McCain Wins with Home Field Advantage

The hands-down winner of Saturday evening’s Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency was John McCain. The loser was American secularism. … Continued

The hands-down winner of Saturday evening’s Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency was John McCain. The loser was American secularism. As for Barack Obama, well, let’s just say it was his most Dukakis-y performance yet.

While commentators have made much of how “nuanced” Obama was in his responses to Pastor Rick Warren’s prompts, I think it would be better to describe him as “calm, even subdued.” And let me not mince words: being nuanced, calm and even subdued is not necessarily the winning formula in front of a megachurch full of Evangelicals.

In mainstream Evangelical culture one testifies to the Glory of God exuberantly, unhesitatingly, with hands thrust heavenward, heart open wide and eyes scanning the horizon for possible indices of the Kingdom’s coming. It looks like McCain, who will never be confused for a seminarian, figured that one out.

With his here-I-stand swagger he played to the galleys expertly (this is one of the first times I can recall where his opponent was not the overwhelming crowd favorite). Here is McCain delegitimizing the liberal 4/9 of United States Supreme Court. Here he is recounting that POW anecdote for the one zillionth time (but now he smartly adds that he and his gun guard “were just two Christians worshipping together”). Here he is reminding us that he is “saved and forgiven.” Here he is talking about his church (an aside that reminds us that Senator Obama doesn’t have a church).

But most of all he rehearsed his anti-abortion bona fides. With Obama conveniently playing the role of Pro-Choice Blue State Guy, the Maverick started sharpening the contrasts. This may well be remembered as the night that pro-Life Evangelicals finally understood what they should have understood 12 months ago: McCain delivers on this issue and has a quarter-century track record of doing so.

As for Obama, his normally ace religious outreach team made a variety of mistakes. The candidate was not well prepared. He was far too somber and reserved. His qualifiers and provisos were better suited for a chat with the dean of Harvard Law, than a folksy Man of God who always looks like he is on the verge of hugging the nearest sinner in sight.

My guess is that Obama’s people assumed this event would be similar to the Compassion Forum held at Messiah College this past April. But that took place in a much smaller venue. The conversation was moderated by two professional journalists, neither of whom wear their religion on their sleeve. It was taped in front of an audience of assorted religious luminaries (who themselves posed questions). The crowd was brimming with youthful Evangelicals who lived in dorms and looked kind of hip. It also featured a certain Senator from New York who, in retrospect, never gave Obama anything as nasty as “The One” ad.

Contrary to some newspaper reports, that gathering at Messiah was not a free-for-all (The New York Times’ reporting was particularly disappointing in this regard). On the contrary, it was a thoughtful and serene affair with a decidedly un-sectarian spirit. Maybe the Obama folks figured the Saddleback gig would just be more of the same.

But here’s what was different: this was an Evangelical, not an ecumenical, forum, and for this reason McCain had an immense, nearly insurmountable, home field advantage. This was an audience that was very concerned about what Warren referred to as something “that’s a Holocaust for many people.” Obama should have armed himself properly before walking into that pro-Life coliseum. Was the Senator the only person on earth who didn’t know that Pastor Rick was going to ask a question or two about abortion?

Why didn’t his staff didn’t hire the best liberal theological talent that money could buy, lock them in a Chicago basement, and tell them not to come out until they could make a few biblical verses sound like the founding charter of NARAL? Suffice it to say, when Warren asked “at what point does a baby get human rights?” the ideal response with this crowd was not to quip that the problem was “above my pay grade.”

All year long I have been saying that Obama simply needs 5 to 10 percent more Evangelical support in 2008 in order to neutralize previous Republican advantages. An estimated 11 percent of White Evangelicals are still undecided. I see little, however, that Obama did on Saturday to get them to alight from the fence.

Although Pastor Rick demonstrated a certain degree of restraint, the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency was, ultimately, a Christfest. Why the first joint appearance of the two candidates was refracted through the prism of an Evangelical “worldview” is beyond my limited powers of comprehension.

When Warren asked “what do you say to people who oppose me asking you these questions?”, I assume the “people” in question were secularists. And on the basis of McCain and Obama’s responses (and participation in this event) I must assume that neither thought these secularists were worthy of serious consideration.

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
August 17, 2008; 5:20 PM ET


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  • jillian

    Jacques:I’m concerned. Why wasn’t Michelle Obama in attendance at Saddleback?Is she (you know) under the bus with the rest of Obama’s longtime close confidants?Has she been banned to the REAL Cone of Silence because the Obama campaign now considers her a deficit?

  • orf

    check off the evangelical pander, job done.The evangelicals are prone to believing truly stupid things, breathtakingly stupid things.And now, they believe McCain is one of them.All we really have to do is convince them that their god has moved the day we vote to the first saturday in november. Why not? They’ll believe it.

  • Celinda Scott

    I thought Obama did fine in the discussion and I hope his handlers don’t try to make him forget that he taught constitutional law for 8 years. Please let’s forget the catch-word “nuance”. What Obama gave was vitally important detail and a stance of fairness. He knew what he was talking about. When asked about the Supreme Court justices he mentioned particular judges, their strengths and weaknesses, and where he agreed and disagreed with them. All McCain did was to shoot out 4-5 names of judges and use the “legislating” slogan for why he wouldn’t tolerate them (betraying a lack of knowledge of constitutional law and American history). When asked about merit pay for teachers, Obama said it would be a good idea for principals, teachers, and unions to work together to spell out what would be judged. As most teachers know, some principals are good evaluators of overall good teaching and some aren’t–what is being evaluated needs to be spelled out. All McCain could do was to repeat the mindless slogan about competition fixing all ills. –About the wisdom of the candidates appearing with Rick Warren: the reason I even knew about the discussion was calls I’d made for the Obama campaign the day before. Several people brought it up, told me the time and channel, said they were looking forward to it, etc. I live in a strongly Christian rural and small town region. These people count as much as anyone else. And when I remembered all the criticism connected with Jeremiah Wright, I was very glad Obama was going to have the opportunity to talk to a self-labelled Christian who had a wide audience. And their association was perfectly natural, through the work they’d done with AIDS. –Someone suggested other religious formats–that would be a good idea, too. For those who are offended by a format that seems to promote religion: perhaps one way of looking at it would be that the format shows religion, or explains it, or gives it a voice in the marketplace of ideas. There are many secular formats, also.

  • Marc Edward

    Given that McCain cheated, it’s no surprise that he was rather prepared with his answers.Warren’s question-without-followup style was so simplistic I have to wonder how simplistic and stupid his book is. What’s the point of asking a Republican about abortion without asking why have not the Republicans done anything about abortion? they have had years and years when they held the house, senate and White House, yet somehow they can’t bring themselves to back up their talk of “holocaust of the unborn”.

  • gabriel

    If a candidate (Obama, in this case) is not 100% against all forms of abortion, what chance does he have of ‘winning’ on the issue in a room filled with 20,000 anti-choice voters. And if the ‘moderator’ of the event is a leader of a religious group for whom anti-choice is perhaps the top issue, the deck is stacked for the candidate upon entry into the room. Hence Obama’s subdued nature — he wasn’t going to change his mind on stage, and it would be insane to hope to convince anybody in the audience to switch sides on the issue. They’re lucky he showed up at all.

