Does McCain 2008 = Kerry 2004?

When it comes to religious politicking, some really intriguing (and ominous) parallels are developing between McCain of 2008 and Kerry … Continued

When it comes to religious politicking, some really intriguing (and ominous) parallels are developing between McCain of 2008 and Kerry of 2004. Let’s start by looking at some of the things that Red John and Blue John share in common, shall we?:

An opponent who is the second coming of Faith and Values showmanship: Say what you will about George W. Bush, but his ability to connect with White Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and Mormons, was pretty darn impressive. In terms of lighting up houses of worship he is matched–and probably surpassed–by Barack “Let-Me-at-that-Pulpit!” Obama (who has the added advantage of being able to whip entire sports arenas into a frenzy).

An easily discernible discomfort speaking about religion in public settings: When describing what John Kerry looked like while doing God Talk, journalists nearly exhausted the English language’s ample stock of words for psychological and physical discomfort. Terms like “hesitant,” “halting,” “unforthcoming,” “rigid,” “cold,” “insincere,” “distant,” have also been applied to Senator McCain.

An easily discernible discomfort speaking about religion that belies deeper religious convictions: By no stretch of the imagination, however, are the Johns anti-religious or even irreligious (though Republican operatives in 2004 were eager to draw precisely these inferences about the Democratic nominee).

Rather–and this is crucially important, tattoo these words on your forearms (or elsewhere) if it helps you better ponder their significance–neither John hails from a religious tradition in which emotive, public displays of religion are normative. Their upbringing taught them to be strong and silent about the divine. Both were thus handicapped by dint of not being affiliated with Evangelical faiths that place a premium on testifying about God’s greatness in front of others. Put simply, they wouldn’t know how to do the God Talk that Evangelicals crave even if they tried.

An incredibly debilitating germ of a story that simply won’t cycle out of the media’s sickly body: John Kerry spent much of his campaign defending himself from “communion-denial” stories”. Wherever there was an archdiocese and a journalist, there was an article about why pro-Choice Kerry was on the outs with Bishop O’Reilly. (Postscript: Kerry has the distinction of being the only major Catholic presidential candidate who lost the Catholic vote).

As for McCain, wherever there’s an Evangelical leader and a reporter, there’s an article about how Pastor Tim is displeased with the guy. This week, for example, in an interview with the BBC’s Jamie Coomarasamy, Southern Baptist Richard Land likened John McCain to a “third-rate fireman” (though he admitted he would vote for him over Barack Obama, whom he dubbed a “first-rate arsonist”). The McCain’s-Evangelical-Woes story has legs, wings, a nuclear-powered engine and appeal to every major newsroom in America. McCain’s team might consider addressing this problem.

A disorganized Faith and Values operation: Kerry/Edwards 2004 provides a textbook illustration of how not to do religious outreach. Campaign higher-ups looked askance at this form of politicking for months. By the time the polls led them to reconsider, they set up an F and V shop that was small, under-funded, understaffed and by all accounts something of a total wreck (see the discussion of some of these points in the ninth chapter of Dan Gilgoff’s The Jesus Machine).

It is too early to pass judgment on McCain’s religious outreach, but if you read through the aforementioned Evangelical-Woe stories it is repeatedly claimed that not enough reaching out is being done.

Reaching out to the press, apparently, is not a strong suit either. A few of us at “On Faith” have spent the better part of the past two days trying to get someone, anyone, from the McCain campaign to answer a simple question: do they have a director of national religious outreach (or some comparable position) on staff and what is his or her name?

Unless they misunderstood us to be asking “who is on Senator McCain’s secret vice-presidential short list?” their unwillingness to answer an unthreatening question is puzzling. (We were eventually referred to a person in charge of Evangelical outreach).

Granted it’s a busy time of year. Granted The Washington Post is a media outlier serving a niche market of vegans and Left-wing alpaca breeders. But at present I can see no reason to doubt reports claiming that the campaign has no one in charge of overall religious outreach. (The Obama people, and up until a few weeks ago the Clinton people, have precisely such an operative on staff).

***

The truth is that Red John and Blue John are comrades in arms, martyrs to the cruel gods of American religious politicking. They are both war heroes who have failed to make the case that extreme sacrifice for one’s country is something of a religious virtue.

They are both inwardly religious men whose natural constituency would consist of people who are just like them: believers who find excessive entanglement between government and religion either unnecessary or inappropriate.

