      You are so right! (Pun!) Who in the heck can take this woman seriously????? Pathetic!

      June 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Patrick


      There IS this thing called reality.

      She was in fact elected to public office many, many times. And she was elected to the "highest position in a State Government".

      Try, really try.....so say something intelligent.

      June 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  4. Patrick

    Matt, you don't know the difference between a billion and a trillion.......that would make a "college degree" doubtful.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • maxdenn

      Oh dear you're getting all upset. Calm down.

      June 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  5. maxdenn

    I'm willing to debate anyone on the "merits" and value of Palin "thought".

    June 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Patrick

      Debate? You can not debate the "thoughts" of another "unless they are present" and you are debating "them". You nor I can speak for Sarah Palin

      All you can debate "about someone else" is either your agreement or disagreement of their "published views" or "previous actions" and their affects.

      Anywho......give it a go.....let's see what ya got !

      June 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      I bet you couldn't go 2 minutes without resorting to an ad hom.

      June 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Patrick

      ...then begin.....

      June 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Patrick: There is nothing amiss with maxden's statement (except for the possibly overdone quotation marks). You can absolutely debate someone on the value and merits of another person's "thoughts" expressed in her previous statements. From your previous posts you seem to want to pick a fight with anyone who questions Palin's merits to the point that you don't realize maxden was neither expressing an obvious pro- nor anti-Palin stance. Seems a bit extremist.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  6. dina

    I am sick, sick, sick of this phoney candidate. Why does the media cover her every move. What does she have other than a pretty face and well coiffed hair.? She is so sucky and stupid.Just her annoying voice is enough to make one turn off the television. STOP COVERING EVERYTHING SHE DOES. SO WHAT IF SHE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT. SHE WILL LOOSE. SHE IS TOO STUPID TO EVEN BE A REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Patrick

      You're sick alright....

      ..if "you" think she is going to loose than you wouldn't care a bit......but we all know better than you and that is the "real reason" why you comment like a little school girl from High School.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • maxdenn


      June 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  7. maxdenn

    What exactly is husband Toddie Palin's function?

    June 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Patrick

      .....Husband....dim wit

      June 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  8. mary

    Total celebrity tour.. This woman is playing any angle she can..Just like any publicity hungry celebrity...
    Lime light... Money and keeping herslef out there as long as it makes her some money..
    The real sad shame is she would actually take a bid for vice president to be in the lime light.. Thank goodness people didn't go for it the first time..
    If there is any way she can buy her way into the presidential race.. Some people really are dumb enough, or hate Obama enough to actually vote for her.. And that is scary... I only hope this tour and all the publicity doesn't take her down that road..This "Mama Grizzly" needs to go home and work on another reality show... That would be giving some people what they want.. She is best kept in the status as "celebrity"... Leave the job of president, to some one with the brains to do the job..

    June 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Patrick

      Tell us, oh brilliant one, .......who is paying her?

      June 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • mary

      @ Patrick

      Books, TLC, Fox.. Do you live under a rock ? Well, like I said only the "stupid" would vote for her.. 🙁

      June 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Patrick


      "They" are not paying for 'the tour". Try again......

      June 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • mary


      Who said they were? I said it is about making money.. And by staying out there, seeking publicity means she will continue to get offers, keep her job at fox, Do another show for TLC... Be paid to speak, Write more books publishers are willing to publish.. And keep the cash rolling in...
      You need to finish school before you comment on adult issues.. You are obviously not educated on the need to stay in the limelight if you hope to stay a money making celebrity...
      Good grief... Why must you argue the obvious. ? :{

      June 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • mary

      @ Patrick.
      Never mind..I just read some of your comments... You are "star struck"....:)
      Got a Palin crush have you? 🙂
      Don't worry, she will be a relevant awhile longer, she's barely 50.. There are still a few good looking ' photo op' years left in her.. 🙂

      June 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  9. GSA

    She can come up to Canada and stop by my place, not so bright and hot is a perfect combo....hope my wife doesn't mind.
    We should ask Palin about the hook-up culture article that CNN has up, she would be more knowledgeable in that are than politics for sure.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Frogist

      @GSA: Not you too?! I seriously wonder about my male counterparts on this blog who find her attractive. I'm just not into dumb and vindictive, no matter how pretty! The very thought... ugh!
      BTW She might totally come up to Canada again if she needs some more healthcare... Lucky thing she doesn't mind illegal immigrants sneaking into countries to get free socialist... uhh I mean medical benefits... oh wait...

