Rick Warren: Official Pastor of Campaign 2008

I’ve been trying to decide which is more troubling: That our two candidates for president are making their first joint … Continued

I’ve been trying to decide which is more troubling: That our two candidates for president are making their first joint campaign appearance at a church, or that the pastor of that church has put himself in the position of campaign moderator.

I’m leaning toward the pastor.

Politicians will be politicians, after all. John McCain and Barack Obama are running for office and everything they do is calculated to win votes. They both want and need the evangelical Christian vote and they have shown they are willing to do just about anything to get it. We expect that, and so far we seem to be OK with that. What if their host Saturday evening wasn’t Rick Warren but Pat Robertson? Or Jeremiah Wright? Or Louis Farrakhan? Imagine the uproar.

Rick Warren’s role in this made-for-TV event is even more distressing and possibly just as calculating.

Since all but endorsing George W. Bush in 2004, Warren has wisely and commendably avoided getting involved in partisan politics. “I have never been considered a part of the religious right, because I don’t believe politics is the most effective way to change the world,” he told Time magazine.

Neither did Warren’s Lord and Savior.

So why is the pastor of California’s Saddleback megachurch pastor inserting himself into such a high-profile and high-risk political role? Megachurch megalomania? Only Warren knows for sure. In an email he sent to On Faith moderators Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham, Warren explains the purpose of Saturday’s Saddleback Civil Forum:

“Debate and town hall questions typically deal with hot political topics like the war, the border, the price of oil and reaction to campaign statements. While important, these tend to be short-term issues on which the candidates have repeatedly stated their positions. The Saddleback Civil Forum will focus on the core convictions of each candidate that would shape how each one would lead and their views on America’s role, direction, and culture.”

If there’s anyone who can get to each candidate’s “core convictions,” it’s Warren. But McCain and Obama are battle-tested campaign veterans. They won’t be speaking off the cuff or from the heart. They will be reciting well-researched and rehearsed responses. They won’t be testifying. They’ll be dictating.

However sincere his attempt, however well-crafted his questions, Warren will merely be providing the candidates with another campaign podium — or in this case, an immensely respected and valued pulpit. Saddleback Church will become the backdrop for McCain and Obama political ads. (The Matthew 25 PAC, which has endorsed Obama, already is planning a TV ad to run during the forum.) Warren won’t be endorsing either candidate, but by their presence they will be endorsing him and his church.

I admire Warren’s ministries and the way he has handled his megasuccess.

I believe he is sincere when he says, “I am praying for a second reformation of the church that will focus more on deeds than words. The first Reformation was about beliefs. This one needs to be about behavior. … We’ve had a Reformation; what we need now is a transformation.”

I believe he is serious about following Jesus and attacking what he calls the five “Global Goliaths” – spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/poor education.

I believe he has set the standard for how megachurch pastors should handle their personal success. He and his wife Kay give away 90 percent of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by AIDS; Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries; and The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

If there’s any megachurch pastor in America who can resist the temptations of political power, it’s Rick Warren. But resisting political power isn’t the same thing as insisting that political power be compassionate and just. Asking political candidates about their core convictions isn’t the same thing as demanding they remain faithful to them. Asking powerful politicians to tell the truth isn’t the same thing as speaking prophetic truth to power.

Whenever a pastor gets tangled up with a political campaign, I’m reminded of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in “Strength to Love,” a sermon collection. “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state,” King wrote. “It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

Rick Warren and his church can’t be the conscience of the state when they are co-hosting a campaign event.

Is Warren is surrendering his moral and spiritual authority here? Does the pastor of any church, or any religious leader for that matter, have any business playing any sort of political power-broker role, especially in a place of worship?

About

  • Ralph

    We have let the influence of show people take the place of people of knowledge and even temper, by permitting a wealthy preacher/showman to moderate a forum between two men, one of which will be the President of the United States. What gives Rick Warren the right to make his brand of religion the backdrop for a totally political discussion? We might just as well let the first person who shows up for the show be the moderator, at least that person might come in with an even opinion and without the baggage of someone’s brand of religion. The idea that we should let Warren have a free, nation-wide forum from which to contaminate our political process is at once stupid and insulting to our method of selecting our President!

  • Cassy M.

    Ralph,I have to clear something up here. Rick Warren was chosen, yes; however, just because he is of “one religion” does NOT mean he’s going to judge/ridicule other religions. You shouldn’t jump to such conclusions. I’ve met Rick Warren at one of his church services personally, and there are many good people in this world, including him, who are not judgmental toward others’ beliefs, choices, etc, but rather accepting of, and he is one of them. It seems to me that the only judgemental person (and JEALOUS too, if I may add) — is YOU!

  • Pastor Jim

    In general I agree, but what do you say about Dr. Billy Graham’s “pastor of the White House” role? Our leaders need to hear and heed God’s counsel if indeed the moderator in question is hearing Him. Poor Rev. Warren! I guess he makes an easy target, and many have taken advantage of that target in recent years. Jesus’ primary adversaries were not the “godless” Romans (who in fact had so very many gods, none of whom could hear or help), but rather the religious leaders and pundits of his own ethnic people. Is there a parallel here?

  • Christine Valrico FL

    As a nonreligious person I am very offended by this religious forum. I will be voting for Nader/Gonzalez 08.

  • Jay

    The phrase “vote your conscience” as an edict to choose the best person for the role according to one’s beliefs and values would seem to connect the political process with the “state’s conscience” – the church – as defined by MLK in the article. Therefore, maybe the church should be more involved in the political process, not less. Maybe Warren is doing something more churches should do, even on a local political level. I say: no ‘maybe’ about it; it’s a great example of actions that follow belief.

  • Santa Claus (is my legal name)

    I’m hopeful that Pastor Warren will have the courage to ask both candidates what their policies and initiatives will be regarding the 2 million children in the U.S. annually who are abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, homeless, and institutionalized through no fault of their own. That number represents 1 out of 37 children in our great nation. That also means there are at least 50 million adult voters who, when they were children, experienced the same suffering and political indifference these vulnerable children in dire circumstances do today. It is shameful that neither candidate has addressed children’s issues during their campaigns. Children are our future. I am a Christian Monk and children’s advocate. My legal name is Santa Claus. I am a candidate for President of the United States, and am permitted to run for President in 16 states so far. Stay tuned. http://www.SantasLink.net

  • Ed

    Once again this atheist will vote the Libertarian ticket. We’ve already had one ‘evangelical’ president…..that worked out well, eh?

  • Jake M

    The idea that it is insulting to our method of selecting our President is ridiculous. Our method of selecting our President involves an election. This forum is an attempt to educate the people that will vote in that election on the candidates. That being the purpose, there is no restriction on who has a right to host such a forum. The only question is who would be most effective at hosting one. I can think of no one better than a respected leader.

  • Urojen

    It is mindboggling that religion which should be a private affair has made inroads into all public aspects of life.The politicians have no choice but try and appease the evangelists who have had a strong say in the recent presidential elections.This is a dangerous trend as values promoted by this group of people are parochial and strongly self serving without any larger consideration of social or environemental issues.Religion has been the reason why pople have been spewing hate and killing each other all over the world.Strangely religion originated with the purpose to unite people with basic values based on which people would live harmoniously as a society.Basically all religions preach same or similar values.It is the religious leaders who have been playing people aghainst each other in an attempt to establish their supremacy and power.It is time for religion to move over from public arena and people to come together for a social cause which is preservation of the universe: preservation means eradication of poverty,eliminating socioeconomic inequalities and dealing with global climate changes.I am still hoping for that day!

  • dave

    trusting the judgement of the future president of the united States It sounds to me like a great choice was made for moderator. Spiritual values are core in the US. Sure there are organized efforts to turn the spiritual into ignorant sheep following evil leaders. Pat Robertson wrote the book on how to do this and I am sure thanking GOd that this is not being moderated by a corporate/empire idol worshiper like all religions have produced and many have been decieved by through history. this has been from the Jews who ruled in jesus times through the popes during their empire centuries and some luthrans and Catholics during WWII and the neocons religious right. From what I read about Warren he looks as close to one of the good guys as we have. I look forward to some revealing discussions

  • zenu

    I think Tom Cruise should moderate. As long as the canidates contribute $500 a piece that is.

  • chris

    I agree with you: this is really troubling. These so-called religious leader should lose their non-profits status and I can’t understand why they are not.

  • Grant

    I’m 56 and voted in every election since I was 18.I trust no political figure or any religious leader or famous person’s opinion. I am a Bible believing Christian who believes that God is still in control of World affairs to complete His purpose for His Creation. I suggest that all Americans Pray that God does not allow us to destroy ourselves within from the Imoral behavoir we all exibit. We are all sinners and we need God to help us one person at a time, so this nation will return to the Great Nation it should be, “Godly and God Fearing”. God Bless America. Get out and vote, stop complaining.

  • Giant Robot

    The liberal media keeps trashing religion and it’s importance every chance it has.They try to keep pushing “morality” out of politics saying it doesnt belong there. But that’s why we have “politics” in the first place because our society is losing morality. (murder, theft, crime, abortion, etc, etc)If our society had more morality, then there wouldnt be murder, crime, theft, abortion, etc and then there would be no need for a government of politics to police us.The liberal media is trying to bash religion but don’t get the point that it’s “morality” we need in society with less government and taxes not less morality.The liberal media thinks in a very twisted way. They very thing they trash is the very thing we need in society to make it better.So whenever you hear someone from the liberal media trashing religion, then write down their name and keep a list. And whenever you see or hear that person again, just turn it off. They are not a crediable source to listen to.That’s why it is ever so important that Senator John McCain choose Mike Huckabee as his VP. Anything else is just turning society backwards into a animalistic society.The Republican party is “doomed” in 2012 if Senator McCain doesnt choose Mike Huckabee as his VP in 2008. Sure the conservatives will vote for McCain to defeat Obama in this election if he chooses someone else. But that’s the last time they will ever receive their vote if McCain chooses anybody other than Huckabee.Watch a whole new social conservative party be started by the millions the day after McCain makes the wrong VP choice. The new party will have 4 years to grow strong and form a new conservative party. It will be the last time the RNC can ever capture a win. If the RNC is thinking correctly, they would be encouraging Senator McCain to choose Huckabee otherwise these are the last days of the RNC.

  • William S. Coffman Jr.

    The concept of separation of church and state proceeds from the idea that the church needs to be protected from the influence of the state, not the other way around. Before assuming the American presidential campaign political process will suffer rather than be elevated by a joint appearance by McCain and Obama moderated by Rick Warran at Saddleback, consider why the candidates agreed to such an appearance, and what sort of forum is likely to result. Warren’s written works have done a remarkable job of presenting practical Christian ideas in a way that has helped millions of people. Is it unreasonable to hope that his approach to the presidential election might also have a positive effect?

  • Sydney

    All politics involves ideas on how power should be mobilized/used/restrained/etc. in the pursuit of larger objectives based on some type of worldview. Everyone’s worldview is impacted by their religion or view toward religion. Thus religious views openly stated to be associated with a particular faith system are relevant as those that seek strict neutrality in the name of secularism. To say that religious views should not impact politics is itself a view that the asserter would equally have to dismiss. There can be nothing such as a “religion-free political thought,” therefore.

  • One Love

    I think Urogen is on target. Although I differ in symantics. Religion is not the culprit per se, it is the consolidation of power by getting people to give up their natural/spiritual identity for a cheap man made version proped up by cheesy myths, revisionist history and fear mongering. When the artificial identity becomes more important than the natural identity the hatered and killin start. If you have named yourself, your already on the slippery slope…

  • Freestinker

    ” … I suggest that all Americans Pray that God does not allow us to destroy ourselves within …”Grant,That’s a harmless suggestion for Christians and other theists who believe in gods but who should atheist Americans pray to? It’s kind of silly for people to pray to gods that don’t even exist!

  • Brett

    Over the past fifty or so years our nation has turned exclusively to journalists for such moderation. While I think they have a role to play, surely we don’t believe that journalists are the only people in our nation who should be allowed to question our potential president.For most Americans the word conscience implies a searching of the soul for a sense of what is right and wrong in a given situation. For all of our nation’s history, such deep and profound decision making has been informed by the metaphysical.A balanced and compassionate pastor may not be the only person who has the right to ask our candidates to express their philosophies and vantage points, but he certainly should not be excluded simply because he is a pastor.Warren’s evenhanded involvement can go a long way in helping our nation to retreat from the uncivil conversations that have come to characterize our political process. There are too many Christians who are comfortable with Rush Limbaugh’s vitriolic attacks on his political enemies. (Those on he left are no better, however.) Warren will be radically different and I am hopeful that those Christians who tune in will, in turn, come to demand more civility from those we follow as result of Warren’s example. I expect Friday evening to be a refreshing opportunity to hear our candidates speak on foundational issues in a neutral and gracious environment.

  • Courtney d.