They are both incapable of reaching this potentially massive constituency. Most likely because it remains politically disorganized and leaderless. But also because Red and Blue John lack the vision to identify this group, pander to it, and win it over.

(For more information about religion and the candidates check out Faith 2008 by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.)

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
June 19, 2008; 6:43 PM ET


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  • jkoch

    I don’t recall W ever giving a particularly arresting sermon or personal witness to faith. He trots out conundrums, like “Jesus is my favorite philosopher,” without anyone urging him to say whether that means a president is supposed to love enemies, feed the poor, give up worldly wealth, or let the first be last and the last first. Of course, the Religious Right would turn red with anger if he did. In the end, religion is only about 10% Book of Matthew; about 60% is an amalgam of reverence for country, military duty, property, ethnic tradition, and motherhood; and 30% is an urge to judge and expulse people who dissent, look different, or rock the boat.

  • Dwight

    Jesus stayed out of Politics, if he stayed out of politics, why can’t the rest of you libs keep religion out of politics.

  • WJS

    I’m more interested in how they lived their lives than their ability to proselytize. At the end of the day, moderate Democrats like myself look at McCain and we see a man who walks the walk. Whether it was Vietnam or politics, he has done the right thing. When he did the wrong thing, he made amends and sought to plug holes. In the end, he made an effort. He DID something. He gave us McCain-Feingold. He gave us McCain-Kennedy. He reached across the aisle, wrote some legislation, and got something passed or at least gave it a fighting chance. So whether he can pound a pulpit and do the PTL-thing is irrelevant to me. Bush was good at it and look where that got us.

  • EP Thorn

    Assuming all of this is true, you seem to not be mentioning Obama and the incredible (false) rumors about his religiosity. The American people will probably take McCain over the ‘secret muslim’.

  • MimiG

    If George is religious, give me an athiest! What a liar and criminal.

  • MimiG

    If George is religious, give me an athiest! What a liar and criminal.

  • Violator

    Here’s some questions: When can we get past all of this and get some candidates who don’t feel it is necessary to do the religion shuck n’ jive dance to try and impress a part of the voting block who spew vile and contempt at anyone who happens to think/look/act differently then them? Why must politicians continue to pander to the segment of this country that is the most closed minded and always tend to mire us in the thought patterns of an unseemly past? Why can’t we have a politician who says, “I have my beliefs, you have your beliefs, and that’s the end of the discussion.”?

  • frank burns

    John McCain is going to start

  • American Patriot

    There is a difference:Whereas Kerry was just a poor communicator.

  • James R. Pool

    Could it be the “religious community” might reach out to the candidates rather than the other way around? So far all I see is some religious figure jumping into the spotlight to either blast one or the other candidates or make some outragous comments that neither help or enlighten on the matter.

  • Fred

    I don’t recall George Bush preaching his politics from the pulpit. For some strange reason, Democratic candidates are permitted to do this, and churches which permit this political preaching such as Trinity seem to be able to hold on to their tax exempt status. Why is that?

  • American Patriot

    Yes sir, religion in America is more of politics, power and ego than god and humbleness. How can the same religious right that opposed Bill’s infidelity support McCain? James R. Pool:

  • reason

    “If George is religious, give me an athiest! What a liar and criminal.”If I were an athiest, I’d have a problem with this statement. Athiests don’t answer to any god, for they believe there is none. Why, then, would an athiest have any problem with lying or being a criminal? Who’s to say what’s right and what isn’t?

  • Texan Joe

    Oh lord, can one be this ignorant. Bush’s entire career was possible only because of pulpit politics.In 2004 he gave $500 millions to the churches that delivered votes and helped him get reelected. I can go on and on…….Democratic candidates ?Fred:

  • Corey

    Only in America will the media lend equal credence to scientists and ministers when it comes to matters of science.

  • Corey

    The noted astronomer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, states that only in America is he asked about his religious values and belief in God whenever holds lectures about the universe.

  • kentuckienne

    REASON: I object to the notion that the only moral compass comes from God or Scripture, and that without it we are doomed to lives of random cruelty and criminality. Are you saying that we cannot be empathetic towards our fellow man independent of faith? That’s a terribly sad judgment of humanity’s potential.

  • Anonymous

    John McCain was raised as an Episcopalian, a denomination noted for it’s restraint in matters of evagelism and proselytizing–he attended Episcopal High School, so he was steeped in that tradition. In addition he came of age in the late 50′s and early 60′s when separation of church and state were highly important issues in America–remember John F. Kennedy’s speech to the Baptist clergy? Ironically, in those days the Southern Baptists were adamant that government had no business in religion and vice versa. They believed that everyone had a personal relationship with God and no magistrate–secular or temporal–could come between a person and his salvation.My how times have changed….