      June 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  10. Bailey630

    I want to start my own PAC so I can go on a free vacation in a custom coach with a driver!

    The saddest thing is that she has absolutely nothing to say! She has no original ideas, no suggestions...nothing. She has no knowledge of economics or even a realistic understanding of the Alaskan oil that she's so fond of "Drill baby, drill" -ing for. She's just a spotlight hound, who can't stand not to be in the public eye. She's a disgrace to mothers, Alaskans, and Americans!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Patrick

      Poor little liberal....still stuck on stupid.

      She ran a $11,000,000,000 budget. Saved taxpayers of Alaska over $1billion in savings from the previous corrupt administration. Reduced earmarks 80%. Ensured ALL Alaskans received nearly $2,000 EACH in royalty payments from "big oil", Sold the State Jet, Got rid of the Governor Limousine and driver, Got rid of the Governors personal Chef, and on and on and on.....

      Oh, she put in JAIL CORRUPT REPUBLICANS........

      June 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Matt

      Except none of that is true since Alaska has never SEEN an 11 Trillion dollar budget. If they have, then we know why we're in debt.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Patrick

      Oh Matt, you really "are that stupid" aren't you......and to vilify Palin? Priceless!

      $11,000 thousand
      $11,000,000 million
      $11,000,000,000 billion
      $11,000,000,000,000 trillion

      Boy, the State Education Camps have failed big time in the last 30 years.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  11. Matt

    I can suggest a stop for Palin. why not visit Niagara Falls and try the rides? I hear going off the falls in a barrel is the way to prove you're a "Real American". Never mind those liberal statistics that say everyone who attempts this comes to an untimely end. You know thats just the "Lame Stream Media". You know better. Go from your gut.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Patrick

      It would appear that your still in High School.....right?

      June 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Matt

      Oh yay, an age insult. I'm a college graduate with a bachelors in engineering. I am suggesting Palin take a short trip off a long drop. You might want to join her.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Patrick

      Matt, you don't know the difference between a billion and a trillion.......that would make a "college degree" doubtful.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      Thank you for your contribution, Mr Loughner.

      June 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  12. Russ

    And what does all the religion stuff, I'll say stuff instead of crap, have to do with anything. She's not religious just like most Americans. They pretend to be because that's what society expects. You know what, it's time to dump all that BS and just be nice to each other and respect each other and more than anything, keep your damn religion out of politics and government. There is no magical man in the sky, there's no heaven or hell, there's no end of times.........just get over it.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ..and by the sounds of your whinning and more folks coming to Faith ... sounds like you need to get over it and try to find ways to simply co-exisit.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • ElizabethBennet

      Well, I AM religious and I DO believe there is a Man in the Sky (as you put it) but I resent former governor Palin's claims to spirituality. She's astonishingly thin-skinned (turn the other cheek much?) and is quick to do unto others, then run (very un-Christian). I am a religious American and I am as patriotic as they come. But this faux candidate is a big phony.

      June 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  13. marty

    How about Gaza, Libya, Iraq, Iran, or North Korea ? These would round out her limited foreign policy credentials.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • rdb

      I think she went to Israel once. It's highly possible that she could see it from the plane... so she's got that one covered.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      As in the "knowledge" that the Libyan protesters were liberal students trying for a secular democracy. Yeah, the foreign policy "experts" really nailed that one.

