The Wasilla Bible Church, the church that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been attending for the past few years, was damaged by arson Friday night (December 12), authorities said. According to the Associated Press, there were several people inside, including two children, when the fire was set.
Central Mat-Su Fire Chief James Steele said that the fire, which caused an estimated $1 million in damage to the church, was being investigated as a case of arson. However, Steele said that there had been no indication of threats against the church. “It’s hard to say at this point,” he said. “Everything is just speculation. We have no information on intent or motive.”
Sarah Palin visited the church Saturday. She was not at the church when the fire occurred.
Palin’s spokesman, Bill McAllister, said in a statement that the Governor told the assistant pastor that she was sorry if the church had been the target of “undeserved negative attention” as a result of the attention it had received during her failed attempt at becoming the vice president.
McAllister went on: “Whatever the motives of the arsonist, the governor has faith in the scriptural passage that what was intended for evil will in some way be used for good.”
Palin’s focusing of the attention upon herself is typical politician fare. The logic is foolproof. She goes to Wasilla Bible Church. She ran for vice president. Some people did not like that idea. Six weeks after the election, someone sets fire to the church she attends. The Wasilla Bible Church was the indirect target of someone politically opposed to the governor. It is all connected.
A psychologist would label such behavior narcissistic.
Governor Palin is not the only failed politician speaking out. In the current Illinois corruption case involving Governor Rod Blagojevich, former governor George Ryan, according to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, sent word from his prison cell that he was sorry for his misdeeds while in office. Ryan was sentenced to a six and a half years on various corruption charges and began serving his prison time in November 2007.
Just as Governor Palin could not let the Wasilla Bible Church be a simple case of arson that may have had absolutely nothing to do with her, former governor Ryan could not let the current controversy surrounding Rod Blagojevich’s 76-pages worth of federal indictments go without directing media attention toward himself.
That the fire at the Wasilla Bible Church is a serious matter and the perpetrator a threat to public safety, there is no doubt. The arsonist set the fire with people inside (who were alerted to the fire by the sound of the fire alarms and subsequently escaped). But governor Sarah Palin’s statement of remorse for the church getting “undeserved negative attention” is a presumptive statement far beyond the facts of the case thus far.
That it was Governor Palin’s church was enough for her to become the center of media attention again, and all without any statement from the governor. That she would make such a ridiculously unfounded statement is pure political maneuvering. Making herself or her politics the actual target of the arsonist gains her the sympathy of the electorate, even those in opposition to her, and galvanizes her supporters.
Offering commiseration to members of the church was one thing – and appropriate. Stating that her political ideology (and, by extension, herself) as being the possible reason behind this disturbing act is a reprehensible act as well.
And the arsonist may indeed be some left-wing extremist who believes Sarah Palin should join PETA and renounce her pro-life stance. But there are as yet no facts to support such speculation. Nor were there any facts about the intentionally set fire that warranted such a statement from her.
“There are so many variables,” Fire Chief Steele said. “I don’t want to comment in that direction.”
Some people, it seems, just cannot help themselves from doing just that.
“Anderson Cooper 360,” CNN Television