    I grew up attending Warren’s church in Orange County. After spending much time over the years with Warren and his family, I can confidently say that Warren holds himself responsible for the education of the church body. In each previous election, Warren has given the church materials (neither pro nor con) that allow its members to understand the issues at hand. As for Warren “playing any sort of political power-broker role,” one has to understand that, with a congregation of 50,000+ members, many of which may have little or no knowledge of the current candidates, bringing the candidates to the people is logical. Saddleback also has the funds and equipment to allow this broadcast to be available to people worldwide. Additionally, being that the United States was founded on Christian principles, who better to moderate the next president? While the author states that “Warren won’t be endorsing either candidate, but by their presence they will be endorsing him and his church,” the statement seems to be a little broad. Do the candidates, by visiting California before Alaska, endose California? Essentially, no. But, as a candidate, one must go to the venue that carries the largest amount of votes. Warren’s church is a leader in the Christian community and, even if the candidate was athiest, it would be foolish to turn down such an invitation.

  • Huckleberry for Veep?

    Morality starts in the home, not a police state. Jails are already full. Get the “conservative” hook out of your mouth. Turn off your radio. The presidency is not the office of domestic issues, your family and local officials are…duh.

  • John

    That spiritual values are at the core of the United States is really an excape from reality. Their is nothing about the behavior of the United States that is in line with the teachings of the Messiah Jesus. Really, give the Lord a break. It seems to be the evangelical fantacy to justify all sin as holy and excuse their selfish, murderous, and inhumane behavior by wrapping in self-serving twisted scriptural teachings. Evangelical is now a noun and lets stop treating it as an adjective. The word has come to its own definition as “a individual with an deceptive agenda of unreligious behavior justifying godless action by wrapping twisted, self-serving scriptual meaning.” And for the love of God, let stop using that word with the good name of the Lord as an adjective.

  • Texmex

    I strongly believe that we have gotten away from the core foundation this country was founded on, Trusting in God and being a god fearing nation people try everyday discard god from everything we do. the list continues growing in the wrong direction. There is not enough time in a day to write them all but a great start is Pastor Warren facing the men running for the most powerful office in the world. God Bless Paster Warren and may God continue to Bless America

  • Lynne

    In response to Courtney: The United States was NOT founded on Christian principles. Please get a history book and read it. Most of the founding fathers were Quakers. They made a particular effort to include the separation of church and state. Christians should concentrate on the larger message of the bible – you know, the part about feed the hungry, what you do to the least of my brothers, etc. Notice Jesus never started a megachurch???

  • Jon

    We have a one party theocracy, run by white male christians, who claim to have a direct hotline to their non-existent god – just like the muslims. It is unfortunate for the 10% of loyal Americans who are reasonable, rational and reject the religious superstitions and concurrent terrorism of the ages, that they too must pay the price for the delusional ones. Once the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are officially replaced by the bible all america will become the House of God and with that the sun will set for the next round of the Dark Ages and the Inquisition.jon

  • Mary

    When journalism was a profession not a bandwagon, repetition of private individuals’ claims about themselves, and their associated titles, would not have made it into reputable publications as fact or news. Just because a group of people gets together, appoints each other to certain roles, and hands out titles doesn’t make them what they say they are. As for the article’s argument, these huge groups’ memberships–licensed as religion–have patterned themselves after the world in their efforts to get spouses and careers, secure property, advance themselves materially and socially, and seek advantage for their children–always unto marriage and careers–in contrast to the whole idea of the Kingdom of Heaven as described in the good old bible. So they have a few progressive social ideas and their leader gives away a lot of money–so what? That doesn’t make them saints. Baptists without America would barely be able to exist. Who can picture American Baptists suffering like John Bunyan, or in the state of their weak outposts elsewhere in the world? It doesn’t seem odd that the source of their real strength–politics and civil opportunity–should be set up in their arena.

  • TREATY OF TRIPOLI, Article 11

    Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

  • Courtney d.

    Sorry, Lynne. I should have been p.c. and written “Christian” principles as the Quakers a denomination of Christianity (is that better?). However, they are still Christian. As for separation of church and state, Warren is not holding a church sermon while the candidates are present. He is simply allowing the church to be a venue. If you’d rather the event take place in a stadium, I suggest you write and complain about it.Jesus never did start a mega-Church. However, during the three years of his ministry, he did feed and preach to 5,000 people, which seems to be about the equivalent in that day and age. Speaking of feeding the poor, etc., Saddleback Church has been involved in worldwide donations for years, as are many Christians, so it is unfair to judge that the church only focuses on politics and issues that are not service related. Warren lives in a modest house and, like the story said, gives 90% of his incomes, which is in the millions, to charity each year. How is that not focusing on the bigger issue?

  • Rich

    How can you leave out of your article that the church is charging up to $2000 for a ticket to the event? There will be some free tickets available to watch on close-circuit TV on the campus of the church. Seats in the worship center range from $500 – $2000.

  • Michael Warner

    All I can hope for is that Pastor Rick will wear socks that day.

  • Aaron

    My view, a white christian, is similar to that of Dr. King. I believe political involvement is best summed by Paul, “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.. (2Tim2:4)” In the military I respected many members who refused to vote, citing that they felt morally obligated to remain neutral so that they could wholeheartedly support whomever was elected. In a similar way we “soldiers of Christ” (which the apostle Paul uses as metaphor) might be better off keeping our faith away from politics. Recall that the separation of church and state was the protection of the church from the state not the state from the church. If this had been practiced all along we may not have the debates that rage today. Marriage might still be under church control with the state simply granting contractual partnerships. Hot button topics such as abortion and pornography could be policed from within the church instead of asking the state to regulate (note: if all men claiming membership in Christianity were to stop using pornography for one week the industry would collapse). It is well worth our while to spend the time we chose to dedicate to moral issues in recruiting church members (evangelism) than campaigning. It is a complex issue and the candidates have a right to debate their morale standing but we have a right to keep our faith out of the picture.

  • Brad – FL Christian

    Pastor Warren holds this forum with or without the presidential candidates. He invited them as guests, and they accepted.The candidates asked for the coverage, not Warren. If God forbid they accepted an invitation to a Nevada brothel, we would blame the men, not the brothel. Worse yet, we would have disappointment, rather than the anger shown here. Furthermore, I would like to see our candidates in a forum where they might feel the need to keep all this negativity and political grenade tossing locked away. If they can’t behave themselves in church, what kind of leaders will they be? I guess they would be Godless leaders of the Godless country people want… Let me know how that goes for you.

  • TREATY OF TRIPOLY: Article 11

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

  • Wisdom and common sense

    Why is it that the candidates cannot address those of faith? The fact that a large majority of Americans are of faith, it would lead one to believe that addressing this group would make sense. A Town Hall Forum will NOT be a podium to indoctrinate atheists and agnostics, and to think this is absurd. Why anyone would believe that religion must remain in private is also absurd. Just as environmentalists can promote their beliefs, liberals and conservatives can promote their beliefs, people of faith can promote their beliefs. It is a free country and the poster who stated that the separation of church and state was to protect the church from the state is correct. Any attempt to stifle belief in God is protected, just as is the right not to believe in God. That door must swing both ways.

  • Not redundant

    Treaty of Tripoli,Are you having difficulty posting or are you just obnoxious? You can quit hitting the “post” button because posting the same info numerous times merely results in readers ignoring you and anything you have to say. Credibility, don’t lose what little you may have left.

  • Bruce Becker

    We have separation of church and state in the Constitution.It is being eroded by the two candidates participation, and the demand for such participation, in this event.The 27% fundamentalist Christians in the USA have no more space on their point of view than the Taliban does.England endured a religious civil war and the murder of a queen and a war with Spain, and the learning from that series of disasters is for we students of such English history to have no endorsed religious point of view in our government.

  • Wisdom and common sense

    Just for the record, it has been proven that Christians and people of faith give far more money to charity. In fact, it is the middle to lower incomes of people of faith that give far more to charity than any other group. This group is mainly in the red states. As for taking care of the poor, that is exactly what Christian groups have done for centuries. And for the poster berating Baptists, you haven’t checked your facts. Baptist missionary work is worldwide. Our church supports missionaries as well as sending relief groups annually into those countries where if caught, they could be beheaded. Our pastor is among those who go annually, and they take medicine, clothing, and all types of aide to the poor. The work is not done for publicity, and thus you may not realize the incredible work that is done by Christians, but it is done because it is God’s work.

  • Aaron

    You make a valid point if you assume that the only persons interested are fundamentalist Christians. Other surveys place practicing Christians (including Catholics) in the 60-75% of the population range. As I state earlier I agree with tenor but not with the tone of your arguement. I also believe that we should be wary of a pastor’s/church’s involvement in a political debate, however I don’t believe it to be as extreme as you state. I think that a pastor CAN moderate a debate and remain focused on broader issues of morality and leadership. Where I think we do a dis-service is stating that this type of moral debate raising to the equivalency to being in church worshiping God. Pastor’s are not one dimensional citizens but they must make their involvement clear. Hosting this event in his own church (and selling tickets, if that is true) crosses my ethical line.

  • Anonymous

    Bruce Becker,To equate in any way the Taliban with fundamentalist Christians is ludicrous and is what is the type of deranged thinking that is destroying this country. If Rick Warren is a fundamentalist Christian, than your 27% figure is profoundly incorrect.

  • Bruce

    I want this question to be asked: Do you intend to facilitate in any way, the RETURN of the MESSIAH, and Revelation’s Coming to this time, by policy or war?The 73% who are not fundamentalists can then register to vote and be sure to elect someone sane.www.pocm.INFOJesus’ actual Word has been found, It is in the book of Q.

  • Rebecca

    Bruce Becker,No where in the US Constitution does it say “separation of church and state.” What it does say in the First Amendment is, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Maybe you should actually read it sometime. Therefore, there is no reason why two presiditial candidates should not be able to meet in a church or have a pastor as a “campaign moderator.” They are by no means violating the Constitution.

  • Outrider

    “..If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority….” It reached that point years ago. Churches are just like corporations. They do more harm than good. They are ruled and rule from the top down. Democracies do not work that way. Conservatives bribe the Church for its support and the Church extorts the bribes with threats of not voting for any candidate who will not promise to pay the bribes. We, the People, should not be supporting either corporations or churches with our tax dollars.

  • Bruce

    Taliban and Huckabee. I didnt say, Rick Warren.I regard persons who attempt to make laws correspond to their faith as Talibani. Blue laws, anything that requires the citizen to look to a book of scripture for the basis of the law, is talibani.The Bible is bunk and hokum. That’s my point of view. WHY DO I HAVE TO DEFEND MY CONSTITUTION AGAINST THE KORAN AND THE BYU angelic fiction?You are so into your BIBLE, you make of it something real.I AM NOT SUBJECT TO YOU TALIBANI FOOLS and your petty interpretations of YOUR BIBLE OR YOUR KORAN OR WHATEVER YOU ARE INTO. The fact that you take your POINT OF VIEW seriously is what makes you so scary. You have no space on your delusion. That I know you are delusional is my point of view. That you make your delusion the law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

  • Aaron

    Can we elevate the debate?Rebecca, you should read all posts in the article because are very enlightening about the intentions of the Founding Fathers regarding separation of church and state.Bruce,

  • Bruce

    Rebecca, I guess you are right.

  • Bruce

    Aaron, Jesus said, I and the Father are ONE. He was killed for uttering that heresy. I accept that WORD as Gospel. We and the FATHER are ONE.The stuff about “loving your neighbor as though he were you”, is a clue, as well as required practice. He IS you, he is the divine incarnate. If only what you suggest (truly consider all the translations, which was the point of the book, The Lost Gospel, the book of Q) were being done, we would be safe from Bible thumpers and their whimsy to choose one revisionist version and then force us ALL to live by faith in that one translation. I saw a man during a Republican debate thump his Bible and demand all the candidates to testify that they believed in the literal interpretation of that particular edition. They all did.

  • DFH

    I don’t usually comment on things like this, but this article is one of the most ignorant that I have ever read. As a Pastor and an attorney I think it is wholly appropriate for any church, regardless of its size or influence, to host a candidate’s forum. To to suggest otherwise is to effectively conclude that churches are less free to operate within Constitutional parameters than other forums. This is not an Establishment Clause issue. The article suggests that Saddleback should mute its influence so as to not offend who? We should be celebrating the fact that we live in a country where a church can host forums like this, respect the separation of church and state, and encourage citizens to participate in and maintain, ah, what’s that word… Yeah, “Democracy.”

  • Bruce

    DFHIt is not the act of hosting that matters. It could be held anywhere.It is that the questions will pertain to the Articles of Faith.

  • Mark Bohannon

    Religion is utter nonsense, and the crackpots that believe in that hogwash should stay out of the limelight. Most of them are a wart on the face of humanity and very few such christians actually follow teachings of Christ, such as tolerance, unconditional love, peace etc. If they did, they wouldn’t be so hateful and judgemental of gay people and people of other races and belief systems. They also would NOT be war-mongering Republicans!