  • patrick

    now we hear of mccain’s deceit. See new york times and NBC and Huffiington post. McCAin was in a motorcade being prepped while obama was being interviewed and only late in the game was he put in a greenroom, not a cone of silence. a greenroom is where actors wait to go onstage and they usually here what is happening so as to be on cue. as mccain said, he was doing his best to listen through the wall, but of course it probably had a hole in it! i remember during the mccaiin interview thinking…how fast he is to pounce on every questin with a one liner and a laugh. but then, i remember saying to my wife about 35/40 minutes into the interview, the man is getting old, he can’t last out the hour. now we know the answer. he was not so well prepped for the final moments. warren must be held accountable for this deceit. if he does not investigate and come up with credible answers as to his own integrity and mccain deceit we know we have another on those megachurch nothings.

  • ZZim

    jillian: Why wasn’t Michelle Obama in attendance at Saddleback? Is she (you know) under the bus with the rest of Obama’s longtime close confidants? Has she been banned to the REAL Cone of Silence because the Obama campaign now considers her a deficit?He needed Wright bacause he needed Wright’s advice and patronage. Now that he has surpassed his old mentor, he has discarded him.He needed Michelle because as a complete outsider to the Chicago African-American community, he needed some sort of genuine connection to that community, so he married one. Michelle was the perfect wife for him at that stage of his career, attractive, politically engaged and outspoken, sufficiently dark-skinned to enhance his “authentic” image. His marriage to Michelle was perfectly designed to enhance his image and create acceptance in the Chicago political districts in which he launched his career.However, now that he HAS launched his career, she is no longer the perfect political wife for him on the national stage. He needs to appeal to all Americans, not just African-Americans from Chicago. Hence the fading-into-the-background for Michelle. He can’t publicly denounce her, but he can hide her from public sight. That way, although she isn’t an asset any more, at least she isn’t a liability.

  • ELIZABETH

    Doesn’t it seem odd that Mccain tied practically all of his answers to the millitary ? whether it be war stories or Generals whose advice he’d evil in the world being specifically Bin Laden.

  • Ed

    Hands-down winner? In what arena do you really think this match is being played? I’m a little relieved that Obama didn’t come off too slick on Saturday night. Being comfortable within the walls of such a venue, no matter how big a spectacle it might seem, is not the best test of preparedness for our country’s highest office. You’re perhaps a little too easily impressed by the insular context of Saturday’s event, and are forgetting that this contest will ultimately play out on a world stage; there are more players than a minority of Evangelicals.

  • Ralph

    Warren had the traps set for Obama. He would sit back and let McCain preach to the choir in answering the questions, while he cautioned Obama against making a “stump speach” in his answering the questions. McCain used good judgement in talking to the audience, instead of making it a conversation with Warren. This was a “made-to-order” setting for McCain and he wisely took advantage of the oportunity to perform before a very “already made up my mind” audience. They overlooked his constant pumping of his left arm and the addressing the audience as “My Friends”.

  • m duthie

    Ultimately God will do what He wants.

  • Roy

    Did Obama really tilt his head the whole time like that or was it the camera angle?After hearing McCain and Warren both lie about McCain being in a “cone of silence”, my take is that this was rigged, as usual, by people who pretend to be honest “Christians”

  • mindy

    “(you) are forgetting that this contest will ultimately play out on a world stage; there are more players than a minority of Evangelicals.”WTF are you talking about? This contest is to elect an American president not a Ruler of the World. Do ALL Obama supporters have some serious gears slipping? It makes me question their grasp of reality.

  • Marc Edward

    ZZim: Michelle Obama’s angry racial politics?Unless you are using on-faith to post lies, which I suspect.

  • Greg Neubeck

    Obama’s comments on religion at the Saddleback Forum are at complete variance with his real life associations/practices. Obama is neither Christian nor Muslim. Unless he has had one of his very frequent epiphanies in the last week or two, he is a disciple and practitioner of Black Liberation Theology whose tenants have been amply articulated by Jeremiah Wright and James Cone. For 20yrs. Obama, under the tutorial of the fanatical Reverend Wright, immersed himself and his family in Black Liberation Theology, a Marxist derivative which rejects Christianity; and, which professes that the White race is equivalent to the Devil. Further, it’s amazing that anyone would be shocked at Obama’s perverted view of the Bible, concerning which Obama recently publicly mocked Jesus Christ’s “Sermon On The Mount”. No issue was more obfuscated during the Forum than Obama’s position on abortion which was in complete contrast with even his own wife’s pledge: “Barack will be tireless in keeping legal the practice of partial birth abortions”; and, with his own statement: “The first issue I will deal with as president is to make all abortions at any time legal for any reason, striking down all local, state and federal restrictions.” The man goes far beyond the tag of flip-flopping, he’s a congenital liar. Greg Neubeck

  • John Walsh

    Obama was horrible. Audience loved McCain’s humor. It was like day vs night and day (McCain) won big.

  • GIL

    c`mon washington post where`s your story on old john mcsame cheating saturday night! (WAS NOT IN CONE OF SILENCE!)

  • cube

    I disagree. You seem to be ignoring the fact that the interview was nationally televised and that there was no evangelical test for watching the Q and A on TV. Also, I thought that Obama came across as a lot more spontaneous and human. Much less scripted with campaign rhetoric. Personally, I can’t listen to campaign-speak from anybody.Regarding the evangelical vote, I think Obama didn’t win anyone here, but he re-opened the door. He is not a scary black or liberal. He is clearly an extremely thoughtful person. He, no McCain, comes across as someone who listens and respects the opinion of others. This is appealing across the board.

  • Joel

    Does anyone else find McCain’s frequent use of the phrase, “My friends,” offensive?Or am I the only one?

  • gerald

    “Michelle Obama’s angry racial politics?Marc Edwards–Read Michele Obama’s thesis.From the Introduction …’My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my “Blackness” than ever before. I have found that at Princeton no matter how liberal and open-mided some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be Black first and a student second.These experience have made it apparent to me that the path I have chosen to follow by attending Princeton will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant. This realization has presently, made my goals to actively utilize my resources to benefit the Black community more desirable.’

  • ZZim

    Marc Edward: Michelle Obama’s angry racial politics?Unless you are using on-faith to post lies, which I suspect.1. Read her Princeton thesis – she perceives everything through the lens of racial antagonism and berates herself and others African-Americans for succeeding in and fitting in the mainstrean of American culture and academia.2. She attended an openly racist church with an openly racist pastor who used openly racist rhetoric while preaching an openly racist theology for years and years. Her husband did too, but I don’t believe he is also a racist. I think he was just there because membership in that church supported his political ambitions.That’s really all I need to draw my own conclusions.

  • J Gary Fox

    I was wrong in my original belief that both Obama and McCain did well in the discussion lead by Rev. Warren.You’re correct that the target audience was the Evangelicals and McCain nailed it with them.Sorry that you seem to so disappointed in that outcome.Perhaps the problem is what Michael Gerson wrote today. “Obama is one of those rare political figures who seems to grow smaller the closer we approach him.”We may be seeing a sequel to “The Incredible Shrinking Man” … this time with a Pol who shrinks, and shrinks, then disappears after the election.Princeton Junction

  • Elli

    Who got the God vote??? Perhaps, who gets God’s vote would be more to the point. Especially since only those who claim to speak for God meet the definitions implied in who gets the God vote.Michele Obama cast as a “used” woman for Barak’s political amibitions? Pretty far-fetched in a pathetic attempt to denigrate Obama. Look at the pictures, see the relationship, now compare the picture of a relationship as seen with the McCain’s together. She always walking two steps behind the “great-man” She as the used woman for her money, her connections, even her now-frozen in time beauty. It takes a sick mind to look at the real and call it false and look and hear the false and call it real. Whatever works to promote your own idealogy is apparently the new idealogy.

