As a Unitarian Universalist, it is difficult to be critical of others for their beliefs as we are an inclusive religion that embraces many traditions. However, we are also a skeptical bunch. So when I heard about those who practice Spiritual Warfare, I have to admit I didn't know what to make of it, particularly as Sarah Palin belongs to an Assemblies of God church that is affiliated with these believers as some YouTube videos portrayed.
First of all, what is "Spiritual Warfare"? A NY Times article states "adherents believe that demonic forces can colonize specific geographic areas and individuals, and that “spiritual warriors” must “battle” them to assert God’s control, using prayer and evangelism." These believers are Pentecostals, but are a subset of the Apostolic movement. That is to say that not all Pentecostals are Spiritual Warriors.
The former minister in the video with Sarah Palin is seen declaring that Alaska is “one of the refuge states in the Last Days.” This from a prophecy popular in some networks that predicts people will flock to Alaska because of its open spaces and natural resources.
While I believe that people have a right to their own beliefs, it doesn't mean the rest of us can't find them hard to go along with. For me, this seems right up there with speaking in tongues, Dianetics, and other practices that seem to defy my logic anyway. However, I am somewhat comforted by this explanation offered by George Otis Jr., of the Sentinel Group which, according the the NY Times article "has helped spread the movement by producing video documentaries of spiritual warfare" who said, "we don’t respond with guns or violence. If we’ve got a problem with somebody, we’ll go pray.”
I figure if Mr. Otis and I are praying to the same God, it'll all work out. In fact, I kind of hope all religions would resort to prayer to fight their battles--it certainly would keep a lot of people from being killed.