      All the "experts" believed that one. If the knowledge is a fantasy, it's not education, it's misinformation.

      June 2, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  14. John N Florida

    Which news organization will be the first to 'pull' their coverage of this Campation?

    June 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Patrick

      What "news organizations"? They are all "advocacy outlets for Democrats".

      June 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  15. Brian

    "When is this ever going to end, the woman is a stupid, ignorant bottom-feeder."..................................Yes, but she is oh so "Christian." She belongs to a church in Alaska that practices glossolalia – speaking in tongues.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Patrick

      Oh yeah, she is what? You don't say?

      Wow, I didn't know you had to be stupid to be a Business Owner, Mayor, or Governor.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Matt

      Dont feed Patrick. The troll feeds of his own stupidity.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Patrick

      Matt "The Billion" speaks again...

      June 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      you just hate white women

      June 2, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  16. CSnord

    I would suggest a week-long stop to camp on the banks of the Lethe.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  17. Liz

    When is this ever going to end, the woman is a stupid, ignorant bottom-feeder. She invents history, makes-up stories, stirs up hatred and division all over this country. I find it incredible that after ruining McCain's run for the presidency, she has the gall to think she is worthy of the office. She is a vile, hate-filled woman who would yell fire in a crowded theatre if she thought she could get some attention from it. She is an embarassment to all working women. She sets us back to the days before we could vote.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The thing is what could get her into office are elitest attacks such as the ones folks are throwing up here. There comes a point when Libs step on so many toes that sooner or later they turn around and they have stepped on everyones toes.

      If Sarah holds on for a bit after Libs say you shouldn't be President because you ae not Ivy league, then all she will have to do is turn to the American voters and say, they think the same of you as well. Soon as she says to the voters that in the Libs eyes you regular folks are closer to me that you are too them...

      ... She could win.

      I still am thinking that Hill Clinton might run against Obama. In that case he does not make it out of the Primaries.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Frogist

      First of all characterizing not wanting Palin as president as all libs hate her because they are upper class twits who look down on the people is a blatant overstatement. Not to mention, a sad bias that I thought you said you weren't engaging in.

      And secondly, you know what, I don't want someone who isn't well-educated to be president. I want an intelligent, experienced, skilled, smart person. Seriously, I don't want some Joe Schmoe running the place because he doesn't deserve the post. That would be like marching into the headquarters of Coca Cola and saying, "I'm gonna run your company because I like drinking bubbly, sugary drinks." No one would dare take him seriously because he didn't put in the time or effort to become educated or experienced enough to prove his worth as CEO material. And anyone who looks at him and votes for him to take over the multi-million dollar business because they ignored the "elitist" qualified candidates for the guy who is "just like one of us" deserves the ruin they bring upon themselves.

      June 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  18. maxdenn

    Based on her politics only, I wouldn't cast my vote Mrs. Palin's way for anything.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  19. todd

    perhaps she should tour the inner cities and actually meet some of the people the policies she supports will damage the most.
    hell, visit the suburbs for that matter. meet some teachers and other public servants she considers leeches.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Patrick

      And what policies are "YOU" talking about?

      June 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  20. Garry

    I would suggest a stop at the nearest Psychiatric Ward..I think it would help everyone understand WHY she thinks she can run for President, because frankly...I am stumped as to why she would even attempt it...

    June 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Patrick

      The ward is filled with Liberal suffer Palin Derangement Syndrome......there may be one seat left for you though.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Matt

      Cool, you can join the pathological crowd of liberal haters. twit.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Patrick

      Hate? .....sorry that is for Liberals.....just go to ANY BLOG on ANY NEWS ORGANIZATION and read the Liberal Hate......

      ....and it IS true hate......especially if the world "Palin" is mentioned...

      June 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Patrick You are engaging in hate. You call people dimwits and trolls because they don't agree with you. You want to justify that by saying others do it too, but that doesn't let you off the hook.

      June 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
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