  • Eric Amacher

    I agree with the analysis above and believe that McCain was the clear winner. I am praying that this not only served him well in securing the conservative republican base, but will also demonstrate a message to secular America as well. And that is, he is direct and unafraid of his convictions. He does not dance and he is honest. Even if you don’t agree with him, which they may not, they must applaud and respect his candor and conviction.

  • david

    A bright shining example of why the founding fathers were so correct in insisting that the church not have a part in government.

  • paul

    I have been truly dismayed to read the responses to the Saddleback forum. I came away from it stripped of whatever (admittedly by then faint) possibility of voting for McCain. I found him simple-minded, pandering, mindlessly, chest-thumpingly, stupid. Who, after the last 7+ years, can hear someone in power say, with solemn gusto, that we should go out and “defeat evil” and not feel gripped by a cold dread? “Evildoers,” anyone? “The Axis of”? Does this ring no bells? I really thought, when it had ended, that McCain had shown himself to be W Bush on steroids, and that his chances were done. Only to wake up the next morning and start reading all the praise for his “clarity.” Very very depressing.

  • joan ca

    A huge fiasco, lip service is all the public receives. Then there is a hint that the other candidate may have been privy to some of the questions, he was not in the quiet room as thought, but on his way to the forum. Nothing is sacred anymore. Power rules! Don’t know if I would choose any of the candidates, Mickey Mouse may better serve the American interests.

  • bajacalla

    how quickly we forget: McCain was Bush redux. and look where that evangelical pandering campaign got us. if the American public falls for it again, we may as well kiss the Constitution goodbye.

  • Daniel Walker

    Saturday night, he (John McCain) cited the role of faith in his decision to stay in a Vietnamese prison camp after he was offered release because his father was a high-ranking naval officer.”In fact McCain, as was all prisoners in the camp, was required to denounce the United States’ involvement in the Vietnamese war in order to obtain “early release”. It is not likely that his North Vietnamese captors (who used their little children as “suicide bombers”) gave any deference to the fact that his father was a “high-ranking naval officer.

  • Reader in Houston

    Everyone expected John “Maverick” McCain to wind up towing the GOP party line and playing to the base of white evangelicals. So what. White evangelicals – with their obsession with red herrings like the Federal Marriage Amendment and the support of folks like now-departed A.G. Alberto Gonzales and former staffer John Ashcroft have hurt our country.Thankfully, many others of other “non-evangelical” but still Christian faiths (think of the United Church of Christ and the Unitarians) aren’t falling for McCain’s claptrap. Sects of Christianity such as those two, along with the millions of other voters including the college-educated and the 20-somethings, are fed up with the sort of politics McCain and the evangelical base consider “godly”. Had such evangelicals all put their voices together, they could have pushed for a much sooner end to the Iraq occupation. But with their endless fascination with eschatology (the end times), they just couldn’t resist pushing an agenda that moves the world closer to the all-out Armagheddon they’re salivating for.It is far too premature to sound the death knell for secularism or progressive politics. There are millions and millions of people in this country who are tired of self-righteous types dictating to the masses that the only way to live is with a Bible in one hand, a gun in the other hand, and both legs tightly crossed. The white evangelical “base” has shown themselves always to be angry or upset about something, critical, and, to me, are less “Christian” than other Christians and even many non-Christians.It is this collective resentment of the white evangelical base that has led Obama to get the kind of support he’s had.

  • Rod Davis

    Understanding the bias in Mr. Jacques Berlinerblau, we are still left to wonder whether the writer is interested solely in the Bible’s interpretation of how thngs must be, or whether one should approach life focused on the issues of reality.The Bible certainly must be an important part of the American way of life because without God there is no salvation for our sins. I am reminded of Jesus’ words on Church and State – render under to Ceaser what is Ceaser’ and to God the glory. Maybe Mr. Berlinerblau should consider that as well.

  • Terry Griffith

    There was no way that Barak Obama could “win” an event staged in the land of a group of “religion Nazis” moderated by the “Protestant Pope,” Rick Warren. It is unfortunate that these two Presedential hopefuls felt they had to cater to an arrogant, self-righteous group that hides behind religion to disguise its Conservative agenda of the “Annointed and the Chosen.”McCain’s responses were down right lame, designed to pander to the audience rather than present a realistic approach to real problems. His comment that he would get Osama Bin Laden if he had to follow him to “the gates of Hell,” was particularly humorous. What does that mean in real terms? That is about the only place McCain will ever “get” Osama Bin Laden. Apparently he has never really been in those “hills” north of Peshawar.Can you imagine John Kennedy in 1960 participating in such a forum sponsered by the Catholic Church? He would have been “crucified.”I don’t care what the religious Coservatives believe just as long as they keep their sectarian “trash” out of my yard. This type of religious forum has no place in American politics. Obama should never have consented to try to talk sense to a group whose vote he won’t get in any case. McCain fit right in with his overly simplistic and bombastic remarks.

  • David

    Which race is most racist. The one who owned slaves or those inslaved. Do blacks chain whites to pickups like what happened to the black man in Jasper? There is justified anger at such behavior and now in the 21st century both sides should be adult enough to put the past behind them an move on.A committed evangelical is looking at one issue and Obama will always be lacking on the abortion debate. Rape, incest, or life of the mother is not important to those folks.

  • jerry

    Senator McCain quite simply does not appear presidential.How many times did he ask permission to tell a story? I cannot imagine President Reagan repeatedly asking permission.And, in spite of the U.S. economy, McCain’s primary interest is in perpetual war, on numerous fronts.While Senator Obama seemed tenative at times, he was much more direct at answering the questions asked — without stories.

  • JaxMax

    Obama is INCAPABLE of unscripted response. He was surprised that at a Church he would be asked about abortion.Obama Lite is a mindless drone who repeats rote speeches and mimics every action of John F Kennedy.JFK spoke at Berlin, so Obama went to Berlin.JFK spoke to a Southern Baptist Convention to address religious concerns rasied sine he was Catholic, so Obama treks to Rick Warren’s (Who is Southern Baptist) church with McCain etc…This JFK mimicry can be used to ambush Obama Lite politically.

  • jerry

    “This realization has presently, made my goals to actively utilize my resources to benefit the Black community more desirable.”Michelle Obama embraced the “Black First” and the “White Man is the Oppressor” viewpoint of the Black Liberation Theology Movement:”It is important to make a further distinction here among black hatred, black racism, and Black Power. Black hatred is the black man’s strong aversion to white society. No black man living in white America can escape it…But the charge of black racism cannot be reconciled with the facts. While it is true that blacks do hate whites, black hatred is not racism. Racism, according to Webster, is ‘the assumption that psychocultural traits and capacities are determined by biological race and that races differ decisively from one another, which is usually coupled with a belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race and its rights to dominance over others.’ Where are the examples among blacks in which they sought to assert their right to dominance over others because of a belief in black superiority? [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 14-16]“All white men are responsible for white oppression. It is much too easy to say, “Racism is not my fault,” or “I am not responsible for the country’s inhumanity to the black man…But insofar as white do-gooders tolerate and sponsor racism in their educational institutions, their political, economic and social structures, their churches, and in every other aspect of American life, they are directly responsible for racism. [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 24]

  • Ron

    Rick Warren…

  • mobedda

    It was the case hundreds of years ago, and it is the case now: “…the common people… alwais more regarde novelties then trewthe” [Polydore Vergil] The truth, when closed in upon ['cause who's to say you've truly reached it, eh?] is different from faith in the following ways: more nuanced; more difficult to discover; more divergent from one’s expectations; less conformant to one’s desires; notably lacking in regard for human pride; more likely to inform effective and helpful plans of action.Unfortunately for our future, the truth doesn’t seem to work as a campaign tool. My, oh my, how I wish more of us were curious, generous, cooperative, kind, open-minded and intelligent.