  • Freestinker

    Kentuckienne,Religion good. Atheism evil.Didn’t you get the memo?

  • Arminius

    Reason,If you really believe that any religion has a lock on morality, then you are not looking at your fellow man. I have known many non-believers that are very decent people. Anyway, if atheists are so bad, why does the very religious country of America have the highest prison population per capita than any other country? And why is that prison population overwhelmingly religious?

  • SoupBoneJones

    I agree 100%. Its funny how on fathers day Obama was at church, and McCain was at some townhall meeting playing bingo or something. The truth of the matter is this, we say alot about GWB, but at least you felt he was a man of faith. McCain only pursues religion if he can get a few votes.Obama might have his Trinity problems but a least you get the since he actually attends service. McCain seems more inclined to rest.

  • Reason

    “I object to the notion that the only moral compass comes from God or Scripture, and that without it we are doomed to lives of random cruelty and criminality. Are you saying that we cannot be empathetic towards our fellow man independent of faith? That’s a terribly sad judgment of humanity’s potential.”Yep — that’s exactly what I’m saying. Unfortunately, humanity’s potential is rather sad. After all, according to evolution we are “random” freak accidents of nature, right? So who’s to tell me what I can or can’t do?

  • Fred

    “Obama might have his Trinity problems but a least you get the since he actually attends service.”Wait just a minute — something’s fishy here. Obama said in the 20 years he was a member of Trinity he was never there to hear the hateful, angry, bitter, racist remarks of his uncle and favorite mentor Rev. Wright, but NOW he’s a regular church attender. Oh, he’s got problems all right.

  • Fred

    Texan Joe, you asked, “Democratic candidates ?My question is, where are you coming from? Have you not heard the king of political preaching coming from Trinity and many other like-minded liberal-leaning churches?

  • Republican Failures

    Republican John McCain (Bush III) is a weak candidate, but that does not give him the excuse to publicly insult his wife who is a recovering drug addict.In 1989, Cindy McCain became addicted to opioid painkillers such as Percocet and Vicodin, which she initially took to alleviate pain following two spinal surgeries for ruptured discs and to ease emotional stress during the Keating Five scandal, which involved her as a bookkeeper who had difficulty finding receipts. The addiction progressed to where she resorted to stealing drugs from her own AVMT. During 1992, Tom Gosinski, the director of government and international affairs for AVMT, discovered her drug theft. Subsequently in 1992, her parents staged an intervention to force her to get help; she told her husband about her problem, attended a drug treatment facility, began outpatient sessions, and ended her three years of active addiction. In January 1993, McCain terminated Gosinski’s employment on grounds of budgetary reasons. In spring 1993, Gosinski tipped off the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate McCain’s drug theft, and a federal investigation ensued. McCain’s defense team, led by Washington lawyer John Dowd, secured an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office that limited her punishment to financial restitution and enrollment in a diversion program, without any public disclosure.Meanwhile, in early 1994 Gosinski filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against McCain, which he told her he would settle for $250,000. In April 1994, Dowd requested that Maricopa County officials investigate Gosinski for extortion. The Phoenix New Times was about to publish a negatively-cast article about the whole affair. Cindy McCain pre-empted this by publicly revealing her past addiction, stating she hoped it would give fellow drug addicts courage in their struggles: “Although my conduct did not result in compromising any missions of AVMT, my actions were wrong, and I regret them.” A flurry of press attention followed, including charges by Gosinski that she had asked him to lie concerning her drug use when the McCains were applying to adopt their baby from Bangladesh and statements by past AVMT employees that Gosinski had once threatened to blackmail her. The Arizona Republic published an editorial cartoon ridiculing the motivations for her AVMT work and an award dinner in her honor was canceled citing poor ticket sales. In the end, both Gosinski’s lawsuit and the extortion investigation against him were dropped.AVMT concluded its activities in 1995. That year, McCain founded a new organization, the Hensley Family Foundation, which donates monies towards children’s programs in Arizona and nationally, and she was largely a stay-at-home mom during the balance of the 1990s. She also held positions as vice president, director, and vice chair of Hensley & Co.

  • Lucifer Belsebub

    Neither Obama nor McCain is running for Arch Bishop.So Jaques, you can take your crusifix and suck on it.