  • vote08

    If the event were held in another venue the price for tickets would have been similar. There is a hefty expense involved in putting on this event. Why is that so hard for people to deal with?

  • Jesus Christ

    I am embarrassed by this mess. Don’t you Christians have some widows and orphans to which you can minister?

  • bigjohn

    What better place than a house of fictional/mythical worship to hold a political discussion between two political candidates willing to sell souls for votes as a preacher moderates. ” Doublespeak” should take on a whole new meaning.Perhaps a faith healer will cap the evening by healing a childs burned face.

  • Newmexicobear

    Some are more interested about the soul than the pocketbook and I think that should be every Christians concern.

  • Nathan

    It’s the first time in this campaign these two get together and it’s in a megachurch hosted by a pastor. As a Canadian looking in, I have to say many up here have dirty chins after hearing this because our jaws are on the floor. When we look in we seem to see this segment being treated like they are worth more in your society for some reason. I imagine some Muslim nation have dirty jaws as well, as this doesn’t help the whole crusader image when the first joint appearance is in a church. Not to mention the whole *wink wink, nudge nudge* for bush in 2004. When you insert religion in to the political debate you alienate people and you divide them, this is just wrong IMO.

  • Newmexicobear

    I want to see Bruce’s face when Jesus The King of King returns to this messed up world.

  • James

    Yes, I agree. Lets stop using the word ‘Evangelical’ as an adjective with the Lord’s name.It deserves to be a noun describing people who justify every unchristian act by twisting scripture in truly blasphemous ways. Living as and supporting mass consumerism, environmental destruction, ignorance, profiteering at the expense of the poor, murder and war, glutony, and on and on. They neither respect his creation nor his word. The trust in weapons not God, profit by destroying his creation not protecting it, and deny free accessible healthcare to all people because they fear they will be inconvienced, and promote materialism to hights of spiritualism to justify their glutony. Evangelical is a noun.

  • Sean

    Well here in Australia, a not-very-religious country, much of our last election included visits and lobbying (by both sides of politics)to various churches. Our socialist Prime Minister is a hardcore Christian, whilst our right leaning opposition is less religious. We have no official ‘seperation of church and state’ in our constitution, but the issue never really comes up. It’s just not that big of a deal here. I think in America, the paranoia about Christianity is over the top. The paranoia of atheists just probably makes the fundamentalists more extreme. Both sides should just relax. If I were an American, my biggest concern would be that both presidential candidates are rubbish. You got one guy who is all image and another who is senile.

  • Padraigh

    It’s in a church. Lots of Americans go to church. Get over it.

  • Roy

    Maybe Warren has the same motives as the “Reverend” Wright – self glory and fame. Let’s just hope if he goes off on a hateful, racist rant, it’s associated with McCain this time.

  • I’m tired of all this religion influence

    Tired of bible flogging panderers.And above all, tired of candidates who elevate these jackass preachers to positions that should be occupied by intelligent, educated experts.I’m with Zenu…

  • Brad – FL Christian

    I just hope that if any of you ever find yourselves in a really dark place, that you have the courage to set aside everything that you’ve learned from “fake Christians”. I hope that you have the courage to surrender, and just ask Jesus to take over your life. I had to admit I wasn’t doing so well on my own. I knew things were bad, from alcohol dependency, to meth use, you name it. Nobody took me aside and gave me instructions. I wasn’t a Christian. I heard the “Jesus Take the Wheel” song on the radio at a bad time, and just did it.What I didn’t expect was that everything would change in an instant. Jesus came and said “howdy”. Sure I thought things might get better, but I didn’t know I would physically feel the presence in me, or that it would remove all my anger, or change every single thing I thought or did.I still don’t like being “that guy” but I’m compelled and It tears me up to think about people with pain and anger that can only see what Christianity looks like on the outside without feeling it on the inside. I wish everyone could take the real thing for a test drive and then decide if it’s for them. What you people are bashing, is not Christianity, but what too many people make Christianity out to be. Jesus is not looking down on people, or stealing money from old ladies to buy a Beamer… and neither is Rick Warren.

  • Nathan

    Brad – FL Christian, It’s nice to hear about you getting better through Jesus, there a many good things that come from religion but I refuse to turn a blind eye to the hate and division it inspires as well. Would you be down with having them go to a Mosque with an Imam and do the same thing, honestly … like Jesus himself was asking?

  • Brad – FL Christian

    If a follower of Jesus is inspiring hate and division, he or she needs a GPS, because they are on the wrong path. And yes, I would be down with them debating anywhere that would be peaceful and constructive. Seeing negative campaign ads and personal attacks makes me look for other candidates.If they mention adopting ANY official religion, I won’t vote for them.

  • Brian

    It’s remarkable to me how the comments and reactions to this event have been so varied and contrasting. From blind support to benign interest to knee-jerk criticism. How is it that the relationship between religion and public life still causes such a wide range of responses? Is an event like this something historic and new? Shouldn’t we, as a country, have this figured out by now?Maybe this isn’t so surprising considering no one even knows how describe this event and what we can really expect (though everyone seems to think they know). No one, including the candidates themselves, know what questions will be asked. It’s fine to have an opinion about the merits of an event like this before hand, it’s okay to have some degree of doubt, but we should probably wait to pass final judgment and make our harshest criticisms until all is said and done. If there’s one thing about Rick that I know from experience, he’s very difficult to second guess. I have a feeling he will surprise many people Saturday night but what he does or does not do.

  • AJ

    I just feel sorry for Americans (or anyone for that matter) to be this dependent on religion.

  • Tricky Ricky runs a business not a church, Tax this Religious Fraud!

    Rick made over $35 million for himself in 2007. He is running a business not a church, tax him.Without assuming there is an actual ‘true’ religion, it’s safe to argue that all false religions will exhibit one or more of these five manifestations:1. The requirement to proselytize2. The requirement to pay a tithe3. Being founded by a human prophet4. Fear-based decisions5. Reward-based incentivesIn summary, if your religion or faith-based system of beliefs exhibits one or more of these characteristics, you can be sure it is man-made dogma and most certainly is a false religion.

  • Books of Fairy Tales

    All these books of Fairy Tales are dangerous and only cause more Hatred and Conflicts. Islam is a sick religion as are all Extremist religions.

  • bth94131

    In response to WISDOM AND COMMON SENSE,Where did you hear this about Christians being so giving? Bill Gates is far from religious and quite a giver. His buddy Warren Buffet the same. I personally know some “Christians” that are tight wads and some atheists that are very giving. I don’t think the numbers back up your statement.Back to the subject at hand, I expect Obama might do better than McCain in this forum for he will know his bible better. While not religious, I am fine with the candidates participating in this forum. I do find it uniquely American, but we were founded by a lot of religious whack jobs – it is to be expected.

  • Brad – FL Christian

    Any man that sets up a system of rules for God to follow must have all the answers.

  • Petra

    No-one is forced to believe in anything spiritual in this country, yet both candidates decided they wanted to participate in this forum. Several people here object because they have a problem with religion or religious people being involved in the political process at all.Easy enough solution for them. No-one’s forcing them to watch the forum, and no-one will force them to vote for someone they don’t want.That’s quite a difference from many nations where people who worship anything besides government are guaranteed some pretty tough times just for believing and stating government isn’t the be-all and end-all.

  • Jim Doyle

    I am an American now living in Beijing. I attended a Methodist Church with my parents every Sunday and Wednesday until I was 16. By that time I decided that I wasn’t confident enough in the belief that there is a God or that there really ever was a Jesus Christ like the one described in the King James version of the bible. I guess I am now an agnostic.

  • My imaginary friend told me to invade.

    The presidency is a secular office requiring someone who will make rational, not faith-based decisions. No matter what your faith is, it is downright scary that all of our top-level politicians brag about the influence their imaginary friends have over their decisions.

  • average joe

    Score another coup for the American Jihad. You have only to look at modern Turkey to see the poison of religion in state affairs. When secular ideals are trumped by religious zealots everyone loses. Society is corroded by those who’s self importance is thinly veiled by self serving interpretations of what is right and what is wrong. Modern day “Evangelicals” have been made useful idiots by those who seek blind obedience to tyranny and unquestioned allegiance to despotism. The “Religious Right” have perfected willful ignorance over open debate and self fulfilling destruction over the best interests of society. The Constitution says “There will be NO religious test” it seems as if two of the candidates find it necessary to prove their faith. For those who see this and believe it to be important that such questions are asked, the very freedoms you say you are owed are those who’s destruction you hasten. This nation was hijacked 8 years ago and the terrorists have won.

  • David

    Thanks for the discussion. Great to explore. Here’s my debate from previous post.1. The requirement to proselytize2. The requirement to pay a tithe3. Being founded by a human prophet4. Fear-based decisions5. Reward-based incentivesI don’t think we’ll get to understanding everything, but I do believe that we will get more than enough to get by, make informed decisions and make a big difference in our lives. Personally, I don’t think a god should do too much or too little, most of the time somewhere around the middle, or if there are some special cases, to provide a safety net. No pain, no gain, no growth, no strenghth, no inspiration, no achievement, no inspiration, no olympics. Fear of religion may be based on the perception of pain/suffering with no seeming purpose. Yet as human beings, we can decide to make use of every resource, every situation, every obstacle, every pain, every opportunity, every blessing. Like the olympics and every other inspiring story.

  • Randy

    This seems fairly simple to me. Rick Warren brings the message of a Savior who’s message was that we should love one another. The presidential candidates have heard the message clearly that the U.S. voters are tired of the hate-filled Pelosi – Reed (AKA sub 10% constituent approval) messages and have aligned themselves with a positive messenger. It’s the best news in 8 years.

  • Rick the Untouchable

    God came unto Ricke and order him : You shall lobby Congress, Obama to avoid paying taxes.

  • John in Chicago

    Maria – I share your disappointment with Obama. It seems that following the Republican lead in mixing church with state is part of his idea of moving beyond partisanship. It’s a dangerous trend that can only serve to make this country, bristling with nuclear weapons, even more of a crusading nation than it already is. We’ve already witnessed the blood-thirst of evangelicals as they thrilled to US fighter jets streaking across their mega video screens in their megachurches as their fearless Christian leader led the country into war in Iraq – kicking some Muslim @ss so to speak. At any rate, Obama is certainly better than McCain unless you’re one of those Christian voters lusting for the rapture via World War lll.

  • Freedom means Freedom

    “Christians assert that freedom of speech allows them to proclaim their religion as loudly and as frequently as they want.” – ChagasmanYes, indeed. That is what it means. It is not just the people that oppose religion who get to speak as loudly and frequently as they want. Freedom of speech goes to both sides of the issue.

  • Charles Baker Harris

    Nothing like a mention of Christianity to bring the anti-religion bigots out in droves… as evidenced here.

  • gwen henson

    to compare rick warren to billy graham is crazy most people have never heard of him he wrote a book never heard of him speaking in a audutorium or sports arena or having a large meeting any where but his church

  • tes

    We are a country of diverse religions, Christians, Judaism, Buddhism, Muslim, Agnostics and of course Atheist.We are a country if diverse sub-religions within a major religion, Evangelical, Catholics, Lutherans, Baptist, etc. We are not a country of one religion more dangerously a sub-religion Evangelical Christians taking over our Democratic Process and Democracy. Hint: Replacing Bill of Rights with Bible. Throwing away standard universal Science with Pseudo Christian Science Fantasy (Intelligent Design). Attempting to force everyone to pray Christian prayer in public schools. Our founding father talk about Separation of Church and State. They anticipated a possibility of particular religion hijacking our government and using government to force their particular specific religious beliefs, religious rituals and rigid religious rules upon others. Cough Cough: Evangelical Born Again Christians and their Ultra Right Extremist Christian Beliefs.Some may say, we are a Christian Nation. We are not a Ultra Right Evangelical Born Again Christian nation. Remember, religion comes in many flavors and so does Christians.

  • Valkyrie

    Rick Warren is shifting from a religious/spiritual agenda to a highly political one. Through his Purpose Driven Life and church campaigns and the millions of books he has sold, he has gained authority over thousands of evangelical churches and pastors in the US who follow him like the Pied Piper. He boasts of his membership in the Council of Foreign Relations, mixes regularly with heads of state and is sponsoring Tony Blair at his church next month. Warren is one to watch and if he can deliver enough votes to Obama, will be in a great position to get a high level political post, all in the name of compassion and helping the poor worldwide. Rick Warren has only just begun.

  • Alex

    Ditto the comments above — Never heard of Rick Warren — not until the TV promotion of the event. I am troubled that either candidate would sign on to an appearance with some minister with unknown credentials or views.

  • Alex

    Ditto the comments above — Never heard of Rick Warren — not until the TV promotion of the event. I am troubled that either candidate would sign on to an appearance with some minister with unknown credentials or views.