  • Disgusted Voter

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”It disgusts me that these principals which are were conveyed so eloquently by Thomas Jefferson 2006 years ago are being treated as irrelevant in this election cycle. It disgusts me that a certain portion of our citizenry refuses to allow a candidate’s religion to be solely between the “man and his god” and wants to force each candidate account to them “for his faith and worship.” The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the American colonies was driven by the widely held European conviction that uniformity of religion must exist in society. This conviction rested on the insistence that there was one true religion and that it was the duty of the civil authorities to impose it, forcibly if necessary, on the citizenry. The fact that the first face to face meeting of the presumptive party nominees occurred in a religious forum demonstrates that this antiquated European conviction remains alive and well.

  • Anonymous

    You people are so upset that the old guy whipped the skinny kid’s butt at Saddleback. waa-waa-waa.. Wait until Hillary has him by the short hairs in Denver..

  • DS

    “What do you say to people who oppose me asking you these questions?” The answer: As always, the self righteous demand more of others than of themselves.

  • AB68

    John McCain stole the “cross in the sand” story.

  • DEB-Z

    I would rather have non religious leaders questioning the US presidential candidates!!!

  • Marvin Standridge

    Either you believe or you don’t, it shouldn’t have to be scripted!

  • vacymro

    In other words McCain pandered to the Religious Right, the same people who trashed him and his family in 2000. The man has no shame. And do these evangelicals know how he came to marry his second wife or is adultery only a sin for Democrats?

  • Marvin Standridge

    I don’t know why people keep bring up the Church and State issue. You folks need to read the Constitution on your own and not listen to the ACLU’s false statement.

  • Obadiah Oghoerore Alegbe

    As a Christian and Evangelical (Pentecostal) I am very ashamed of the American Evangelical.

  • Enemy Of The State

    Regarding the comment, “In mainstream Evangelical culture one testifies to the Glory of God exuberantly, unhesitatingly, with hands thrust heavenward, heart open wide and eyes scanning the horizon for possible indices of the Kingdom’s coming.’The racists have figured out the winning formula for putting Sen. Obama in a box: If he remains calm and professorial in his responses, he’s remote and elitist; if he expresses the kind of emotion that the article says is necessary to demonstrate commitment, then the conservatives and mainstream press can portray him as a scary, out-of-control black man. Black men in this country know far too well that expressing strong emotions draws fire from whites. Obama is steady and thoughtful in his responses. I thought those were traits we valued, especially in a chief executive. Maybe after eight years of Bush, we don’t recognize reason anymore.

  • David Robertson

    True, these are not nuanced people, so John McCain shined. Unfortunately for both and for the United States, we live in a nuanced world and Barack Obama intuitively understands that and is our best hope for the future.

  • Connie Douglas

    Jacques: Be real, if that’s possible!!! Michelle Obama is a mother and a fine one at that who I am certain is getting her kids prepared to go back to school. Remember – Real mother’s tend to do that!!! John McCain’s granddaughter–oops! that’s his wife Cindy–I guess she’s there to help him remember what he says from one day to the next. Cone of Silence – another lie by John McCain. Rick Warren said on CNN last night that John McCain was not in the Cone of Silence room because he was 15-30 minutes late — so you tell me what he was doing in those 15-30 minutes??? I’m certain he wouldn’t be honest enough to tell the truth about that – nor any of his campaign people would ever admit it!!! No wonder he was so prepared! One good thing — GOD doesn’t act like any of you people!!

  • Chaotician

    Frankly, our Presidental candidates should be repudiating this evangelical nonsense! Pandering to such ignorance for political gain is worse that the Roman emperors “Bread and Circus” routine; albeit probably as effective given the relative curiosity of this particular group of devotees to the cults of their choices!These evangelical “preachers” should be branded as what they are: Swindlers, charlatans, liars, and crooks; their ill gotten thievery should be confiscated and returned to their deluded flocks or used for “real” charitable activities. Holding politcal rallies, endorsing candidates, giving “litmus” tests are not religious activities and ought to disqualify any such organization from all “religious” benefits!!

  • Linda Rollins

    Rick Warren was supposed to run an unbiased forum–He didn’t. I believed the ad and his words. I noticed that when Obama was answering Rick’s question, he was timed–John McCain was not. Rick Warren even stated to Obama “ not a campaign speech”. From the time McCain got the first answer to the very last, he did a campaign speech and the so call liar of a preacher Rick Warren just sit and listened. It was so obvious what Rick Warren was doing. I got so mad I couldn’t watch it. But it was so hard to believe this so called man of God would pull something like this on national TV and think no one would notice I decided to keep turning back to it. That was the most sickening sight I’ve ever seen considering Rick Warren was suppose to be different. Rick Warren also lied about the questions and the fact that McCain couldn’t ‘t hear Obama’s answer. It was amazing to me and others that McCain was ready to answer the questions before Rick asked them. That’s what I call a Satanic set-up. The devil is Rick Warren.

  • Hank

    First of all, god doesn’t vote, and the people that profess to represent him, her or it, in reality, don’t. Evangelicals have nothing to do with christianity in practice. Nowhere in the bible does it say it is OK to inforce your christianity or the morals and values that you derive from your religion on others. However, evangelicals are hell bent on establishing some sort of national morality through the political process. I have not read anything in the bible that would suggest that god would support such activities. Evangelicals are free to do what ever they want regards to this, but I wish they would stop couching it in christianity, because in reality, the two are mutually exclusive.

  • Maria

    I think it’s honorable that Barack Obama didn’t pretend. It demonstrates integrity.

  • Anonymous

    i think all you people are so worked up over the breech in the cone of silence because you’re on to the truth. that wasn’t really john mcain doing the interview at saddleback. it was hymie.

  • Jet-Man

    I heard from a very reliable source who was present at this Circus Act at Saddleback,

  • Titus

    I couldn’t find the broadcast, but appearently the broadcast was all over the Middle East. What is the deal with that?God hates gays and abortion, what else is new with the Demiurge, meanwhile we have an energy crisis, the Dow is down 3000 from a year ago, and 2 million are out on the streets after losing their homes.Priorities, people! This is not a Fascist Theocracy! Or is it?

  • jhbyer

    Their agenda being objectively unreasonable, it follows evangelicals will choose the less reasonable candidateThat abortion keeps dominating their agenda calls into question their real motive. If truly concerned for life, they’d demand McCain explain his warmongering, environmental policies, and failure to promote universal health care. They wouldn’t support the death penalty, which throughout history has killed an infinitude of wrongly convicted innocents. Hypocrisy isn’t wicked enough to characterize the deception and fraud suggested by their position on legal abortion.