  • Heres a Challenge

    Does McCain 2008 = Kerry 2004?Not even close.But how about …Does Obama 2008 = Carter 1980?

  • AZAnne

    “Normative”?

  • StopTheHate

    Ok…so W has been “pretty darn impressive” connecting to the christian fundamentalist vote in the US. He is also broadly considered the least competent person to sit in the Oval Office, has moved this country from one horrific debacle to another, has shown deadly indifference to minorities and those of lesser economic status, and has presided over and ignored a fully constructed economic meltdown which may take decade or more to manage. Simultaneously, W has the lowest approval ratings ever for a sitting President, has made the U.S. into a defender and user of torture (which the bible certainly would not justify), and has watched his ‘defenders’ turned journalism and media discourse in this country into as hateful and parasitic a practice as it probably has ever been. If this is a correlation to the surge of ‘god talk’ and how to bond with this fundamentalist vote, I might argue that it is time to deconstruct this priority and allow people to run on issues and their own history. It is time for the press to stop asking about personal religious beliefs and look for this in a person’s actions and agenda. God has certainly not been a helpful partner in this country’s electoral processes.

  • Paul B.

    I like the third-rate fireman / first-rate arsonist metaphor. Nothing for me to get excited about with McCain, but plenty to alarm me about the thought of Obama sitting in the oval office. It’s going to be an interesting campaign, with the main question being whether the media will coddle Obama. Today’s WP editorial lacing into him for his campaign snooty finance hypocrisy is a hopeful sign.Also, Perot’s reentrance of late into the public square can only mean he intends to replay 1992, electing the Democrat.

  • BGone

    Does McCain 2008 = Kerry 2004?Only if the bishop makes a vote for McCain a mortal sin.The population of earth is increasing at a rate of:The land mass of earth remains constant except a lot of it will go “under water” permanently, (foreseeable future) in the next 20 or so years.Nutrients in the earth are being sucked out in food producing crops used to make fuel for automobiles.I’ve just mentioned a couple of reasons the bishop should make a vote for somebody a sin. But is it McCain? However will the earth survive with people practicing birth control, gays getting married to each other and women getting abortions?Here’s the solution: We know 2,747,077 new people every year with that many new automobiles with tanks to fill is beyond earth’s capabilities. So we’ll create two classes of people. A small group of people who have everything and the rest who have nothing, kinda like ancient empires so admired by the better class of people right now. So nothing needs to change. All we need do is recognize our place, get in it, set down, shut up and hang on,, what one tells mother in law when taking her for a drive.If you can’t laugh about it you’re lost. Which candidate will cast the first laugh?

  • William C. Elwell

    When offeared the opportunity to rule the earth, Jesus declined.

  • William C. Elwell

    When Jesus was offered the opportunity to rule the earth, he declined.

  • StopTheHate

    “I just said that if you are an athiest it would be hard to define what is good and what is bad. If there is no god, then who decides such things?Secondly, I wasn’t aware that the prison propulation was overwhelmingly religious.”REASON…As a matter of fact, the most evil and vile practices we see being justified and perpetrated by this country are by the ‘christian’ President of the U.S. and his most ardent…and self-professed christian…supporters and fellow politicians. If their work here is based on and decided by the word of their god, we really do have a problem.Remember that Atheists are not running our amoral government, but those who connect with christian fundamentalists in a “pretty darn impressive” manner. Atheists do not have to answer to an alternately constructed reality which does not actually have any day to day influence for or accountability over their actions. Atheists are accountable to themselves and the ‘god’ of human interconnectivity. Fundamentalists, on the other hand, have too often used how they expected to be ‘judged’ in the hereafter as a basis to engage in what the rest of us consider rather irresponsible and indifferent behaviors in the here and now.Atheists, on the other hand, are accountable to themselves and their own…to the decency of humankind and to the way that they, themselves, want and expect to be treated. Atheism does not reflect either randomness or disconnection but, rather, a way of assuming PERSONAL and INTERNAL responsibility for conduct and actions. Perhaps it is in the need for your external decider…with each group translating this differently…that the problems lie rather than through those who recognize their association with and respect for others of wide belief and life style. Atheists also do not have the ability to take it upon themselves to visit the ‘wrath of god’ on those who either don’t believe in a certain structure or who are not recognized by that structure (like gays, other religions, and Atheists, for that matter).Before passing further judgement, I’d suggest a little more personal reflection and self evaluation.