  • Jody

    So many of these bloggers have never heard of Rick Warren? Rather odd, considering Rev. Warren’s book The Purpose Drive Life has sold more than 30 million copies, he’s almost always quoted in articles profiling evangelicals, has been profiled in almost every national magazine (even by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker, for crying out loud), and was the subject of a feature cover story in Time last week. One doesn’t need to be an evangelical Christian to know who Warren is. You really just need to have read the newspaper or news magazines at any time over the past five years to at least have been familiar with the name, provided you didn’t intentionally ignore any articles about evangelicals that didn’t ratify your rather strong prejudices.

  • deflag

    Shake ups and shake downs.”Uh hum, um um, yeah yeah.”Well, that’s what eros does, you see. It shakes everything up. It takes 25 years to really shake things up. The good things take time, from generation to generation they are passed and very carefully. Be good and if you can’t be good be careful. Love is good, so I’m careless. The bond lays in function and not personality. You work together that way, even when seperate the result is good. Love isn’t staring at each other, it’s looking out into the same direction for the future, looking out for the children. Let the kids moderate the debate, it is likely to be more honest to God.

  • loco moco

    “So many of these bloggers have never heard of Rick Warren? Rather odd, considering Rev. Warren’s book The Purpose Drive Life has sold more than 30 million copies, he’s almost always quoted in articles profiling evangelicals, has been profiled in almost every national magazine…”Why — you might even say he’s more popular than Jesus!

  • Greg T

    I hope this is more than God ,gays and guns. No offense to your personal believes but lets deal with what is really IMPORTANT more of Mssame Mcinsane or take an opportunity on intellegence,commom sense and sanity.

  • deflag

    Note: The women are careful and the men are very, careless.

  • NinaK

    Hillary and Obama had a faith-based forum as well. That forum was interesting but people are are liars, such as McCain, will lie in this forum as well. McCain might boast about HIS family values, hahaha, he has NONE!! He leaves his first wife and their three children at age 40 for a 22 year old bimbo who happens to be a beer distributor heiress. McCain will probably talk about what an “HONEST” man he is, hahaha, NOT!! Should really be something!! Oh, and to add to his lack of family values, he offered up Cindy, and encouraged her, to compete in the Buffalo Chip Beauty Contest!! A contest where the contestants wear next to nothing and simulate sexaual moves!! He said he would be proud to have Cindy as First Lady and the Buffalo Chip Winner at the same time!!! NO family values!! He’d also rather hear the roar of 500 motorcycles than the applause of 200,000 people!! McCain is really a weird, mixed up guy. Dementia, anyone??

  • Lukas

    It seems that the author saying that the religious should have LESS of a voice politically, thereby infringing on their constitutional rights. Also, he he wants “the Conscience of the State” to be alert but silent.

  • BeowulfthePolitician

    John in Chicago: ==================We’re not going to change the Bible for you or for any other liberal from Chicago.

  • Jesus Is Imaginary

    Religion is a total scam. Warren is a scammer. By paying any attention to this propagator of lies, and allowing him anywhere near their campaigns, both Obama and McCain show that they are moral cowards.

  • deflag

    As Paul said, I’ve harmed nobody nor have I violated the customs of our ancestors. They are starting a new custom, not of tradition but of desperation. Now you go to church and instead of a sermon, you get to listen to the gospel of me and vote for me, I’ll set you free. Maybe John Edwards and the onecorpses will show up just for old times sake.

  • Natasha Whittman of Chicago

    I generally feel that Obama would make a great president for this wonderful country however, THIS is one of the videos about Obama that frightened me…

  • William W. Wexler

    Sometime between when the people who fled Europe seeking refuge from state-sponsored religion and NOW, it has become necessary for our elected officials to profess long and loud about their pious Christianity.What happened to the 1st Amendment? Apparently we just wink at it as we do with the rest of our Constitution. It’s like Santa Claus… parents have to tell their kids he’s real because they’re not mature enough to handle the truth.-Wexler

  • deflag

    Scams don’t do anybody any good. Religion aims to help people and it does some people a world of good. There are religious scams and as in everything else, nothing or nobody is perfect. These supercenter style churches are just money mills. It’s like the mall and the little local place that gets closed down so everybody can drive to the edge of town because it’s bigger and more corporate. It’s more expensive and you can’t walk to church or the store. Everything we need is someplace else and the automobile is how we get to it. All religion is local.

  • [email protected]

    I am so tired of the God pushers! Even Jesus Christ was smart enough to stay out of politics, “Render therefore unto Cesar the things which be Cesar’s; and unto God the things which be God’s.” I do not want to live in a supposedly freedom of Religion State, where it is decidedly run by the Christian Faith… This is exactly why we have a separation of Church and State, and why our forefathers left other Church run countries to establish freedom of Faiths here in America…

  • NinaK

    Brad – FL Christian, It’s nice to hear about you getting better through Jesus, there a many good things that come from religion but I refuse to turn a blind eye to the hate and division it inspires as well. Would you be down with having them go to a Mosque with an Imam and do the same thing, honestly … like Jesus himself was asking?A lot of people CONFUSE religion with faith. There are many, many people who have faith in our God and Jesus Christ but do not attend a religious gathering, whether Catholic, Protestant, New Age, etc. Yet, their faith is STRONG and constant. I remember as a child we were members of a Catholic Church, people would line up for confession in front of a curtained “booth” and pour their hearts out about sinning, yet come Monday, they’d be getting drunk, smacking their wives, and committing adultery. My dad said, that’s enough! So we went to a protestant church which we, a a family, found more family oriented and much more congregation involvement in the church. Plus, we UNDERSTOOD what the pastor was saying!!! Back then, everything in the Catholic church was said in Latin and we didn’t understand one word!! Anyway, I believe in God and have a deep faith in Him and Jesus Christ; however, I am not a religious freak nor do I believe in “religion”. The way I see it, God listens to my prayers whereever I am. Religion is more of a “fellowship” than anything else.

  • deflag

    Santa is real. He looks good on paper. You could say that without Santa, we wouldn’t need paper or is it without paper we wouldn’t have Santa. If people write about Santa, it’s as good as real. Remember the movie? The judge had all those letters come and the lawyers had a case built on air. Talk is cheap.

  • Santa

    I’m real. Any questions should be sent to the North Pole. Please get me the letters by mid-September so I can get everything ready for the kids. Be nice. Ho ho ho!!!

  • deflag

    Great it’s Santa. Santa I want you to send all my gifts to the people in Georgia this Christmas. Not the USA Georgia, the one the creepy Russians invaded. Send the Russians ashes.

  • Santa

    Well the children can’t be punished for the sins of the adults. I will send all your gifts to Georgia with love. I can see you have no love for the Russians. Keep faith and I will deal with the bad boys in Russia in my own special way. I had my day in court and so will they. In the end we all get judged.

  • Daniel in the Lion’s Den

    I do not think that a “mega-church” is any kind of authentic religious house of worship; I think a mega-church is an ampitheatre for putting on shows, where thousands of strangers gather to view the show, and then give money, to make up for a sort of guilt that they may feel for not being “relgious enough.” Mega-churches are not really a threat to the Separation-of-Church-and-State; they are really another step along the way towards total collapse of Christian Institutions, as people abandon mainline churches for these “ampi-theatre” churces. Just from reading this blog, I think that it must be obvious, the elephant in the room, but something everyone ought to know, that many religious people have something wrong with them, mentally, not that this is always the case, but then sometimes it is difficult to distingush the healthily sincere, from delusional religious-mania. I think that religious people should be respectful that this is their reputation, that many among them have earned, and that people have a right, and even a responsibility to keep religious-mania under control, and out of politics as much as possible, and out of the government as much as possible.

  • Diogenes

    Can there be any doubt about the outcome? Obama will end up as the anti-Christ and McCain the prodigal son.

  • Cerberus

    I just wish Warren would ask this simple question, and that McCain would answer it:”Songbird. What does that word mean to you?”I want a straight answer. There are lots of of “he did” and “he didn’t” claims on the web. McCain’s records are sealed, so I want him to explain personally.

  • deflag

    I hope people print this and give copies to the kids so they know that you are helping everybody even though you are busy getting ready for Christmas. It’s been a long year and the kids need our help, more now than ever. Any miracles you can work work for me and God knows we believe in miracles because every newborn baby is a miracle. It’s been a cool summer, so I hope it’s cool there so that the North Pole doesn’t keep melting. Best of luck.

  • Santa

    Don’t be anti-Santa. Before you know it, I’ll be flying around the world spreading Christmas cheer. Until then, be good and help your mother with the dishes.

  • deflag

    The most precious gift of all – something to believe in. That’s true love and I feel like a kid again with Grandma. There’s work to do, for like Santa we are ourselves.

  • It pays to be ignorant, to be dumb to be dopey to be ignornat.

    GOP Last Place McFailure:Robert E Lee finished first while US Grant finished last in the same class at West Point.Jesus said, “the first shall go last and the last first.”Jesus also said, “the poor you will have with you always while the rich shall rule the world.”The D- student showed up at the big class reunion flashing all the wealth he had accumulated in a measly year. When asked how such a dumb person had become so successful he replied, “I went into business because they said I was to dumb to work at a regular job. I opened a store and marked everything up 3%.”3% isn’t any markup at all. Thinking they’d have a little fun they asked him to do one of them 3% markups, say something wholesaled for $10. He said, “well let’s see, $10 times 3 is $30 and that’s what I sold it for.”

  • Arminius

    It pays to be ignorant, to be dumb to be dopey to be ignornat.:Er… you seem to have problems with ignorance. You said:”Robert E Lee finished first while US Grant finished last in the same class at West Point.”Robert E Lee: West Point Class of 1829, 2nd in classPlease read some history before pontificating.

  • BUILD THE WALL HIGH AND STRONG!

    The Treaty of Tripoli, article 11, As the Government of the United States of “America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries…Let’s hear it for the greatest secular nation in the world! We did not get here because we allowed the bible thumpers to sneak in to the courthouse. Keep the church far, far away from the state.

  • SteveCO

    Where do you religious fanatics get your fantasies? One segment of the population NOBODY needs is the nutcase religous right, and that includes the vast majority of evangelicals. They want a theocracy in this country, period. They will not get it, period. If they try, there will be a new civil war in the U.S.I could give a crap if every single one voted for McCain. Neither does Obama. Obama is speaking there to help shore up his support from moderate, intelligent religious people – not the Dobsons and Pat Robertsons, religious terrorists both.

  • Rpy

    Most of the “devout Catholic, Evangelical Christian or Orthodox Jew” voters have, by their nature, made up their minds and can’t be swayed by facts or debate so using religious fear and hatred to turn them against Obama is a ridiculous waste of time.Watching Rick Warren on CBS this morning, he seems sincere in trying to do what McCain has refused to do – talking about the issues in a civil forum instead of spending all his time and effort in a Rovain fit of political fear mongering. I look forward to Warren’s forum.

  • Roy

    Sounds like rtfanning has been drinking the bathwater of his fellow Irish Catholic bigots on Fox News.

  • deflag

    Look at it in 3-D. The virtue of the newspaper was that it gave you the news early, Time’s virtue was that it gave you history early. That’s 2-D. And now you have he chance to see the future early on the network. Great news if you can understand it, great for intelligence purposes and bad for anybody plotting another 911 attack or other sinister plot against our interests. Ignorance is deadly. Some costs are greater than others. We’ll still get to watch politicians blow millions of dollars of OPM on flashy TV commercials telling you how bad the other guy really is and the megachurches need a devil to point to and say look at the bad guy. Bad is bad and there’s the weight of glory.

  • Mark

    I really get ill when I hear a discussion like this over the role of faith in politics. With all due respect to the many careful and thoughtful people who have posted on this, those driving a faith based agenda seek to divide and subdue those with whom they disagree on matters of lifestyle and values. While very important to individuals, faith in the campaign is important as a weapon.Why is it that “people of faith” in this debate are the ones who stand up and announce their faith to others as a badge of honor, with the implication that those who do not make such a claim do not have faith? There are tens of millions in this country that regularly worship, such as in the mainstream Christian lines, and yet don’t qualify as people of faith. Why do they get excluded in favor of those whose prime qualification is that they scream louder?Talk is cheap. That is why there is so much of it. Real faith, and a devout life are hard to attain and rare. When I see the evangelist on the corner, telling me of my failings, I am afraid that my temptation is to grab my wallet and go elsewhere — the camp meeting and the mega church are the last places I will look to find God.The entire debate seems to wish that questions like “how would Jesus vote?” can be asked and answered. If Jesus were to return to take part in religious debates around US elections, I doubt he would be heard. How many poor non-English speaking immigrants get media coverage this days, especially if they are critical of the administration? Most likely, if he stayed alive, he would be held in US custody in Cuba and kept from the public because of his dangerous views.We all have in common that we will die. We also all have in common that we have no direct experience of the afterlife. Any pastor or politician who starts claiming to have direct access to the afterlife and God’s prerogatives has only identified himself or herself as a false prophet — nothing more.I hope the upcoming meeting with Rick Warren is productive, but I really doubt it will be productive.