  • AlexP1

    His actions of late have forced me to wonder about this. I had a grandparent who did suffer from a form of non-Alzheimer’s dementia that slowly progressed from mild to very very devastating.The events over the last few weeks have led me to think that is a outside possibility. John McCaint has developed a rather undeserved repetition as a political maverick. Some claim it is because he often ignored his party and did what he thought was right. This view doesn’t really stand up to close review, his record this decade is far closer to one of party toady than maverick.The other trait that McCain tpossessed that may have led him to develop this reputation is his habit of what might be called forceful truthfulness. He tended to call them as he saw them, a style seldom seen in DC. He was often blunt, truthful, and generally seen as being fairly sharp in his criticism.He is still blunt, but his command of facts seems to have slipped. He repeatedly had to be corrected when he confused the Shiite, Sunni and Al Qaeda alignment. At a recent appearance it appears that he thought our troop levels in Iraq had already dropped below pre-surge levels, it isn’t even close. The while making a brutally bad speech in Keener, he claimed he supported every investigation into the government’s response to hurricane Katrina, when he had in-fact voted against about every post hurricane bill, including investigations.McCaint’s lies and misstatements are so obvious it make you wonder how he could make them. Does he think no one will notice as he makes things up, does he not care about the truth, does he think such overt factual errors will be ignored, or could it simply be that his mind is slipping a little.I saw this happen once, a small mis-recollection here, a fact that just could not be remembered there. I can not help but wonder could that be the case with McCaint. I know, I know, he did allow a brief review of his medical history. But, at this point in my grandmothers decline, she had not yet been diagnosed, heck, only in hindsight did these early signs mean anything.But when a man who claims expertise in Iraq can not keep the key players straight in his mind; When a man who aggressively pushed for more troops to be deployed forgets that they are still deployed; When a man claims to have supported bills he in fact voted against, you have to wonder. Is he stupid, a bad liar, or if the person is of a certain age, could his mind be slipping a little?

  • Larry

    McCain may have won some God votes, but in the process of pandering to the Right, he more than made up for it by losing more women, gay, Jewish, moderate, and independent votes.

  • esthermiriam

    Yes, I hope Obama could peel away a few of the Evangelicals — but the audience for this event was also “the rest of us.” Many not secularists, but also not (in our own I’d not have minded if Obama had found a moral justification, even a Biblical one, for concern about poverty that was not just Jesus-based, and I’m still uneasy about his expanded “faith-based” program plan (a change??), but an intelligent man of integrity, not such a bad thing!

  • charlie1

    Mr. McCain does not have a church either. He is an Episcopalian but attends a Southern Baptist Church with his second family. Until he is baptized in the SBC he is not a member of the church.

  • gdguynbalt

    Apparently, God is supposed to be ‘in-control’ of powers on earth. Then why are christians politically involved? Won’t God be ‘in-charge’? The Christians should stay home, especially if they’re just voting for religious reasons….unless of course, god may not be so ‘in-charge’ after all.

  • Greg

    It has NOW been established and confirmed that McCain KNEW the questions before entering the forum. So Berlinerblau, please write another article in reference to HONESTY —- and aplogize to the audience of the forum for misleading.

  • Brian Walker

    It doesn’t seem that any of you have actually met a real evangelical Christian. You base your assumptions on hearsay and half-truths and then state ignorant generalizations them just as bad as any racist or sexist statement ever made.I am an Evangelical Christian and actually went to Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service (MSFS 2001 w/honors) where Jacques Berlinbau is a professor. Stop demonizing people you don’t understand and take a moment and try make an effort to learn. We are not all idiots or fools, although there are such in every corner of society. We are scientists, philosophers, businesspeople, teachers, workers, professors, and students. We may have somewhat similiar worldviews within this segment of society, but we certainly don’t all believe exactly the same things. Everyone human on the planet chooses to have faith in something, whether it is your intellect, your money, your power, or misguided sense of superiority. The only thing that Evangelicals share in common with each other is our faith in Jesus Christ. Outside of that, views and even values diverge dramatically from individual to individual.Stop and think a moment before taking your own moral worldview so self-righteously that you condemn your fellow Americans as hypocrites and losers without seriously understanding your own hypocrisy in doing so. We are all just people trying to live according to the principles that we believe are right.

  • VICTORIA

    Greg, exactly HOW has this been established and confirmed? You know, except for having brains and being able to easily discern this from watching the venue?

  • Anonymous

    “It has NOW been established and confirmed that McCain KNEW the questions before entering the forum.”Links Please. Its wrong to tell a lie. But its a painful mistake to lie to yourself. Will there be support groups available for Obamaniacs after he loses the election??

  • HemiHead

    Do you really think John McCain was going to be put into a position where he made a fool of himself. Of course he knew what the questions were going to be. It’s funny how the media has him winning the election over a church fund raiser. Regular people couldn’t even get in. I heard they wanted hundreds of dollars a seat. I heard Obama speak and the audience didn’t seem to have any problem with him. This is just a continuation of what the media’s been doing for McCain the last few months, giving him a free pass.

  • JoeT

    If you assembled a panel of ministers and told them to ignore politics, I believe they would agree that it was Obama who gave answers that were based on biblical foundations properly interpreted and applied to the isssues of the day. We are stewards of the earth who owe our children the obligation not to live high at their expense. McCain was the “Thank you Lord that we are not like them” Pharisee, while Obama was the “have mercy on me a sinner” commoner in the parable. McCain pretends he’s God and has the when life begins answer that St. Thomas Acquinas couldn’t find (and has the nerve to call Obama arrogant for just acting like the president ;-). And of course McCain’s abortion answer (like many of his others) didn’t really answer the question. Would he jail Warren’s daughter if she ignored her dad and had an abortion? If he wouldn’t, abortion would be de facto legal. Obama’s answer is the correct and Christian one. Adoption, social services, education, understanding pastors, parishioners and parents will do more to stop abortion than any number of people screaming that life begins at conception. and the blogosphere seems to be abuzz with documentation that McCain almost surely stole the ‘cross in the dirt’ story from the Gulag Archipelago, which he read. just google it for the many holes and contradictions to his story, including a NY Times interview 8 years ago in which he tells the story, complete with the rope loosening, but about another prisoner, not himself. This will dwarf “sniper fire” if it turns out McCain was making this up.

  • Mark

    I watched the debate and I thought they both answered well enough; however to disagree with you, I was not impressed with how McCain talked to the audience and not to the Rick Warren. “My friends” I was not impressed with the fact that 90% of his answers revolved around his being a POW. Sure that is important in HIS life, but he’s 70, he should be able to tell me more about himself. I was in the military (USN) so I’m not against his statements, its just that it would have been good to hear something more ABOUT him. He did mention his greatest moral failure having been his divorce (the good Christian that he is) yet he failed to follow through on it. 50% of Americans have divorced so tell me something more personal about how you failed to communicate (even if he didn’t want to talk about his adultery). Many people have come before him and have endured much greater “Evil” and are not using that as a “crutch” and yes I use the word crutch because I feel that he’s doing just that. He’s saying what people want to hear. I too am pro-life, but I know of people who have had abortions and to this day they struggle with that issue. Men have no idea what that means. We are too busy dropping down the gauntlet and telling a woman about her body and yet we fail to provide the necessary tools to raise a child, by divorcing them and making them do our job(s). Do I like McCain, yes. Do I think he would have been better than Bush, yes (Cheney and Rumsfield more than likely would not have been in the movie). Is he a “maverick” in my book, nope. Did he make sense on Education and Government Spending, yea and yes. Do I believe he’ll cut the middle class and poor a bigger break than the wealthy, nope (He and his wife don’t even share taxes). Will I vote for him, no. Am I a Born Again Christian, yes.