  • Tim

    Kerry was proven to be a phony war hero by those who served with him. John McCain is the real deal, a real war hero. Nobody who served with John McCain is raising issues regarding his heroic actions during the Vietnam war. Kerry had real problems with his church because he was directly in conflict with the teachings of his church regarding abortion. He has even supported late term abortions, which is really an extreme position on the whole subject. John McCain has always opposed abortion. He is more Catholic than Kerry in this regard, even though he does not belong to the Catholic church. It is not what they say it is what they do that counts and many more Catholics will probably vote for McCain than voted for Kerry.How anyone can equate McCain to Kerry on the issues of religion and war hero status is bizarre to me. Kerry is also a career liberal who was in line with the controlling liberal wing of the democrat party. John McCain has been consistently an independent. Just ask any conservative Republican and they will tell you that McCain is not their first choice. This is another key difference between the two. One is a main stream member of his party and the other, McCain, is a maverick.

  • BGone

    William C. Elwell:You’re guessing and as usual with guessing, guessing wrong. Even the Bible/Gospels and OT phony prophets alike paint a picture of the Messiah as a political figure that saves the Jews. That salvation was from endless occupation by foreigners which makes the OT a laugher.Palestine never had local rule. The earliest records going back 5,000 years shows that the Egyptians occupied “Judah” until the Persians, 600BCE. Then came the Greeks and next the Romans who dispersed the Jews. The stories of Israelite kings is absolute nonsense.The Romans like all ancient empires had an economy based upon robbery. The last people they robbed were the Jews. What they got was a pile of 850+ nonsensical documents from which they selected 72 and with a little editing to ease things together a bit created the Bible which they used to create Christianity. Their history tells us Christianity like Judaism is deadly. The Roman empire that had prospered for over 600 years collapsed under the enlightened guidance of popes in less than 100 years of being a “Christian nation.”Today evangelicals are still trying to put that square peg in the round hole of holy, make Jesus the ruler using the Bible to get His orders, (empower Bible experts, ministers). What we are winning as a consequence is all about you. The real question is why would anyone want to preside over the disaster. It will take a miracle to prevent a total global economic collapse. Will Jesus return and save the world or watch it go down the drain while passing judgment on the living and the dead, hold the living?Operation PERP is just around the corner. Which candidate is best qualified to do it?

  • Karen

    John McCain is an Episcopalian pretending to be a Baptist to reach an electoral constituency rather than a person pursuing a sincere religious path. Of course he looks awkward. He IS awkward. He isn’t speaking the same language and it comes through as patronizing and contemptuous. The religious right has been burned by Bush and they are wary. Rightly so. They don’t trust him. Rightly so. When someone is a religious phony, it comes across quickly. He would do better to present himself as an Episcopalian and be real. That’s why Huckabee did so well with evangelicals. He is real. He is so real that Jews, Catholics and other folks trust him even if they don’t share his religious orientation. He’s a person who is at home in his faith. He is likeable and trustworthy because he is who he is. McCain is stiff and clumsy. It is wrong that people have to speak of God at all on the stump. St. Augustine said that “God is closer to me than I am to myself.” That means it’s an intimate relationship and a candidate should no more have to speak about that than about his experiences in bed with his wife.

  • Bernie Schaeffer

    My Jacques, how you do carry on!

  • Pedant

    Good article, professor. But shouldn’t your third point read ” . . . that does _not_ belie deeper religious convictions” or perhaps (if this is what you meant) “that in fact attests to deeper religious convictions”?

  • Reason

    Stopthehate, surely you are aware that evil is not limited to any one nation, people, religion or non-religion. Athiests are no exception. Communism is based on athiestic teaching, and Hitler practiced it as well. When you criticize Christians, what you’re really arguing is that if a person professes Christianity, then that person should live a perfect Christian life. You hold that person to a different standard than you do an athiest. But my question to you is, what exactly is that standard? Who determines it?

  • Wes

    About the only thing I like about John McCain is that he is uncomfortable talking about religion. It proves that he knows religion is a bunch of superstitious bull. I wish he had enough spine to come out and say it instead of sucking up to a constituency he obviously has no respect for.Wes, Oregon

  • Scout42

    Wes said, “About the only thing I like about John McCain is that he is uncomfortable talking about religion. It proves that he knows religion is a bunch of superstitious bull. I wish he had enough spine to come out and say it instead of sucking up to a constituency he obviously has no respect for.”I couldn’t have said it better!

  • Dom

    I say bravo to the Johns for not pandering to religious nuts publicly. Our politics should be about important national issues, not discussing bible studies.