  • Justin

    “…McCain and Obama are battle-tested campaign veterans. They won’t be speaking off the cuff or from the heart. They will be reciting well-researched and rehearsed responses. They won’t be testifying. They’ll be dictating.However sincere his attempt, however well-crafted his questions, Warren will merely be providing the candidates with another campaign podium — or in this case, an immensely respected and valued pulpit.”While you seem to be educated on Mr. Warren, I must disagree. I have spent time with Rick in the past and can guarantee you that, while Obama and McCain will be well prepared, they will be unable to worm around him without looking blatantly foolish.Think about this…when is the last time that Peter Drucker described a politician with the word “genius”?

  • Santa

    I will never die and that’s why you don’t shoot Santa. Take a little bit of my life and hold it, life is so precious.

  • deflag

    “Money is not the natural reward of love” C.S. Lewis These megachurches are run by mercenaries. Finding money is easy, finding love is hard. Now they want to shape our public and possibly our private lives to fit their agenda. I’m not a mercenary. I could be a missionary depending on the cause and mission.

  • dcp

    Morally speaking, both candidates are repugnant. Any claims of adhering to Christian values will go in one ear and out the other, at least for me. However, the tie-breaker for me has been the Born Alive Infant Protection Act which Obama rejected. All politicians sell out at some point which is to be expected, but this is one time when he should not have. PS. I am very disappointed to hear that Warren is charging 500-2000 dollars per seat. So disheartening. I thought he was one of the pure-hearted ones, seriously. I hear the coins jingling on this stunt. It definitely doesn’t sound like ministry.

  • candide

    A nation that takes the rantings of clergymen, any clergymen, seriously is a nation in decline.

  • BlueTwo1

    Some religious organizations have decided that they must participate in politics to fulfill their God-given mission. Fine. The more participation the better. Only, have a look at the U.S. Constitution. It prescribes separation of church and state. Since the power to tax is the power to destroy, churches are not taxed. In return, churches do not interfere in matters of state, such as election politics. Statesmen-like leaders, if there were any in the 21st century, would argue for revoking tax exempt status for churches that are even remotely engaged in politics.

  • dave

    nice blog david.well articulated. church is in fact seperate. thanks and keep up the good work.

  • Jann

    Who the heck is Rick Warren and why are we suppose to care about what he thinks?

  • Peter

    Well, a lot of comments on the man of God are wrong. I’m from Kenya and have met your pastor personally, he’s a good man, i have seen what he has done here. When he decides to moderate a forum, it’s for the good of your country since terrorists breed in poverty, anger, etc, he’s fighting these and is better placed to moderate a town hall style debate than the MSM.Get over yourselves and let the guy grill the nominees.

  • witchofwestghent

    I have a big problem with a man of faith asking candidates questions on faith. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. I disagree with people who fail to understand the importance of that relationship…. or lack there of… in the Constitution. If you doubt that that separation was intended in the minds on the framers, read Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (And yes I know that Jefferson was in Paris during the Constitutional Convention…. but in Madison’s papers on the debates that document is mentioned at length).

  • ArtK

    I would think that those Christians who believe in a state dominated by a particular “church” should secede from the United States, and start their own Christ-driven country in say, Texas. There they can raise all the children they want, preach to high Heaven, and tithe themselves to death. Jesus was a human being of great moral qualities; Christianity is an aggressive, noncompassionate, holier-than-thou manmade shadow of the truth that it is fast becoming a joke (note the interest and ascension of atheisim). Other believers may follow the man named Jesus in their own personal way; we should reject the priests and the interpreters of the “truth” as mere charlatans. Furthermore, I doubt that a god [if there be one] could care less what we do on this planet. We are responsible for our own hell and, we, spectacularly dumb, are doing a great job of racing to extinction. I do not need Pastor Warren stirring up the emotions of the populace as to the role of religion in politics. That’s just what he will surely do, as have others who have come before him.

  • Deeds Over Words, Values Over Churches

    This blog has a frightening undertone, as expressed by several bloggers already (read: “Perry” above). I am not comfortable with the piety and self-righteousness of evangelicals so my first reflex is to flinch at the idea of a presidential forum being held at a church (of any denomination). However, if Warren can contain his questions to “values” and not “beliefs,” I think we will hear an interesting debate. This is a spiritual nation, and the basis of values (not just the doctrinal beliefs of overtly dogmatic triumphalists) is of concern to most American voters. So, despite my general distrust of mega-church pastors (I’m sure Warren will benefit handsomely from the press coverage), this forum has merit. That merit is all the more recognizable because Warren appears more interested in values than enriching himself (he deserves credit if he truly does give away his wealth). Let’s hope that is not a facade; or that his moderation of a forum isn’t just a facade. Best wishes to all undecided voters who will watch this event.

  • H OHARA

    in the old testament, the prophets went to kings and queens ordered by God for major wars and public affairs so the nation would be blessed. i pray for pastor warren that he would be wise as sepent and harmless as dove. it is positive and exciting that this meeting will tak place. those wonderful silent generation in the usa is listening.

  • Questions Warren Should Ask

    If Warren wants to know what the two candidates believe, here are some questions he should ask:1) Do you believe in income redistribution? (Take from the rich to give to the poor.)2) Do you believe the United States is no better morally than any other country, such as Iran, Cuba, etc.?3) Do you believe preference should be given to certain job applicants based on race?4) Do you believe the United Nations should decide when and if the United States goes to war?5) Do you believe we should drill for oil in our own country or remain dependent on foreign oil?6) Do you believe we should have more nuclear power plants in our country?7) Do you believe in educational choice?8) Do you believe immigrants should go through proper channels to come to our country and obey all our laws?9) Do you believe “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” really does mean the “right to life”?10) Do you believe the 2nd Amendment grants the right to all citizens to bear arms?

  • DC12

    Doesn’t anyone read Jefferson any more (or Locke)?This all sounds Calvin at his worst (burnings, and forced deportation , etc) stirring up a dictatorship and supreme alliance to Calvin and his minions.Old myths get created and carried on until the population gets tired of them. But until then it is just fear and belief : the Shamans alone know what is happening and they can banish fear (for a price ! ) After all, god is on our side, no?Try reading “Elmer Gantry” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” for starters.

  • shiplaw

    I am utterly amazed at the clairvoyant powers and the superhuman foresight of so many of you. You already know the mind of Rick Warren, his motivation, his agenda, the questions he will ask, the answers that will be given, the wisdom of the event, the lack of wisdom of the event, the constitutionality and lack of constitutionality of the event and even many, many things that are not relevant to the event or any of its participants. I, fortunately, have no such powers or foresight and must await the event before I learn anything. The best I can do (I think) is to give Rev. Warren, McCain and Obama the benefit of the doubt and hope that I can learn something that will help me understand who the candidates really are, who is really most important to them (you and me or themselves) and how I can expect them to govern. When I have to rely on the National Enquirer to find out who John Edwards really is and I can’t rely on the MSM for much truth or even “for all the news that’s fit to print,” I’m willing to invest an hour in the efforts of Rev. Warren without expecting them to be perfectly revealing.

  • ANGIE FRANCE

    Just because he his a preacher doesn’t mean he is any different than all the other liberals trying to push their left wing agenda on us. He’s just as liberal as Obama although I would say he would be called a pro-life liberal so this won’t be any different than going into a tv studio for any other debate.

  • tes

    To you hard-core ultra extremist Right-Wing Christians, there a non-Christians next to you, working with you, in your neighborhood, in car next to you, etc.What do you do?Bible has history of people of faith killing or at war with non-people of faith.What are you killing your fellow neighbors? Bible Says So especially in Old TestRick Warren respect other faiths. What wrong with respecting and socializing with other faiths? It it so evil through your eyes or pastor us to socialize with other faiths. How about working with them, dining, walking by them?Wait! You must convert them. At any cost? If not, what are you going to do now? Reading through some of these replies. I see some of you are closed minded about people of other faiths or even other Christian faiths like Mormons and Catholics. Ever thought reason Rick Warren admires people of other faith is because of the bigger pictures.Let fix the problems in the USA and The World too. Not worry about converting your fellow person into your religious faith. Then get stress out and discriminate because they don’t follow your beliefs.

  • Larry K

    Never heard of Mr. Warren until today. I hope he ask better,indepth questions then the average Joe, not sure he will. If he was for Bush in 04, I’m don’t give him too much insight into the real world, but look forward to seeing how he does.

  • Satan

    To: Rick WarrenDear Rick,ps…good call on investing in the stock of companies that manufacture weapons, my portfolio has gone through the roof these past 5 years!

  • Treaty of Tripoli: Article 11

    As the Government of the United States of “America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries…It is a travesty that this serious public discourse is being held in a church. Both candidates are diminshed by pandering to the superstitious fools who take the bible seriously.

  • It’s all good

    Where is the uproar when candidates speak before the NAACP or Labor unions or womens groups? Why does a group of people, regardless of their mission,not deserve to assess the candidates for themselves? What happened to freedom?

  • Gus

    The religious loons should stay out of politics.

  • What the?

    Why do people keep trying to elect a president based on issues that the office has nothing to do with. For example: Moral Policing. Are they looking for a modern messiah that can dominate the non-believers? Are they trying to replace the Pope with a President. For all the venom aimed at anyone with ultimate religions authority, do they secretly want one? Twisted. Not that any of your votes matter, the president is elected by representative electorial votes. The policos are just jerking you around on a chain. How can you not see this? Sheeple.

  • Maria

    It seems a bit dangerous to be catering to the closed-minded Christian right “fun” churches, just because there are suddenly so many “Christians”. I am especially disappointed in Barack Obama. I thought he was different than the old-fashioned politicians who sucked up to everyone because they were only interested in the votes. I thought Obama was about change.

  • Eric Amacher

    I find it utterly offensive that one of the earlier comments would refer to those who believe the Bible is real as fools. It is unnecessary and not well-received by those of us who firmly believe without exception that the Bible is the Word of God. The case for the Bible’s historical validity is stronger than most of what we study in textbooks today. I will pray for this individual that he will find the Truth. As far as the debate goes, I applaud Rick Warren for what he is attempting to do. Some will criticize this venue as they believe in a separation of Church and State, but it is not at all unreasonable to dissect the core values of those who intend to lead. What a refreshing idea to know we are lead by moral men and women. One final comment to those who are still uncertain about the Bible; don’t punish the pure work of God for what we humans have done over time to tear it down. Judge the Bible on its stand-alone merits.

  • Van Davis

    Colossians 3:11, “…but Christ is all and in all.” Rick Warren nor any other pastor or Christian leader has any business doing anything other than working for the cause of Christ. Did Mr. Warren set up this forum to lead them and others to Christ? Will “Christ-crucified” be preached so that people will hear the Gospel and be saved? if not, then this event is of Satan.

  • On the plantation

    Maybe they can rig up a revival tent and put on a grand show of dancing and jumping and shouting testimonials. The candidates will need to remove their jackets and have sweat rags handy.Wherever it is put, the advance support people need to be certain lightning rods are firmly grounded and positioned.Seriously, this is about the dumbest idea I have encountered this summer. Consider how this will play internationally. It will ridiculed for the next four years or longer.

  • Brad, Michigan

    I cannot believe how bitter and hostile all these comments are. Have you all been molested by a priest? Do you have a personal axe to grind over something else? Or are you just social outcasts? You really need to stay on topic.

  • Anonymous

    Hello Mr. Waters,Thank you for your article on Rick Warren and upcoming forum. I found it fair, and enjoyed your connection to MLK at the end. The questions were pointed and appropriate. There is something interesting I have noted about Mr. Warren’s direction for his ministry that is very disturbing and illogical. I am a Christian, but do not believe in confusing Church and State. They are separate and should always remain so. What bothers me concerns something that you mentioned in your article, that Rick Warren believes a second Reformation is needed, that he obviously believes he is leading the way, and that it is primarily about deeds and not words or beliefs.If religion is not about words and not about beliefs. Why bother with it at all then?Non-religious people and those of different faiths do many wonderful things to help the world. Mr. Warren has now run into a very serious problem. The logic seems to me to be very troublesome in the way that it destroys the foundation for any need of God. While deeds are certainly important, in any religion they cannot be divorced from beliefs. If they are then faith becomes useless, we might as well just keep the good deeds and move on without any mention of God. Even if Mr. Warren believes that deeds should be primary, he commits a similar mistake with the same outcome of making faith, as defined by Christianity, obsolete.Thank you for your time and efforts.