  • SteveCO

    This is sweet ’cause it exposes all of the self-righteous religious types a tolerant of cheaters.McCain cheated. He heard the questions beforehand, and Obama’s answers. He lied to Warren about “trying to listen through the walls to Obama” when, in fact, he was in his car and *not* the soundproofed room.Any chimp or chump can cheat and win. All McCain proved at Saddleback is that he’s from the same lying mold has his good buddy, our War Criminal Prez.You poor, brainwashed sheep. Let’s see what John McNutcase does in a *real* debate, with all kinds of people – not just far-right wing religious nutjobs that care more about fetuses than born, breathing human beings.

  • Kali

    Here’s a picture of McCain’s true character:McCain was not in the “cone of silence” that he and Mr. Warren professed.An honest man, an honorable man, a man with scruples would have told the audience from the start that he was not in the cone of silence. Instead, he allowed all viewers to believe a lie.An honest man, an honorable man, a man with scruples would not have lied about the cross in the dirt story. The story it appears was evidently about a Russian prisoner of war, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was held in the Soviet gulags. And McCain tells this story in a church of God no less.McCain’s responses show his real integrity. And this is the man you think so great?

  • Irischermann

    “In mainstream Evangelical culture one testifies to the Glory of God exuberantly, unhesitatingly, with hands thrust heavenward, heart open wide and eyes scanning the horizon for possible indices of the Kingdom’s coming. It looks like McCain, who will never be confused for a seminarian, figured that one out.”There are those who think they’re righteous because they say ‘Yes’ to God…but they don’t do His will.How many of those so-called Christians, in a mega church no less, *truly* do God’s will? Who among them are without sin? I’m a Christian and I find Christian arrogance, like the kind demonstrated in this article and that Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency, to be offensive and noxious. Abortion is just ONE issue amongst MANY issues. You want to talk about issues that matter? How about we discuss: child molestation by priests, high divorce rates among Christian couples, low church turnout (except for Holidays, of course) and polygamist compounds. And don’t even say “That’s someone else’s church, not ours” because that’s blatantly passing the buck.Unbelievable. This is such sanctimonious duplicity. Obama wasn’t giving the “right” answers because Christians, on the whole, don’t have it “right” themselves. Did you ever consider that?

  • SteveCO

    Let’s boil it down to the affect of Saddleback on Americans:A CNN poll says, by 63% to only 36% for McCain, that Obama’s values are closer to theirs than McCain.McCain didn’t even win Saddleback,and now we know he cheated besides. Nobody’s fooled, John. Talk about desperate, cheating for a *church forum*.

  • das

    No teleprompter, no cue cards…no clue! The “Messiah” clearly lost this one.

  • MotherLodeBeth

    Rick Warren was the real winner, because the discussion was civil and lacked ‘gotcha’ moments that the secular media savors. Senator McCain was prepared to give the answers the audience wanted. Senator Obama being a former law professor gave answers he felt worked. Sadly I think many people will miss the fact these men are from two different generations. One cannot expect Senator Obama to have the stories from hell that a POW has and yet in looking at the faces of the men in the audience they seemed to like Senator McCain more because of that. Am also curious as to whether the story Senator McCain told of the cross being written in the dirt, is true since it reminds me of a story the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn had written. Am also disappointed that Senator McCain wasn’t in an isolation booth like we were led to believe.

  • walker1

    More AccuratelyMcCain is loosing the God Vote.Christian Conservative vote should all be GOP but here in reality McCain has lost 20% of the Christian Conservative vote.And Huckabee’s camp are talking of starting their own party.The GOP lost the Christian Conservatives long ago some time after Katrina and when they realised the war in Iraq was quagmire of distraction that was just costing lives.Christian Conservatives realised Iraq was all JUST ANOTHER CON!As to GOP moralityAlso look up the satanic cults at Bohemia Grove.Many Christian Conservatives have looked up those lists and researched these links and are sickened, that is why they have left the GOP in droves.We still do not know whose bed Jeff Gannon real name James Dale Guckert slept when he overnight-ed at the White House. He claimed to be a journalist but all he had was no newspaper but some interesting websites and images on the web.As to George himself well everything is just Fabulous for himChristian Conservatives know GOP morality is JUST ANOTHER CON!As to the Bush Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program I will leave that to another Conservative Christian.The Republicommies called evangelicals: “boorish,” “ridiculous,” “goofy,” “nuts,” according to David Kuo, a Conservative Christian, former assistant to President Bush and Deputy Director of Bush’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program, in his book Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction.As David Kuo points out NeoConMen are “cynically hijacking the faith-based initiatives idea for electoral gain,” ignoring issues such as poverty, and limiting faith-based grants to organizations that are “politically friendly to the administration.” For those who became part of the Republicommie NeoConMen team 8 billion dollars was promised but only about 21 million was paid out.The main people the Republicommies gave money to? You guessed it they were people like Rev. Ted Haggard who was there to run the Republicommie owned church. Of course he was more interested in paying 200 NeoConMen Republicommie dollars a go by cash in envelopes to give a gay rent boy oral sex and snort methamphetamine.Christian Conservative left the GOP in Droves when they realised the Bush Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program was JUST ANOTHER CON!Jesus would not hold any truck with torturers, and real Christian Conservatives do not either. You listening Dick Cheney?Everyone can see the Republican party ain’t conservative any more and it sure as heck ain’t Christian, time somebody dug a hole and buried the GOP’s stinking slimy commie corpse.Do you want to see America’s name and Flag continue to be dragged through the mud of state sponsored torture?Is Jesus for torture?Are you a commie GOP supporter?

  • Ron

    The author is wrong.If we live in a post 9/11 world, why does McCain keep going back to vietnam?It was not Obamas’ best performance, but he held his own.

  • Mike

    I think Obama did very well in this forum. His answers were deep and thought out. He has obviously sat down and analyzed issues of global politics, social justice, and abortion. McCain got up there and threw a bunch of talking points (e.g. oil drilling) and stories. There did not seem to be any intellectual depth. Were Obama’s answers nuanced? Yes, and that is good. Religion is not cut and dry, and to suggest that it is better that religious beliefs not to be nuanced (as all this media coverage has been implying) is ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, he won God’s vote? When was this announced, and by whom? Did he see a burning bush too? I thought God had an issue with adulterers, particularly serial adulterers?

  • Lucky Lakeshore

    All I heard from McCain at the “forum” was hyper-patriotism (bordering on jingoism). Since when is that the same thing as being religious? Bomb, bomb, bomb, Bomb, bomb Iran… and Russia… and God only knows what other countries. Gee, that’s a funny (strange, not ha-ha) form of Christianity, there, Pastor Rick.Juding from Berlinerblau’s comments, as well as those of many other commentators, the content of the message mattered not. What did was snappy, knee-jerk answers, glibness, black-and-white thinking, and the lack of any depth of thought. I seem to remember the priests telling us that those were things we should avoid….

  • candide

    McCain had all the right (and Right Wing) answers but didn’t sound like he really believed them.

