Couric: Your church sponsored a conference that claimed to be able to convert gays into heterosexuals through prayer. Do you think that gays can be converted, governor?It seems obvious to me that it should have been transcribed: "what my position is on homosexuality and 'Can You Pray It Away?'"
Palin: Well, you're absolutely wrong, again, on the facts. My church, I don't have a church, I'm not a member of any church. I get to visit a couple of churches in Alaska when I'm home, including one, Wasilla Bible Church, and that's the one that you're talking about.
Couric: Right. I think James Dobson's group … had a convention or a meeting there. And your church…
Palin: No, I think they …
Couric: …supported it.
Palin: The Wasilla Bible Church had a flyer that was part of a bulletin or something …
Couric: But you know what? That doesn't even matter. Let me just ask you the question.
Palin: Well, it matters, though, because, Katie, when the media gets it wrong, it frustrates Americans who are just trying to get the facts and be able to make up their mind on, about a person's values. So it does matter …
Couric: … you're correcting us.
Palin: But you are talking about, I think, a value here, what my position is on homosexuality and can you pray it away 'cause I think that was the title that was listed in that bulletin.
Palin is referring to the title of a program that was listed in a church bulletin. Not transcribing it as a title, in quotes, makes it seem as though she might be expressing an opinion. Indeed, that original transcript flaw seems to have led a copy editor to make it into a much worse blunder.
Look at the CBS article reporting on the interview with excerpts from the interview:
But what you're talking about, I think, value here, what my position is on homosexuality and you can pray it away, because I think that was the title that was listed on that bulletin.See that? "[M]y position is on homosexuality and you can pray it away...." It's not a question anymore! "Can you" has become "you can," and not presenting it in title form makes it seem as though she might be expressing the opinion you can pray it away.
The video clip with the article does not include that line, so it's very unlikely many readers will notice the way the words got rearranged, and I think many will read that as an initial statement that you can pray homosexuality away.
Back to the original transcript, as she goes on to refuse to say what she thinks about the power of prayer and sexual orientation:
And, you know, I don't know what prayers are worthy of being prayed. And I don't know what prayers are gonna be answered or not answered. But as for homosexuality, I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships. I have, one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years who happens to be gay. And I love her dearly. And she is not my "gay friend." She is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made. But I am not gonna judge people. And I love America where we are more tolerant than other countries are. And are more accepting of some of these choices that sometimes people want to believe reflects solely on an individual's values or not. Homosexuality, I am not gonna judge people.This seems to reflect good Christian values. I hear the echo of Jesus's words: "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" and "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
Now, Palin does speak of choice: "She is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made." Does that mean she thinks sexual orientation is a choice? It could simply mean that the friend has chosen to act in accordance with her sexual orientation. Oddly, that interpretation would mean -- if we apply logic -- that Palin too has a homosexual orientation. Settle down. Think about it.
If Palin believes sexual orientation is not a choice, then she should have said: "She is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice I have had to make." If I were to hold Palin to high linguistic standards, I would conclude that unless Palin is saying that she herself is a lesbian, she is saying that that homosexual orientation -- and not just homosexual behavior -- is a choice.