  • Curious to watch

    The Redskins are playing at the same time. Any Washingtonian or New Yorker who doesn’t want to watch will have their home team to distract them. Aren’t the olympics still on as well? If we are going to me a nation of tolerance, we might want to include Christians as well. I have never heard so many angry intolerant people “preaching” tolerance by bashing the religion of the majority as I have in this last generation and no, nobody made you do it. Your reaction is your choice.Personally, I am going to watch with the hope that a different stage may lead to a break from the “same old, same old” rote questions and answers that occur on the MSM. Don’t tell me, I already know…I don’t have a prayer.

  • John in Chicago

    Until these Christians toss out the mysogynist Paul from their Bible they won’t make much headway against poverty, disease, illiteracy, etc. Women in poor countries must be empowered to control their reproduction otherwise it’s hopeless. The fact is that conservative Christians in this country have succeeded in making our government’s policy WORSE in this regard. Paul was also a virulent, if not maniacal, homophobe. It’s also past time fundamentalist Christians got over their obsession with homosexuality and moved on if they hope to ever do anything that actually helps people.

  • Gerry

    Wow! Are we becoming another Iran? Let’s keep religion out of politics.

  • Chagasman

    I hope that as soon as the “debate” is over, the IRS cancels the tax-free status of Rick Warren’s church. Religion and politics should never mix. I am sick and tired of “faith” and “values” and “Christians” and religion in general. Never before have I heard so much hatred and squabbling and arguing over matters that should be kept private. Christians assert that freedom of speech allows them to proclaim their religion as loudly and as frequently as they want. In days gone past, they would be labeled as boors and fools who should keep their religion to themselves. Our democracy is being destroyed from within by the Christians and their demands that politicians declare their “faith”. Sheer idiocy!

  • REAL MCCOY

    Elections are all about getting votes. And Christians, even evangelicals, constitute a big chunk of voters.McCain worked hard during his position as Senator and during his Presidential campaign to distance himself from evangelicals and conservatives in order to make friends with people like those criticizing his party and her candidacy on this thread. Worked real GOOD, I see! Those anti-Christians, so tolerant.Considering how hard both candidates worked to offend traditional Christians, this is a laugh riot that they’re attempting to backpedal now that both candidates are close enough in the polls to need these people who they think are so unpalatable.Not nearly as funny though as folks here who are waving their arms around at this particular time about religion and politics and racism, pretending they’ve never been a factor in Obama’s campaign till now. Hey, how *about* that Jeremiah Wright? Glad to know Obama was so bored to tears with his extremism that he thought Wright’s church was a really great place to go regularly for twenty years for a little Sunday morning nap.Really cool too how the CEO of the Democratic National Convention is a Black Liberation theologist who believes black taxpayers should get reparations from white taxpayers, a majority of whom never oppressed anyone. Green Party is also religion-based and has been for quite some time. It believes its Goddess Earth to be so delicate that government must be powerful enough to take control of land away from private citizens. Yet candidates flock to go to their endless earth-summit forums and global warming forums where because of the popularity of the fad rather than the facts of the matter, they feel it necessary to show up and comfort these folks that they agree with them, at least to some extent. But some pastor who spends most of his time and money trying to create a healing and good-works ministry for everyone offers to give Presidential candidates a little question-and-answer time to address the concerns of people of faith whom they have marginalized with their negative remarks about them, and some non-Christians and atheists here go bonkers as if they’re about to be sent to some gulag. (Oh, forgot, sorry, I don’t want to offend anyone by taking credit for gulags away from atheists.)Fortunately most Americans who are not religious aren’t quite as extreme and bigoted and hysterical when someone mentions they both go to church AND vote. And most Christians are not brimstone-hellfire fundies that these anti-Christians keep trying to paint them as.I’m sorry if religion was so negative an experience to these folks. But some of them seem to go out of their way to be even more offensive and extreme and marginalizing than the religion they blame for all their obvious unhappiness. Obviously their own beliefs make them very insecure in the face of people who believe in something better than self, and they truly don’t want to have their minds changed. Not about religion, but about religious people. If NOT being religious makes someone so hostile to people who believe something different than them, even to the extent they throw their support behind a decades-old crusade of their own using politics to silence public discussion of religion and faith, I can’t say I would put much stock or admiration in whatever it is they place their trust and confidence.

  • Cordy Reagan

    The Warrens give away 90 percent of their income? Why is their income that large to begin with? Why not accept less income, and then you don’t have to brag that you gave 90 percent of it away?

  • REAL MCCOY

    SteveCo said, “I could give a crap if every single one voted for McCain. Neither does Obama. Obama is speaking there to help shore up his support from moderate, intelligent religious people – not the Dobsons and Pat Robertsons, religious terrorists both.”Jeremiah Wright and Leah Daughtry are “moderate, intelligent religious people”?”Terrorists” is quite a loaded word for an Obama supporter to use when his candidate is not only the subject of fundraisers from Bill Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn, but personal friends of theirs, too. Ayres and Dohrn were real, honest-to-goodness, unrepentant domestic terrorists. And now they’re preaching *their* special brand of “truth” in the publicly-funded seminaries that pass as universities. (Bernardine Dohrn was the little chippie who stated how “far out” it was that “rich pig” Leno LaBianca was stuck with a fork and knife in his stomach while being murdered by the Manson family. Nice friends your candidate has there.)Leah Daughtry is a pal of Obama’s and she’s the Chairman of the Democratic National Convention. She’s also a preacher at a church for Black Liberation Theology.And sorry, I don’t believe at all that Obama never paid attention to Jeremiah Wright’s outrageous and hateful rants during twenty years of regular attendance. He threw the guy under the bus not because he disagreed with him, only because he was rather obliged to so people like you could actually pretend to believe he himself doesn’t think that way.His supporters need lots of plausible deniability and they exploit it shamelessly while they get on their high horse about the superiority of a candidate. And McCain’s cocktail-party supporters do the very same thing. Traditional Christians are considered very threatening to their continued popularity with their rich so-called “centrist” or “progressive” friends who’d ditch them in a heartbeat if they even thought these country-club Republicans really cared about religious freedom. So they grudgingly give lip-service to the Constitution while adding the disclaimer “well, *I* don’t really like or agree with them” so they’ll continue to find themselves on the A-list.In any case, both candidates have supporters who are just sick about the concept that religious people are going to be listened to. They both have cheerleaders who enjoy making a hobby of crying “theocrat!” to people who have deep beliefs about the importance of believing they’re accountable to someone even more powerful than they are.McCain and Obama have expressed they believe faith to be important. Theocrats-In-Progress! Maybe instead of you folks wasting your time crying here, you should call your candidates and explain why you believe a theocracy is imminent–not because McCain attempts to minimize the breach he made with people of faith in his party or because Obama pals around with extremist preachers whose main agenda is to profit from racial division, but because they decided to accept the invitation of some preacher to answer questions from *voters*.And please do let us know how they answer!

  • Todd

    Is this pastor so arrogant that he can claim some sort of political authority that resembles regal pomp when Americans are paying $4.00 for a gallon of gasoline, prices at the grocery store are skyrocketing, mortgage defaulting is a relic of 1929, and major spasms of violence have become endemic in Afghanistan? I think that this man completed, once and for all, the synthesis of religion and cynical exploitation, intellectually dragging America down to pre-Renaissance levels.

  • TheSkeptic

    The public would be best served if religion and government were kept separate. Haven’t we learned a thing from history?I think we’d be much better served if the candidates had a debate on their stance on scientific issues and research funding. We’ll never stay competative in the world (think China and India), if we forget about mathematics and science.

  • Mari Johnson

    Dear Mr. Warren,While you are interviewing Mr. McCain can you please ask him why he made the statement to our local Phoeinx paper that he was a member of North Phoenix Baptist Church. In fact, McCain is anon-practicing Episcapalian and he was not even baptized by immersion. I do not hold the fact of his type of baptism against him, but I certainly wish he would at least get it right that to belong to a southern Baptist Church, one needs Baptist baptism. I think you have a wonderful idea to highlight the religious point of view of each presidential candidate. I also pray for your aids ministry every day and am pround that you are such a fine representative of Baptists with a heart.

  • Nathan

    It’s not a campaign event. A campaign event supports one or the other candidate.

  • gary

    chasemonster,can we ask obama why it is okayto break a childs skull open and suck its brains out?

  • Jules Wolf

    1 Peter 2:17 instructs to fear God and honor the King. It does not say that we should expect the King to be Christian. I am troubled by Mr. Warren’s insertion of Biblical principals into the election of a president as if it were like calling a new pastor to a church. The presidential election is for all intents and purposes a secular event, and out of respect for our diverse population should remain so.

  • deflag

    I agree with Nathan. It’s like vacation bible school at the megachurch and this year the theme is Camp Pain with the O’Bombers and McCains. Maybe the Hatfields and McCoys will show up and put on a side show for the kids. I have beer for the horses too.

  • Santa

    Deflag was a DE student. He could spell “Santa” though and his handwriting was good, so he got a helicopter for Christmas one year. An airplane can fly over and drop bombs. A helicopter can fly over and drop you a line. Drop me a line and I’ll send gifts.

  • deflag

    The great weakness of mounted archers was their need of space and their light equipment (compared to contemporary heavy cavalry). If they were forced to fight in close combat against better armoured enemies, they usually lost. Furthermore, they were not suited for participating in sieges. Good cavalry troops needed lots of training and very good horses. Now they have helicopters with big guns. Don’t get knocked out of your saddle and end up flat on your back mercenaries and then complain it wasn’t fair fighting. The only thing in life that is fair is love. Have bow and arrows, will travel.

  • Former Christian

    I’ve just watched this forum and basically, it’s no different than most debates. No matter how well crafted the questions, there was no follow-up by Warren when the candidates failed to answer the question. And fail they did. McCain in particular, seemed to use this forum as a means of giving snippets of stump speeches. We heard the same old same old about the need to drill now. What we didn’t hear is any follow-up about how long it will take to find and process oil, or what does increased drilling do to reduce our dependency on oil.Unfortunately, Warren posed questions in such a way as to provide an opportunity to campaign. As far as I could see, there was no more sense of how either of these candidates makes a decision than one gets from listening to their speeches.I’m still waiting for McCain to reconcile freedom and privacy issues from security issues.

  • chasemonster
  • Dean

    I am a believer and I think this show is a very bad idea and it shouldn’t happen. You are placing viewers into two separate categories and it is not believers and atheists, but southern baptists and some very extremist catholics against a mass of the rest of us.These are the same people which forced us into this ideological war which but pits those of us deeply believe, like Roger Williams – the founder of the Baptists – that opposed vigorously the union of shurch and state – against those who would convert this country into a christian commonwealth.The concept that in the name abortion and gay marriage, both concepts which I oppose strenuously, you are entitled to empower judges for outcome instead of justice or look the other way when your religion has become the deciding factor and not your commitment to american values in everything you do or say or when forced conversion is the path to advancement we have strayed.I am amazed how little reaction there has been to the hijacking of what are liberal principles in the creation of this country and converting them into christian principles which they are not, in fact they are antitethical. Worse yet they have converted the word, liberal, into a peyorative lumping everything and everybody they don’t like or stands up to them into this mass. They are introducing government control and intervention into everything – both opposed to our cherished privacy and individuality – and blame their fiscal incontinence and lack of management skills on “liberals”.We don’t need or want this employment interview to go on and the healthiest thing is for this interview never to happen at all.

  • joyce richardson

    you know you say you are christian how this be when you support a man that doesn’t even attend church left his wife for another woman an has the same views as mr bush john mccain isn’t going to change anything if mr obama was white you would be ready for the change that he talks about real christian don’t care about color.black people have alway voted for white people color has never matter they are the people with heart you racist and so call christian could learn something from them stop looking at color and let GOD lead you in the voting booth i dont’t know what some of you will do when jesus ask why did skin color matter when i made you all.

  • joyce richardson

    you know you say you are christian how can this be when you support a man that doesn’t even attend church left his wife for another woman an has the same views as mr bush john mccain isn’t going to change anything if mr obama was white you would be ready for the change that he talks about real christian don’t care about color.black people have alway voted for white people color has never matter they are the people with heart you racist and so call christian could learn something from them stop looking at color and let GOD lead you in the voting booth i dont’t know what some of you will do when jesus ask why did skin color matter when i made you all.

  • It pays to be ignorant, to be dumb to be dopey to be ignornat.

    Arminius:Thank you for your enlightened guidance. Let’s see, not first but second, not last but way down the list and not the same year but the same institution.Lee did surrender to Grant?Sports announcer, Vince Scully noticed the difference in pay of the batter, Reggie Jackson the highest paid player in baseball at the time and the pitcher, an unknown getting minimum, a difference of millions of dollrs. “Reggie should hit a home run every at bat while the pitcher should never get anyone out.”Did you get the point yet? Credentials do not a super star make. Performance counts. As I recall, “Mr October” the highest paid player was struck out by Mr Nobody. The same is true for academics. A doctor’s degree does not a genius make. That’s why they have mal practice lawyers.Rick Warren is being given a free pass as God’s vicar by our government. Is he God’s attorney in fact? Who the hell is he? Try “jack-legged preacher” on for size. If that don’t fit then try con man.Rick Warren runs an organization that is a duplicate of the mafia -no product or service just money. Threatening people with hell and demanding money to avoid it is the “protection” racket. Since the government recognizes him as God’s attorney he’s not required to “launder” the money like the mafia. Notice that neither pay any taxes on the extorted money.

