Never original, not even in her characteristically tasteless jokes. Turns out, via the Federalist's Molly Hemingway, that Sarah Palin's "waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists” is merely a reiteration of an earlier, testosterone-pumped witticism, absent, naturally, the wit: "Waterboarding is when we baptize the terrorists with freedom."
Ms. Hemingway, presumably a good Christian, is livid:
Is waterboarding how we baptize terrorists? However powerful waterboarding might be (and whether or not it is defensible, a good idea or achieves the goals of those who advocate its use), it doesn’t hold a candle to the power of the Christian baptism, as historically understood. Does it deliver those who are subjected to it from the devil, as Christian baptism does? Does it give them eternal life, as Christian baptism does? Is it voluntary, as Christian baptism is? It is none of these things.
Notice anything peculiar about Ms. Hemingway's outrage? In case you missed it, she repeats it: "So it must be noted that, again apart from the debate over such interrogation techniques, waterboarding is the opposite of traditional Christian baptism."
I would think anyone who professes to follow the teachings of Christ would leap to an unambiguously profound condemnation of torture, rather than exclusively expressing indignation over Sarah Palin's "humorous" devaluation of the sacrament of baptism. After all, Christ split from the Pharisees over their allegiance to rituals, emphasizing instead the eminence of good works and human decency. How then could a Christian leave torture as secondary in conscientious importance to the act of baptism? How could torture be consigned to iffy realms of defensibility--be left as an open question in terms of whether it's a "good idea," or pragmatically useful?
If it's mere sacrilege that upsets the contemporary Christian, rather than what actually poisons our souls, then I'll take heathenism.