Obama, McCain, and God



12 comments

By Matt Sutton

Just when it looked like the role of religion in the 2008 campaign might be ebbing, Obama and McCain have brought it back, front and center. They just agreed to appear together on August 16 at a forum at Rick “The Purpose Driven ________” [fill in the blank for an instant bestseller] Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. (Ed—you can drive there).

Despite the embarrassing efforts of James Dobson to resuscitate the religious right’s old model of engagement, Rick Warren is clearly positioning himself to become evangelicals’ new go-to guy. This forum is certainly the kind of coup that the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson could only dream of. My only question is whether or not Warren will have his baptismal warmed up and ready for McCain should the maverick decide that after years of refusing to be baptized he finally wants to take the plunge.

12 comments:

Edward J Blum at: July 21, 2008 at 1:21 PM said...

I wonder how I can get some press credentials? I bet with a name like "Paul Harvey" that our eminent Paul Harvey has no trouble with objectives like that.

rjc at: July 21, 2008 at 1:48 PM said...

I'm guessing that McCain probably IS (has been) baptized, since he was raised Episcopalian. So it may not be the case that he's refusing baptism, it's that he's refusing the Baptist/evangelical form and meaning of baptism, which may say something about his preferences regarding religion's forms and functions more generally, which may also suggest why he and evangelicals don't always mesh.

Matt Sutton at: July 21, 2008 at 2:23 PM said...

RJC-I raised the issue since McCain's own current pastor has raised it. If I am remembering correctly, the pastor said that McCain could not be a member of his Southern Baptist church because he was unwilling to be baptized a Southern Baptist.

I agree--it is exactly issues such as this that may well illustrate why he and many evangelicals don't mesh.

John G. Turner at: July 21, 2008 at 4:49 PM said...

It is an impressive coup. As Matt wrote several weeks back, I wonder why McCain didn't begin by courting Rick Warren-type evangelicals rather than his Texas crank.

It does occur to me that the first sentence of the Purpose-Driven Life is a great stumbling block for candidates. Without being overly partisan, I'd have to say it's more of a stumbling block for Obama.

Matt Sutton at: July 21, 2008 at 5:57 PM said...

John--are you talking about the first line of the intro: "What on earth am I hear for?" or chapter one: "It's not about you." I am not sure how either line applies to either candidate more than the other. They both certainly think they know why they are here or they would not be running (although neither has gone GW Bush and claimed that God chose them for this job). As for the latter line, of course it is about them. People vote for who they like. What is most ironic about that line is that when Warren says it is not about you, he means it. It is really all about him (and his friendships with Bono and McCain and Obama).

Edward J Blum at: July 21, 2008 at 6:44 PM said...

Hmm... Rick Warren on President Bush: _Purpose Driven Imperialism_ or _Purpose Driven Dunce_ or _Purpose Driven Conversion_ or _Purpose Driven Denial_ or _Purpose Driven Torture_ or _Purpose Driven Violation of Personal Liberties_... so many titles to choose from.

John G. Turner at: July 22, 2008 at 9:05 AM said...

Sorry, I haven't looked at the book for a while -- I meant the "It's not about you" line. [Ed -- great titles].

I was trying to make a light-hearted jab at the messianic complex that has surrounded the Obama campaign. The "We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For" sort of stuff. Even liberal columnists sometimes refer to him jokingly as "The One."

More seriously, as someone who loves following religion and politics, I'm thrilled at the joint appearance. Too bad John Fea won't be on-site for us at this event.

Also, although there are plenty of young evangelicals fired up about Obama, I was surprised to see McCain leading him 62-18 in that recent survey. Also, it seems to me that the Religious Right leadership is finally getting behind McCain.

John Fea at: July 22, 2008 at 8:38 PM said...
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John Fea at: July 22, 2008 at 8:39 PM said...

I am happy to cover this event for the blog. Paul, what does our travel budget look like?

Paul Harvey at: July 22, 2008 at 9:10 PM said...

John: As for covering the event -- got any frequent flyer miles you want to spend? And I hear there's free food at Whole Foods if you just cruise around and sample all the goodies.

John G. Turner at: July 23, 2008 at 7:34 AM said...

Wholefood is especially good on the weekends!

John Fea at: July 23, 2008 at 1:45 PM said...

Sounds good. I will book my flight immediately.

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