  • deflag

    “And fail they did.”

  • deflag

    It’s one minute to mid-night

  • Cletus

    I’m an atheist that usually votes Libertarian, but I have no problem with the forum in the church. Even if the candidates were both atheist (or muslim or hindu, for that matter), they’d have to show up and pretend otherwise. Thus, it really means nothing. Either one of them will be a quantum improvement on the dopey god-squadder currently in office (think how easily Putin fooled that buffoon just by wearing a crucifix — stupid, gullible Christians).

  • VICTORIA

    Ideally- there should be some element of impartiality in a debate between presidential hopefuls. The moderator is evangelical- as well as the entire audience- clearly McCain is playing with the home field advantage. (evangelicals supported bush at 78%- now McCain at 67% as just reported by CNN) It seems pretty unlikely. I’m not an atheist- but I’m an American- and such a blatant litmus test seems counterintuitve to the politcal process. I’d feel the exact same way if it were my own particular group providing such a slanted venue.

  • Dan Endy

    I learned some very scary things last night. Neither of these candidates line up Biblically.

  • deflag

    We can agree to disagree. We are all deciders, We the people decide who we want to be and how we want to live our lives, however long or short they may be. Have a good breakout of belly laughter. The technicians have bedeviled us and then there’s the pillar of blood school. Have faith in freedom and give thanks for your liberty. The spirit of liberty is the spirit that is not too sure it is right. It’s only love that confirms if it is right and there as the bard would say is the rub.

  • deflag

    A woman can’t offer to man that which only belongs to God. The act of love is a mystery and people don’t take the mystery seriously. Marriage has joys and sorrows. It’s in the sorrows and not the joys that the bond must be strong. One is of paper and the other of thorns. When we are one with eros, we would rather be broken hearted together than happy alone. The future is at stake and we are inclined to turn monk to get along. Being in love means putting God before union. Politics puts power before God and leads to false temptations. Beauty is on the inside and power is only something good if we share it. Giving one person more power than all of the others is not democratic. Share the love and share the power. A passion can only move us, we can only respond and live out the passion. Keep your promises and keep faith in the future. That’s where the children will end up living.

  • deflag

    A garden left to nature will soon become a wild place. Love is a wild idea. 200 years of wild ideas later, it’s still a free country. It’s the next 200 years that are more important. Make room for others and avoid misery. Safety first!

  • deflag

    Lady de Rothschild ambushes Barack ObamaWe’re pretending he’s a black JFK, so it does get rather confusing and it appears that it is going to get more confusing before it gets less. If I went around saying I’m a white MLK, nobody would believe me and for good reason. I’m not.

  • deflag

    Here’s the friend link, if you care

  • deflag

    Evil destroys itself, so all the propaganda and theatrical postings don’t do any good. Wasted days and wasted web space. GEE-WHIZ.

  • norman ravitch

    So I guess I’ll stop worrying that our next president will take orders from the Pope.

  • bipolar2

    ** Super-size me Jesus! **Junk-food faith for a fat-head nation!Sen. Obama wants to reach out to fundies? Casting pearls before the swinish, he’s already carried obligatory politico-religious hypocrisy too far. The “Rev” Rick should be seen for the lying fraud that he is.A nation overwhelmingly god-fearing also overwhelmingly rejects science. My fellow country-persons lack the critical intelligence to evaluate the garbage they put in their brains.The US is an aberration among developed nations in its affinity for xian enthusiasms and in its failure to accept now elementary basic truths like evolution via natural selection.America the free? Nonsense. I am an atheist, an *anti-supernaturalist* to be precise. Therefore, I belong to the most despised minority in the US. Why according to GHW Bush, I’m not fit to be a citizen.I’ll tolerate fundies only when everyone’s “freedom of conscience” under the US Constitution is restored and respected. The US is still (barely) a secular state which has the misfortune of selective amnesia towards the political ideology of christo-fascism, dominionism. If you haven’t read Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” do it before election day.The US has been a secular state from its inception. It is *not* one nation under a non-existent god. The people are sovereign. Not child molesting priests, not fanatical tax-dodging televangelists, nor cabals of delusional fundies seeking to overthrow the Republic. bipolar2 © 2008

  • katharine

    A Christian must demonstrate his faith in his everyday life. Jesus lashed out at the Pharisees for pretending to be religious while acting in ways that showed no faith and a lack of compassion for others. One man in this presidential race has consistently showed by his life that he follows the precepts of Jesus, in his marriage, in his strong profession that Jesus died for his sins, in his knowledge and use of scripture in his everyday life, in the tenor of his campaign,in his compassionate programs that leave no one behind. That man is Barack Obama.

  • deflag

    America the free? It’s a free country here in the USA. Just the fact that you can write a critical line here about the government and not expect somebody to haul you off to jail proves it. Some of these other countries, well you know. The government sucks and writing that, no matter how true, gets you in big trouble. You were in trouble to begin with though. Then you have people who question freedom as they write freely to question it. It’s always something.

  • Al

    In my view it makes no difference if a minister, or anyone else, interviews Obama and McCain.If the interview itself or any comments here in the aftermath upset, irritate or even enrage you; you’ve given away your power. Why do that?There’s no problem until you’re governed by an emotional or mental reflex.The affect of words and opinions on one’s inner serenity, intuitive calm and clarity of awareness are a good measure of one’s own spiritual state or evolutionary condition.I find observing my inner reactions quite telling, letting me know where I need to make adjustments in my own character and behavior. Perhaps that’s one of the deeper invitations of forums such as these.

  • deflag

    I just got adjusted with a Guinness and a few shots of Jim Beam. It’s an old family tradition!

  • Marc Edward

    I tried to watch some of Warren’s interview with McCain, but honestly I can only tolorate so much stupidity that somehow manages to be boring. At least MTVs “Parental Control” and “Super Sweet 16″ manage to make idiots entertaining. While Warren was ab;e to ask some good questions, he had no follow up, making the overall conversation less than worthless. For example Ricky asked John Sydney McCain “When does life begin?”, to which McCain said “At conception”, and of course the audience of simpletons cheered like kids hearing Santa Claus is coming. I’d have appreciated some intelligent follow up questions likeOverall it was a waste of everybody’s time, and it only served to lower my respect for people who have to embrace organized religion.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t help smiling when both candidates made it a point to quote from Rev Rick Warren’s book to impress him. It seemed that both had been given their questions in advance and each one was giving their carefully prepared answers.

  • rann

    I did not watch the forum. My time was better spent watching the Olympics. To give any pastor this kind of political clout during a political campaign is absurd, and, clearly, a direction, we, as a democratic Nation, do not want to go in.Rick Warren is a pastor from with a mega-church, that, in itself, is mega-scarry…but to add political clout to his resume is downright dangerous….Stupid move Barak to agree to this.

  • FlaChristian

    As a Christian, I was fairly disappointed on two levels- the first coming as really no surprise was that Senator Obama and the Democrats do not represent most of my ‘core beliefs’. However, I did appreciate the Senator expounding on his personal and political beliefs and feel like I have a better sense of who he is. Of what role God plays in his and his family’s daily life and although I strongly disagree with some of his ideology and beliefs, I found him intelligent, forthcoming and thoughtful.The far bigger let down was Senator McCain’s inability or unwillingness to answer more than half the questions directly. Instead he relied on the same sound bites and stories he has used for years in his political life. He clearly pandered to the audience (which he even admitted to and they seemed to really enjoy) and he spoke well BUT – this was to be a open discussion about FAITH and Christianity! In that regard, I learned virtually nothing new about this man’s personal Faith. The way McCain directed his responses to ‘His friends’- over and over combined with Pastor Warren’s complete lack of follow up, for me was very frustrating. Overall my impression was that McCain was stumping 90% of the time – instead of taking the opportunity to pronounce his personal faith in God and how that effects his decisions and his life. Which was the supposed intent to begin with. Though the stories were moving- he even added the line, “Just two Christians standing together”- his answers mostly campaign-ish and not from the heart. The very well traveled and easy road, unfortunately. Granted Obama had to be more forth-coming, as his positions and beliefs are playing to a ‘tough crowd’. When he thoughtfully answered though – I believed his inner struggle with issues like abortion and stem cell research. I believe he was honest about his spirituality and acceptance of God into his life. His marriage and family are certainly model examples of how he has chosen to live his life.Perhaps I’m just speaking for myself but as a fairly conservative but open minded Christian, well…to be completely honest- I wish I could rationalize voting for the man that has clearly exhibited a love for God in his actions and life, a man who could bring people together, that would try and find common ground and lead the country in the right direction in this modern era. The reality is though- I don’t know if I can.

  • FlaChristian

    As a Christian, I was fairly disappointed on two levels- the first coming as really no surprise was that Senator Obama and the Democrats do not represent most of my ‘core beliefs’. However, I did appreciate the Senator expounding on his personal and political beliefs and feel like I have a better sense of who he is. Of what role God plays in his and his family’s daily life and although I strongly disagree with some of his ideology and beliefs, I found him intelligent, forthcoming and thoughtful.The far bigger let down was Senator McCain’s inability or unwillingness to answer more than half the questions directly. Instead he relied on the same sound bites and stories he has used for years in his political life. He clearly pandered to the audience (which he even admitted to and they seemed to really enjoy) and he spoke well BUT – this was to be a open discussion about FAITH and Christianity! In that regard, I learned virtually nothing new about this man’s personal Faith. The way McCain directed his responses to ‘His friends’- over and over combined with Pastor Warren’s complete lack of follow up, for me was very frustrating. Overall my impression was that McCain was stumping 90% of the time – instead of taking the opportunity to pronounce his personal faith in God and how that effects his decisions and his life. Which was the supposed intent to begin with. Though the stories were moving- he even added the line, “Just two Christians standing together”- his answers mostly campaign-ish and not from the heart. The very well traveled and easy road, unfortunately. Granted Obama had to be more forth-coming, as his positions and beliefs are playing to a ‘tough crowd’. When he thoughtfully answered though – I believed his inner struggle with issues like abortion and stem cell research. I believe he was honest about his spirituality and acceptance of God into his life. His marriage and family are certainly model examples of how he has chosen to live his life.Perhaps I’m just speaking for myself but as a fairly conservative but open minded Christian, well…to be completely honest- I wish I could rationalize voting for the man that has clearly exhibited a love for God in his actions and life, a man who could bring people together, that would try and find common ground and lead the country in the right direction in this modern era. The reality is though- I don’t know if I can.

  • deflag

    With one corps http://www.onecorps.com the Democrats should have this thing all locked up. A highly organized effort for one America. Edwards for Vice!

  • Anonymous

    Roy:Warren did Americans a huge favor by forcing the candidates to address the issues without their usual stump speeches and attacks on each other.Despite the obligatory and unnecessary question about their Christianity, the questions were excellent and well though out. It did look like McCain had been tipped off. He responded like he knew the questions in advance. In any case, this was an excellent forum and we owe a thank you to Warren.McCain towed the Cheney line and it was no surprise he has no concept of what it means to be rich or poor in America. In his circle of friends, the minimum bar is $5 million. In Obama’s maybe $250,000. Who’s more elitist?I’m more content now to say that I don’t support McCain because of his stated positions rather than hating him for his loathsome neocon colleagues and his despicable Rovain campaign.August 17, 2008 9:40 AM _________________________________________Be not naive. Rev Rick Warren arranged a carefully controlled public forum in the attendance of a national and international media to present both the presidential candidates in their best light along with useful information about their personal views both religious and otherwise. He called them both his friends. Why would he, as a Christian pastor, want either of them to look foolish or not be at their best?Both candidates said their prepared answers. The questions needed far too much careful reflection to answer, that it could not have been thought out on the spot. Just because Senator Obama paused longer doesn’t mean he didn’t prepare his answers in advance. He is the better orator and well known for it. Pausing for effect is part of oratory skill. It is simplistic to think his longer pauses had any special significance compared to Senator McCain’s immediate quick answers.

  • Roy

    Warren did Americans a huge favor by forcing the candidates to address the issues without their usual stump speeches and attacks on each other.Despite the obligatory and unnecessary question about their Christianity, the questions were excellent and well though out. It did look like McCain had been tipped off. He responded like he knew the questions in advance. In any case, this was an excellent forum and we owe a thank you to Warren.McCain towed the Cheney line and it was no surprise he has no concept of what it means to be rich or poor in America. In his circle of friends, the minimum bar is $5 million. In Obama’s maybe $250,000. Who’s more elitist?I’m more content now to say that I don’t support McCain because of his stated positions rather than hating him for his loathsome neocon colleagues and his despicable Rovain campaign.