  • Anonymous

    REASON…Communism is not so much ‘based’ on atheism but, rather, insists upon it inasmuch as the state does not tolerate competitors or dual loyalties. Hitler was actually more a fan of the occult than true atheism but, also, worked towards total and unquestioned allegiance. Hitler could hardly afford to share the ‘pulpit,’ so to speak, with another strong personality by way of clergy. But religion typically and very actively does this as well. That is, the more fundamentalist of nearly every religion do not broach split loyalties or those who question its self identified foundation. While some may be downright violent towards those who stray, many others seek substantial social and emotional sanctions against those who challenge from within. I also find your accusation that when “you criticize Christians, what you’re really arguing is that if a person professes Christianity, then that person should live a perfect Christian life” to be conflating different points. First off, I am not criticizing christians as a group but those increasing numbers who practice an amazingly hypocritical theology of intolerance, vanity, and ultimate self indulgence. When W is praising Jesus as his ‘favorite philosopher’ while justifying and promulgating overt torture and allowing the poor of New Orleans to die, there is a clear disconnect and incredible hypocrisy. Does such actions represent ‘christian’ beliefs?Not one of us are perfect and one person’s rightgeous and honest lifestyle can be another’s blasphemy. So while I certainly do not expect perfection, I do expect persons to practice what they preach. Don’t tell me how wonderful your beliefs are…show me. I most definitely do not hold those who profess atheism to a ‘different standard’ than those aligning as christians. And that standard is definable at its foundation by respect for diversity and tolerance of alternative beliefs.

  • Dr. Don Key

    Rightwing-extremist fundamentalists – Mormon or otherwise, will support the GOP candidate 9/10 times. There wasn’t anything, uhhhhhhhhh, impressive about George W. Bush winning most of the evangelical vote: 1) He’s evangelical, 2) He said what they wanted to hear, and 3) His policies were hard right from day one, catering to rightwing-extremist fundamentalists. Of course McCain will do more ankle-grabbing for the religious right, since he’s a Repub. That said, it’s refreshing that they can be Christian, without being fanatical or disingenuous about it. While most chickenhawk Republican leaders talk the talk, in order to please their affluent buddies in the defense business, Kerry and McCain experienced firsthand that “war is hell.” That sort of life experience seems to make veterans either more or less “religious.”

  • Mariano Patalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkJack Berlinerblau is right when he characterizes John McCain and John Kerry as “both inwardly religious men whose natural constituency would consist of people who are just like them, who find excessive entanglements between government and religion either unnecessary or inappropriate.”As a matter of fact, both men, fully conscious of the reason underlying the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, providing for the separation of church and state, which was and is to make it possible for the new United States of America to avoid the pitfalls and the evils of European regimes where Church and State were one, deliberately avoid entanglements between government and religion as violative of the Constitution–which, as President, they are commanded to obey, to defend, and to execute.Mariano Patalinjug

  • Anonymous

    response to: anonymous (June 21, 2008 3:51 AM)Great post, and I concur. As you mentioned, hypocricy is a problem. From my experiences in fundamentalist churches and schools, I’ve made the same conclusions. Another thing that bothers me about radical Republican fundamentalists, is that they ridiculously pick and choose what parts of the Bible fit into their very narrow world view. It’s a little bit funny: Republican politicians in Washington, pundits at FOX News, and preachers in the South take the most obscure passages in the Bible literally, if it suits their radical, rightwing agenda. Yet their addendum to the Golden Rule of “Love your neighbor” seems to be, “only if he’s like you.”

  • GeorgiaSon

    Oh, my goodness. Seeing someone hoisted on their own petard always gives such sweet satisfaction. Berlinerblau says about McCain’s campaign:”Reaching out to the press, apparently, is not a strong suit either. A few of us at ‘On Faith’ have spent the better part of the past two days trying to get someone, anyone, from the McCain campaign to answer a simple question: do they have a director of national religious outreach (or some comparable position) on staff and what is his or her name?…their unwillingness to answer an unthreatening question is puzzling.”With those words ringing in our ears, let me recast my constant refrain on the various blogs on “On Faith”:Reaching out to the contributors to Mr. Berlinerblau’s “On Faith” blog apparently is not one of Berlinerblau’s strong suit. A few of us at ‘On Faith’ have spent the better part of the past year trying to get someone, anyone, from the On Faith panelists to answer a simple question: will they ever deign to reply to at least some of the comments posted in response to the original opinion piece? Their unwillingness to answer an unthreatening question is puzzling.