  • Iliad Terra

    “When do babies get human rights?” “I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade”Then the questions that beg to be asked are:1. Mr. Obama, in practical terms, whose “pay grade” is it to assign specificity as to when babies acquire human rights? Sir, as you know, babies are born or aborted as we speak, and as the leader of this nation you will be responsible to take action. Have you just shirked your responsibility and deferred the decision to an unnamed source with a higher “pay grade”? Will you inform your constituency who this “pay grade” is and how he, she, it, they will affect the fate of babies in real-time?2. If this task is beyond and above your “pay grade”, then how do you explain your track record of consistently deciding against granting unborn babies human rights? Who or what had authorized you to make those decisions? Will you please share that information with the citizens whose lives and welfare you might be in custody of?Thanks you Sir

  • Shame

    I was glad Warren asked questions that I believe Christ cares about that many Evangelicals seem to forget.And while I believe McCain won the evangelical vote that only cares about abortion and gay marriage, Obama probably won the vote of people who hate this narrow minded, while important, view of Christianity.

  • BigSmooov

    McCain answered every other question with a story from his POW days. Come on down dude! Stop playing on the emotions of the people and bring something new and different from the Bush agenda.

  • John

    Above my pay grade? Hmmmm..now there’s an intelligent answer on one of the leading topics of discussion within the US.Made my mind up……

  • JimMF

    Obama does not have an opinion on human rights for babies? Maybe that explains his radical left position when he opposed a born-alive protection act. As an Ilinois Senator, he voted against a bill that would have protected a baby born alive during an abortion. This mindless allegiance to the unholy, far-left reveals the true Barack Obama. There is no reasonable justification for his opposition to such a bill that any intelligent person could accept. I can guarantee that most the audience didn’t even know Obama’s ridiculous tolerance for infanticide if perfomed during an abortion procedure. Unfortunately, many voters are not informed about this radical phony because he is getting a free ride from the liberal media.

  • Irischermann

    ILIAD TERRA,Obama is simply saying he’s either not yet comfortable or not qualified enough to answer such a question at this point in time.I’ll ask you an equally difficult question: who exactly is going to Heaven? The obvious and mindless answer would, of course, be ‘those who have accepted JC as their Lord and Savior and keep his commandments.’ BUT who *exactly* are they? I’d like you to succinctly point out who they are. Tell me, who *deserves* to go to Heaven? I suppose the next logical and mindless answer would be ‘only God can decide.’So, you see, even Christians have tricky little answers to those traps people like to spring on them too.

  • Enemy Of The State

    In terms of appealing to this crowd, McCain, or, for that matter, any conservative was bound to do well. Not only because the GOP has becomes ‘God’s Own Pary’ of late, but also because a significant number of conservatives see things only in black and white. The problems we face don’t lend themselves to simplistic answers. If they did, we would have solved many of them long ago. Better to have a president who can acknowledge this fact and be able to apply subtle analysis and nuanced reasoning from time to time.We’ve had enough of the kind unthinking, reflexive mentality that got us into a disastrous war, drained the treasury and forsook traditional morality in favor of torture.A thinking man is exactly what we need most at this moment in our history.

  • Tim

    Thank you for your objective description of the event. Obama is just not really ready for prime time. It still surprises me that the democratic party even gave him a look for the job. It is definitely above his pay grade. Hillary has the experience and the resume and she would have done extermly well at this event. Too bad the demoocratic party has been pushed so hard to the left that even Hillary Clinton, the clearly superior candidate, could not win the nomination. They would rather have this ill prepared and unexperienced, empty suit as thier candidate. Pretty sad.

  • HemiHead

    Keep voting for a president based on Religion and you’ll watch this country fade away to nothing. Our constitution has been shredded. The country is on the brink of bankruptcy. We’re in two illegal wars that have killed close to 1.5 million innocent people. Our jobs and pensions are gone. Tax cuts for the rich have wiped out Social Security. The list goes on and on, but everyone keeps voting for a president based on the one thing that no one can take away from ya. It’s time to open your eyes people. Four years of John McCain’s tax cuts for the rich, and free ride for large corporations will put this country so far in debt we’ll never get out. Our financial system will collapse.

  • Georg J.

    Sen. McCain’s glib “shoot from the hip” responses may have impressed so-called “Evangelicals”. Most likely the same that were bamboozled by the wear-on-the sleeve “Christianity” of G.W.Bush.

  • NotJewish

    no offense, but why is it that American Jewry refuse to respect or acknowledge a long history and tradition of evangelical Christianity or Christianity period in America? If I was in Israel, I would expect the two candidates for leading political parties to make speeches at Jewish religious sites or with Jewish religious groups. But American Jews just want to turn America upside down and silence everyone. No Christmas, No Easter, no God Bless You, no God Bless America,… just boring, nameless, shapeless, socialism. It’s seriously not fair.

  • ron

    a heavyweight mccain vs. a lightweight obama. it was not pretty and bodes well for great debates this fall. obama is human after all.

  • Wayne

    You attribute Obama’s poor performance to not being prepared. That’s the easy way out; the political equivalent of sports’ “loser’s limp”.But what if he looked bad because he is simply so nuanced in his views that in the end he has few strong opinions? What if he truly is so far to the left on those issues that it was better to play dumb, as it were, than to be upfront?I haven’t paid close attention to all of Obama’s positions, but I am rather amazed how often he simply refuses to take any stand on an issue, and instead describes how he sees both sides of the issue. As if being able to see both sides will result in a decision or an outcome.

  • Titus

    Where did this idea that God is against gentile Abortion come from?Hosea 13:16 (King James Version) Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

  • gee

    Gee, you mean McCain won in front of the evangelicals? Do you think Dobson changed his mind, and likes him now?Do you remember the republican convention, all that ugly stuff the losers said about McCain? I guess not. None of the republicans here today seem to remember that. McCain was widely reviled by the evangelicals, the rightwing blowhards in the media, and the neocons in general.Now he’s their boy! And he won in front of the evangelicals using the tried and true rovian divide and conquer routine, tell you not only hate the things they hate but you also hate the PEOPLE they hate.All this noise about hating the sin but loving the sinner, you evangelicals are about of full of it as McCain, no wonder he won.

  • abqcleve

    NotJewish: ********************I’m not Jewish, but the comment above is part and parcel of why, I believe, many Jews in America distrust evangelical Christians. It betrays an utter ignorance of Judaism and, more importantly, the Constitution. “NotJewish,” can you discern to even the level of an inkling why your analogy about Israeli candidates has zero bearing or relevance in America?

  • Anonymous

    BigSmooov: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++That’s kind of funny because our Vets can’t stand him. He uses that POW card on everything he does. I wonder why he was the only one to hold up the committee, and vote no to finding POW’s in Vietnam. You can add voting against health care for our troops four years in a row during these two wars to his list of God loving good deeds to.

  • Irischermann

    BRAMBLETON,Thank you for your kind and thoughtful responses. I appreciate them. I’d like to respond in kind.”Abortion is just ONE issue amongst MANY issues.”Your comment “…a matter of life and death” is very true. I’m inclined to agree that it is indeed a matter of life and death. But isn’t War a very similar matter? Didn’t a number of Conservative Christians support the war in Iraq? Doesn’t that mean they support killing other human beings? Does this mean it’s socially acceptable within American Christian circles to support taking a life AFTER it’s born rather than BEFORE? I’m not so sure we Christians can have it both ways: we must either entirely support both acts of killing or don’t. Murder is still murder, whether it be by a doctor’s hands or a soldier’s.
Again, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

  • HemiHead

    BigSmooov: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++That’s kind of funny because our Vets can’t stand him. He uses that POW card on everything he does. I wonder why he was the only one to hold up the committee, and vote no to finding POW’s in Vietnam. You can add voting against health care for our troops four years in a row during these two wars to his list of God loving good deeds to.

