September 4, 2008
In her acceptance speech, Sarah Palin repeated the line from her Dayton announcement speech in which she signaled fellow evangelicals that she was one of them, to wit: "We are expected to govern with integrity and goodwill and clear convictions and a servant's heart." John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter explained the enthusiasm that greeted the final item the first time around as follows:
That reaction wasn't simply about approval of good government; the phrase "servant's heart" is a popular bit of Evangelical terminology, used as a short-hand for Christian humility. A quick web search reveals thousands of churches, ministries, and bands that use some variation of "servant's heart" in the title; there's even a residential cleaning service in Calgary called "Servant's Heart."
The term is so common, in fact, that Christian comedian Tim Hawkins has poked fun at it. "I hate it when somebody tells me I've got a servant's heart," Hawkins says. "It means they want me to start stacking chairs."
When Palin pledged to govern with a "servant's heart," Christians, especially those with an Evangelical background, had no trouble recognizing one of their own, even without the convenience of a denominational label on Palin's resume.
Lest you thought the culture wars were over.
This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.