  • candide

    Rick Warren was friendly and civil and all seemed good at Saddleback. But still Warren was the Grand Inquisitor asking the candidates about their faith and forcing them to say stupid things like, Jesus saved me, etc.There is no place for religious nonsense in a political discussion.

  • Anonymous

    Church’s have no more credibility. If you believe it God, worship at home. Ask yourself what God would say to these churches that are worth billions while the world suffers? How about their million dollar book sales? The way they live? There life styles? And you continue to pass the plate? The next time you see someone homeless, give your Sunday donation to them. God will love you.

  • rmorrow

    Christine Valrico FL: ———Who cares?

  • Jeff Johnson, Collegeville

    Last night, Obama proved that he is an utter coward when he sidestepped the question on abortion. When asked when human rights should begin for an unborn person, he merely claimed that we should cut down on unwanted children.In fact, his voting record, and his A+ rating with Planned Parenthood, Emily’s list, and NARAL prove that he has no regard whatever for the innocent children that want only to be born and cared for and loved. His shrill vitriol advocates total access to abortion at all stages.Think about it: he defends even so called “partial birth abortion” which involves puncturing the head of a child so its brains can be sucked out.Murder looks like murder, doesn’t it? And he assents to it.

  • Amy

    I’d like to see a forum where the candidates are tested on their loyalty to the principles embodied in the Constitution.For example, Article VI states that:No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

  • 4th watch

    After listening to Pastor Warren question the candidates, I am glad he did host such a forum.It took away any lasting doubts I harbored about these candidates. Neither of them should enter into the Presidency.Republicans/Democrats are not getting the job done. A viable third party is not in sight yet, but I hear one coming round the bend… what a beautiful sound.

  • Marc Edward

    Charles: “As I have already said, the Christian-bashing”Wow you can’t get one sentence in without lying. I didn’t bash Christians in general, I did make a unkind (but true) comment about the audience. Instead of working on your spelling, you ought to learn some reading comprehension. I note that you lack the convictions to discuss abortion. I didn’t ask partisan questions, I did ask questions I’d ask of anybody who is pretending to be serious about an issue. Obviously McCain doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about abortion, just like most Republicans, just like the pro-life leadership, and probably just like you.Pretty much every post you make mischaracterizes another person’s point and smearing them. The emptiness of your posts speaks volumes about you. Clearly Christianity hasn’t done much to improve your character. Maybe reading the gospels more and posting less would build come character in you.

  • Athena

    Does anyone else see the irony of an American woman married to a British Peer – Lady de Rothschild – calling Obama an “elitist”? I mean, she IS the elite! She should go back to her mansion and servants.

  • Charles

    “I can only tolorate so much stupidity”Looks like Marc Edward must have a tough time living with himself. “tolorate”??Irony 1, Marc 0.

  • Jan

    I watched Obama and McCain and it did confirm my beliefs that Obama is really a genuine and wonderful human being and I set about counting the times McCain simply did the usual, “old man joke”. In fact my family made it an event, counting the nonanswers and old man jokes and by the time I went to bed (I couldnt take it anymore) he was up to 29. He never actually answered one question with anything but the standard facist extremist right wing garbage. No surprise there. Obama was genuine, sincere and meaningful with thoughtful and reasonable answers, the only kind that will get us out of the republican mess. I want to remind people who don’t think McCain is McSame or Mc Bush or Bush lite-his responses, his platform is EXACTLY bush and cheney. Time for real religious people to get off their BS Box and vote for real morality, not the kind in a corporate box that has taken this country to its lowest point ever.

  • Tess

    I chose NOT to watch this “forum on religious values” because 1) I believe in the separation of church and state, 2) I am interested in electing a President NOT a Messiah, and 3)I do not want a one-trick-pony or single-issue candidate. I want a candidate who will uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States – not eviscerate it, manipulate it, deginerate it – I want a candidate who brings accountability and checks & balances BACK to government, and I want a candidate who understands and upholds the FACT that the United States is comprised of a plethora of people, faiths, and origins and CELEBRATES the AMERICAN in all of us.

  • Daniel in the Lion’s Den

    I missed the debate. I wonder what channel it was on? I still don’t know. On Saturday night, I had forgotten all about it. What was I watching? I think I was watching the Olympics. I saw Michael Phelps with the eighth gold medal, live, since China time is tweleve housr ahead of Eastern Time, and it was morning for them., there.

  • Marc Edward

    Charles: “Looks like Marc Edward must have a tough time living with himself. “tolorate”??Irony 1, Marc 0.”Wow – you did a spelling flame – you want a little silver star with that? What a netnewb!You ignored the rest of the post, so I presume that you couldn’t refute anything I said. Your surrender is duly noted!

  • ZZim

    Daniel, the whole thing is on Youtube. I haven’t seen it yet either, hope to have time this evening. I lovr the Internets!

  • ZZim

    Jeff Johnson, Collegeville: Actually he didn’t. Are you a liar or are you so ignorant of the law you don’t get what Roe v Wade is?Yeah, he did sidestep. That’s what Obama does. His voting record shows a startlingly high number of abstentions on controversial issues. It’s part of his stated political strategy. He doesn’t take stands on controversial issues. Instead he makes uplifting substanceless speeches that generally don’t mean anything (i.e – “We are the change we’ve been waiting for”). The strategy is to make people feel a sort of formless positivity which than makes tham assume that he must agree with them on those controversial issues.It’s in his book, you should read it.

  • Charles

    @Marc,I mentioned everything noteworthy in your post. So sorry to have omitted the chaff. Your posts contain nothing beyond standard anti-Christian left-wing potshots, and little that could be termed insightful or original.Terming evangelical Christians “simpletons” is bigotry, and is ignorant and childish. If you want not to be flamed on your spelling, (a) spell things correctly and (b) say something else noteworthy, instead of resorting to blanket insults and shallow, partisan cheap shots at every turn.

  • Blessedinva

    Would Jesus of the Bible endorse political candidates? Which ones? Zealots? Sadducees? Insurrectionist? Romans? Of course not!! The true Jesus- who is the same yesterday, today and forever said “My Kingdom is NOT of this world…” He also had signs and wonders following those who believe which still happens to those who believe His Words and promises without adding to them or taking away from them.The Church does need a BIG reformation as Rick Warrent states- but one where believers return to the God and Jesus of the Bible…where there is the power of the Holy Spirit, love and forgiveness towards enemies…not war mongering or an interest in power, position, and prestige in the world. There is a real gospel message and many of us and hearing it and being set free from apostate religion. This political forum is an example of what we are leaving behind by God’s grace. True followers of Jesus are hated by the world, Jesus said. Not embraced by those in power. It is apparent from anyone who has opened the bible that this “new way of doing things” in the name of Jesus has nothing to do with His person or message. That is because this political American Jesus is not the Jesus of the bible!!!True followers of Jesus, who have been spiritually reborn love people -and hate war. These ones can share the truth that Jesus took all of our problems on the cross, our sins and needs, and we are set free. If you believe that- wait and by God’s power He will give that to you.Blessings to all of my sisters and brothers in every country in the world- Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Mexico- in Christ we are one family- and I love you and bless you in Jesus’ name. So called “Christianity” has shamed itself and the true Jesus is very angry with us. We must turn to Him in humility and accept who He really is. There is no Christian nation- only Christian people- those who are given a new spirit from heaven- they are made up of people from every nation. They are willing to deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Jesus. They are humble servants who have Jesus’ nature and are a light. American Christians- please repent!!! Read the book of Jeremiah- this is not a game. The evangelical Jesus is a LiE and does not exist. Return to the true God and the true Jesus.

  • Blessedinva

    Would Jesus of the Bible endorse political candidates? Which ones? Zealots? Sadducees? Insurrectionist? Romans? Of course not!! The true Jesus- who is the same yesterday, today and forever said “My Kingdom is NOT of this world…” He also had signs and wonders following those who believe which still happens to those who believe His Words and promises without adding to them or taking away from them.The Church does need a BIG reformation as Rick Warrent states- but one where believers return to the God and Jesus of the Bible…where there is the power of the Holy Spirit, love and forgiveness towards enemies…not war mongering or an interest in power, position, and prestige in the world. There is a real gospel message and many of us and hearing it and being set free from apostate religion. This political forum is an example of what we are leaving behind by God’s grace. True followers of Jesus are hated by the world, Jesus said. Not embraced by those in power. It is apparent from anyone who has opened the bible that this “new way of doing things” in the name of Jesus has nothing to do with His person or message. That is because this political American Jesus is not the Jesus of the bible!!!True followers of Jesus, who have been spiritually reborn love people -and hate war. These ones can share the truth that Jesus took all of our problems on the cross, our sins and needs, and we are set free. If you believe that- wait and by God’s power He will give that to you.Blessings to all of my sisters and brothers in every country in the world- Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Mexico- in Christ we are one family- and I love you and bless you in Jesus’ name. So called “Christianity” has shamed itself and the true Jesus is very angry with us. We must turn to Him in humility and accept who He really is. There is no Christian nation- only Christian people- those who are given a new spirit from heaven- they are made up of people from every nation. They are willing to deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Jesus. They are humble servants who have Jesus’ nature and are a light. American Christians- please repent!!! Read the book of Jeremiah- this is not a game. The evangelical Jesus is a LiE and does not exist. Return to the true God and the true Jesus.

  • Anonymous

    Rick Warren’s first Global Goliath (“spiritual emptiness”) says it all – If you are not of faith (a Christian like Rick) you are unfit.Those who choose other faiths or no faith are just as moral, ethical, and worthy as anyone else – if not more so. It is regrettable that CNN and now America is focussed on two highly-divisive and unresolvable (through law) issues instead of solving our nations real problems that can be solved. So while our house burns to the ground we are arguing about what color to paint the bedroom.Religious-based beliefs and views have no part in the state – period. Dr King was right

  • Tonio

    Dumb question – where exactly does Rick Warren fall on the political spectrum? I was concerned that he was another James Dobson or Pat Robertson. I’ve encountered many evangelical Christians whose political positions are far different from the religious right’s.

  • Marc Edward

    Charles: “I mentioned everything”You ran away from what you were too cowardly to address. Your surrender is duly noted.Some of the questions (for McCain) you ran away from with your tail between your legs:”- So do you consider abortion to be murder?Of course Rick did nothing of the sort.Oh, and of course you lied. I didn’t call Christians “simpletons”, I called the cheering audience “simpletons” because they responded like trained sheep. Cheering a guy for agreeing with you about abortion when he’s had power for 30 years and done nothing displays sheep-like mindlessness.

  • Charles

    @Marc:As I have already said, the Christian-bashing isn’t interesting to me. The forum was very much time-constricted, making it impossible to do many follow-up questions while getting through the list of questions he had for both candidates.The audience applauded both candidates at various points. Nonetheless, you chose to insult them in broad strokes. You paint people who dare define life as “beginning at conception” as “simpletons [cheering] like kids hearing Santa Claus is coming”. You paint Christians “as people who have to embrace organized religion”, which is obviously intended as demeaning. Christians don’t have to embrace religion, they choose to. You also insulted Republicans as a group, and trivailized a complex issue in your “analysis” of abortion. But for you, simplistic partisan questions are “analysis” and stereotyping and bigotry are somehow excusable.But please, go on. End each post with LOL. It’s as sophisticated as your name-calling and 19th-century-chic stereotyping. Go read some of the stuff people used to say about black people, or Jews – they used the same condescending, self-important language you now use to describe Christians, the audience at Saddleback, and Republicans. If that’s enlightenment, the world is a better place left in the dark.

  • Ron

    Obama is being razzed by the usual suspects for saying that the theological, scientific and moral question of when human life becomes a human person is “above his paygrade.” . . . But even the Vatican doesn’t claim to know that precise answer. From the lips of Ratzinger: “The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature [as to the time of ensoulment], but it constantly affirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion.” So it’s above the Pope’s pay-grade as well.

  • skinner

    Good article. A Couple corrections though; First, Pastor Rick did not select himself as moderator. Originally they were going to have a panel (without Pastor Rick), but Obama and McCain would only come if he was asking the questions. Second, Pastor Rick did not endorse Bush in any way in ’04…I know because I was there! I’ve been a Saddleback member since 1987 (when we were meeting in a high school gym). His message has never changed, his teachings are biblical, and he just gets a lot of unwarranted rants from people whose only perception of him is what they see in the media. He gets criticized because of his success and it really isn’t fair. He didn’t write Purpose Driven Life with the hopes of making millions, in fact it wasn’t even his idea to write the book! He was approached by Zondervan (the publisher) because they loved his message. Anyway, stop making stupid assumptions about our pastor, come to one of our services, talk to the people in our ministries, and meet with one of the thousands of teenagers who choose to ‘hang-out’ at our church on the weekends. No matter how many daggers you throw this church and its message will persevere because it’s a place of God :)

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