  • Steve Canyon

    Ever wonder how John McCain survived five plane wrecks? God Is His Co-Pilot

  • Drill Drill Drill

    Three reasons McCain will win unless Obama does another flip flop.Obama is LIBERAL is worn out trash from yesterday.Obama is an ELITIST won’t fly because no one knows what that is.Obama is an ECOLOGIST will cost him the election. It will be sold by “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.”The real comparison is Obama and Kerry not McCain and Kerry.The most recent survey shows 86% (same percentage as people of faith) of Americans see oil as their number one problem. That’s oil and not energy unless portable is put in front of energy. If a car that went a thousand miles on a battery charge was available it doesn’t solve the problem for the tens of millions of gasoline only vehicles owned by people already so deep in debt they can barley make the payments on them.Drill drill drill leads to win win win. Ecology, the other great faith is also dead in the water, out of oil to fire the boilers. And it’s the GOP with the pro choice, pro choose to drill and fill’er up candidate.

  • autonomous

    Comparisons between Kerry and McCain are completely false for one glaring reason – with Kerry, we’d never be in Iraq with all the incumbent costs in blood and treasure, and with McCain, not only will we stay in Iraq indefinitely, we’re very likely be in Iran as well – if Bush/Cheney doesn’t get us there first.It does look as though Israel has been given the silent nod to proceed with their recent promise of an ‘inevitable’ war with Iran. You think gas prices are bad now? To say that McCain is a maverick is hubris of the first degree – he’s a bendover rubber Republican that has voted with his party over 95% of the time, and has even reversed his own stand on immigration as part of his right-wing suckup campaign. McCain is yesterday’s news from start to finish – while Obama is something of an X factor candidate, McCain is a known quantity….and he keeps getting a pass in every major media outlet. You wonder if Rupert Murdock bought Newsweek when no one was looking, given the pro-McCain spin they frequently publish of late.Oh ya, Kerry and McCain both serve in the Senate and have rich wives – and are best of friends. However, McCain’s defense of Kerry was tepid at best when Kerry got swift-boated last time out – and McCain knew better….as it turned out, Karl Rove had manufactured and staged the entire charade – total lies from start to finish. The democrats aren’t mean and nasty enough, underhandered enough, or populated through and through by amoral and inveterate liars like the GOP – that does put them at a great disadvantage to be sure. Everything comes full cycle, and that puts the GOP at a very distinct disadvantage this time out.

  • Arminius

    Four reasons why Obama will win:1. George Bush

  • Crempole Stalwart

    >>Granted The Washington Post is a media outlier serving a niche market of vegans and Left-wing alpaca breeders.What planet are you on? The Washingpost is serving a niche market of war supporters and McCain boosters. Laughable, utterly laughable.

  • Crempole Stalwart

    >>Ever wonder how John McCain survived five plane wrecks? God Is His Co-Pilot.He survived. Lets not find out what would happen to his passengers should they attempt to board the plane with him. Some people are just more prone to having bad luck, like George Bush and John McCain. Where would either of them be without their fathers smoothing their way through life? Some people make themselves successful on their own strengths. You can see where this is heading and you know I’m right. No more bad pennies in 08.

  • BGone

    I need to correct myself. The population of the USA and not earth is increasing by nearly 3 million per year. The population of earth will pass the 100 million per year increase soon if not already.Once upon a time Americans were almost exclusive in the personal gas powered transportation department. Recent figures shows that China alone is adding 25,000 new cars to their roads every day. Yes, day. That’s about one million per year. India may be doing more, don’t know.It doesn’t take a lot of smarts to realize mother earth has just about had it with people. Great upheaval is in the offing. One of the earmarks of prior great upheavals is “a change in religion.” I have an E-mail this morning from a news agency saying “pro life” enthusiasts expect to make a big splash at the Democrat convention.The illusive “God vote” is surfacing in a rather strange place. Jacques should be happy. Will Democrats become evangelists? Seems the evangelists are becoming Democrats just in time for something. But what?Drill drill drill is the winning position. Telling Bubba to take the bus to church will keep him out of church. Will Obama flip flop, sacrifice one religion, Ecologism for another, Evangelism. That would surely make Bubba happy.Maybe there’s still another religion that get’s Bubba a full tank and into church too? Give Bubba an “old time” tank of gas if you expect him to stay with that “old time” religion.Is the gas even there in the ground? Only God knows for sure. Let us stop preying and start praying. Possible but not probable.

  • Earl C

    John McCain has one big religious problem as I see it: he is not a member of the church that he has attended for many years now. One must ask why? North Phoenix Baptist Church, pastored by Dan Yeary, is quite a church. You will never hear overblown rhetoric or sermonizing from the pulpit in that church. However, John McCain has chosen not to join the church. One must ask why? Will McCain have the same lack of attachment to the highest office and institution of this country?

  • BGone

    Earl C:You’ve bumped into one of them absolute truths – the truth is not important, what people believe is important. That’s the heart and soul of faith you know.McCain received the same treatment as Kerry on the war hero front by the same ones that did it to Kerry for the same person, W.Those were easy ones. They did that to a fellow in a wheel chair with missing limbs, in Georgia I think – made him look like a draft dodger. It’s the difference between a draft dodger and a bullet dodger.

  • whm99

    Uhh, in response to John McCain surviving 5 plane wrecks because “god is his co-pilot”:I think I’d get another co-pilot. “God” obviously has no business behind the controls of an airplane if he let McCain’s crash 5 times.Don’t these mythical beings get flight training? I think a 12 year old with a couple years of “Flight Simulator” under his belt might be a better choice for co-pilot.billm

  • whm99

    Uhh, in response to John McCain surviving 5 plane wrecks because “god is his co-pilot”:I think I’d get another co-pilot. “God” obviously has no business behind the controls of an airplane if he let McCain’s crash 5 times.Don’t these mythical beings get flight training? I think a 12 year old with a couple years of “Flight Simulator” under his belt might be a better choice for co-pilot.billm

  • Chaotician

    McShame is a bungling idiot; owned heart and soul by the Corporate Fascists who having been given the nation by George and Dick; do not want to give back any part of their acquisition! It would be much better for the “religious” folks to do a “gut” check of what they really believe and why; why do their give their money and support to men and women who live the very definition of the “evil” that is used to bilk them of their wealthy and self-respect? Why do people believe such nonsense as the “Bible” when it is so obviously pure fantasy and “hookum”? Take Mormanism; Christianity with added nonsense by an admitted and convicted Con Man, notable only by the absurdity of their “religion” deviance from “main stream” superstitions!How can their be a religion based on the divinity of a man; when not one word of their “good” book was written by their presumed GOD? Who really invented Christianity; and why did they pick Jesus as their nominal divinity? Why did they add all of the “Pagan” pagentry? Why do the “religious” priests wear such medival costumes? Why has their been no “Godly” visitations since Man has had the capability to actuially record and testify on such “appearances”? Why is marketing trickery needed to “sell” God to the “faithful”? Why does building bigger and bigger “stadiums” for God; please God? What is the really psychological benefit of “belonging” to a religious cult provide? Why does a cult that has “official” sanction provide any superior experiences or satisfaction? Do people really believe the Pope is someone special? Able to speak to and for Jesus; who is a 1/3 God? What ever happened to that mean ole nasty Father of Jesus anyway?

  • Chaotician

    McShame is a bungling idiot; owned heart and soul by the Corporate Fascists who having been given the nation by George and Dick; do not want to give back any part of their acquisition! It would be much better for the “religious” folks to do a “gut” check of what they really believe and why; why do their give their money and support to men and women who live the very definition of the “evil” that is used to bilk them of their wealthy and self-respect? Why do people believe such nonsense as the “Bible” when it is so obviously pure fantasy and “hookum”? Take Mormanism; Christianity with added nonsense by an admitted and convicted Con Man, notable only by the absurdity of their “religion” deviance from “main stream” superstitions!How can their be a religion based on the divinity of a man; when not one word of their “good” book was written by their presumed GOD? Who really invented Christianity; and why did they pick Jesus as their nominal divinity? Why did they add all of the “Pagan” pagentry? Why do the “religious” priests wear such medival costumes? Why has their been no “Godly” visitations since Man has had the capability to actuially record and testify on such “appearances”? Why is marketing trickery needed to “sell” God to the “faithful”? Why does building bigger and bigger “stadiums” for God; please God? What is the really psychological benefit of “belonging” to a religious cult provide? Why does a cult that has “official” sanction provide any superior experiences or satisfaction? Do people really believe the Pope is someone special? Able to speak to and for Jesus; who is a 1/3 God? What ever happened to that mean ole nasty Father of Jesus anyway?

  • Rich

    Reasons why McCain will win:1. Abortion