  • ZZim

    One of the problems with “spin” is that if you are hanging around exclusively with people who think like you, and everyone is repeating the same spin over and over again, you may eventually lose sight of the truth. The truth is that McCain does way better in the “town hall” venue than does Obama. That’s been the rock upon which he built his political career. Early in the campaign, McCain proposed a series of town hall-type meetings to Obama and Obama accepted under the restrictive circumstnaces of “any time, any where”. Later Obama changed his mind and said “no”. The most likely reason for this is because he would be putting himself at a serious disadvantage. Kind of like when a football team with an Astroturf stadium plays an away game at a real-grass stadium – in the rain and mud – and loses badly.McCain was totally in his element. The type of venure, the crowd, the type of question, it all played to his strengths. Under the circumstances, Obama did well to keep it close enough to “spin” his way out of. Now the “atroturf” spinners are taking over the comment boards.However, you Obama supporters should remember this: Obama got beat fair and square. It was real. It may portend the future, Obama can be beated, he is mortal, he is not all-powerful, you may be defeated in November. If that happens, I will laugh.

  • ZZim

    One of the problems with “spin” is that if you are hanging around exclusively with people who think like you, and everyone is repeating the same spin over and over again, you may eventually lose sight of the truth. The truth is that McCain does way better in the “town hall” venue than does Obama. That’s been the rock upon which he built his political career. Early in the campaign, McCain proposed a series of town hall-type meetings to Obama and Obama accepted under the restrictive circumstnaces of “any time, any where”. Later Obama changed his mind and said “no”. The most likely reason for this is because he would be putting himself at a serious disadvantage. Kind of like when a football team with an Astroturf stadium plays an away game at a real-grass stadium – in the rain and mud – and loses badly.McCain was totally in his element. The type of venure, the crowd, the type of question, it all played to his strengths. Under the circumstances, Obama did well to keep it close enough to “spin” his way out of. Now the “atroturf” spinners are taking over the comment boards.However, you Obama supporters should remember this: Obama got beat fair and square. It was real. It may portend the future, Obama can be beated, he is mortal, he is not all-powerful, you may be defeated in November. If that happens, I will laugh.

  • Iliad Terra

    IrischermannI do agree with you. And I appreciate Mr. Obama’s newfound position that he is not qualified to define when a baby is granted human rights.However, his so-called new position stands in stark and dramatic contrast to his previous voting record against born-alive babies. This contradiction is immensely problematic in a leader. How can he reconcile that he took action against the vulnerable whilst he claims he is unqualified to do so? And when the life of a living being hangs on the balance, how and when will he arrive at a decision as to where to lead this nation he wishes to preside over…all the while the clock is indeed ticking…for the babies…Pebbles in the pond, hoping to create ripples of awareness,

  • DC29

    Why is religion suppose to factor into a presidential election? Can someone give me a strong argument for this?

  • sharon

    The Jewish vote may surprise many this year. “The rabbis say in the Talmud that a lot of rabbinic law is to put a fence around the Torah so you don’t get near to violating it. Well.. McCain has a series of very clear-headed policies toward terrorism and Islamic extremism [that put] extra layers behind his support of Israel.”

  • Devon T.

    Sorry, I couldn’t bear to read the full piece because it was so biased that it was unbearable. Look, McCain’s behaviors is in a pre-senile stage, why else wouldn’t he release his full medical statements? At his age, they should include geriatrics. And that could explain his outburts, his misstatements, and confusion. I don’t view him as religious whatsoever, and I don’t think evangelicals would either.

  • dsapp

    Finally someone states the obvious. Obama is not what most Christians are looking for in a President.

  • 2late4god

    It’s sad that presidential candidates have to pander to the absolute lowest common denominator–evangelical christians. These people have no analytical skill as shown by their literal adherence to the bible. It is scary that they are a factor at all in an election. If they must play this mythological christian game, then at least play it properly. Real christians spend their time visiting prisoners, visiting the sick, working in soup kitchens and homeless shelters just like jesus commanded. Issues like abortion, gay rights, military buildups should be at the bottom of the priority list. How dare you claim to care about the “unborn” when you ignore the problems of the “already born.” I believe Jesus said “Do unto others….” and “That which you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” These evangelicals are frauds who should immediately stop calling themselves christian. They give a bad name to those who work in the trenches of society.

  • Irischermann

    Iliad Terra,Thank you for your kind and thoughtful responses too.Obama knows his own record…and so do we. Traditionally, politicians frequently get asked “gotcha” questions and the “when a baby is granted human rights” is certainly one of them. I don’t mean to sound insensitive but it’s the truth. Of course, Christians want their President to value the sanctity of life but that’s where it gets tricky. I said this in a recent post here:”I’m inclined to agree that it is indeed a matter of life and death. But isn’t War a very similar matter? Didn’t a number of Conservative Christians support the war in Iraq? Doesn’t that mean they support killing other human beings? Does this mean it’s socially acceptable within American Christian circles to support taking a life AFTER it’s born rather than BEFORE? I’m not so sure we Christians can have it both ways: we must either entirely support both acts of killing or don’t. Murder is still murder, whether it be by a doctor’s hands or a soldier’s.”So, yes, life is important to Christians and it should be important to our President. But, I beg the question, why is it acceptable to protect unborn babies but it’s also acceptable to send our men and women overseas to kill others?

  • HemiHead

    ZZim: The truth is that McCain does way better in the “town hall” venue than does Obama. That’s been the rock upon which he built his political career. Early in the campaign, McCain proposed a series of town hall-type meetings to Obama and Obama accepted under the restrictive circumstnaces of “any time, any where”. Later Obama changed his mind and said “no”. The most likely reason for this is because he would be putting himself at a serious disadvantage. Kind of like when a football team with an Astroturf stadium plays an away game at a real-grass stadium – in the rain and mud – and loses badly.****************************************************What do ya think Obama’s crazy. Why would Obama screw around with McCain’s little town hall meetings where no one can hear his message. Obama spoke in front of 200,000 people in Germany and you think he has a problem doing a town hall. At this late date, Obama needs to reach as many people as possible. Especially with McCain going around telling people that Obama wants to raise taxes on people making 32,000 a year. McCain’s mission was to try and keep Obama in the dark for as long as possible. Besides, Obama agreed to do 2 or 3 of those town hall style meetings then McCain turned him down. I cant wait to see McCain do those 3 debates with Obama on TV side by side. Obama’s gonna chew up stuttering John bigtime.

  • Jb

    Did anyone notice that McCain seem to know some of the question before they where even asked and Rick Warren stopped him at one time and told him that they would get to that question. At times Mr. McCain was running ahead of Pastor Rick. Review the film and you tell me what you think.

  • miknugget

    I hear people say over and over again, “McCain does better in townhall meetings.” I didn’t see any proof of that this weekend. I hear people chirping the same line above, as if they got it from some right-wing talking points, which they probably did. I have yet to see any McCain appearances/events where the man didn’t come off as being awkward, uncomfortable, and spaced-out. His statements/responses are always canned talking points and one-liners, much like Bush.Off topic, I really wish I could vote for an atheist or agnostic. I’m sick of hearing about religion every election cycle. I’m sick of religion in general, but would be less concerned if it weren’t being crammed down my throat every time I want to learn about politics. If you have imaginary friends other than Jesus, etc, you’re called a lunatic, but if Jesus is your imaginary friend, you can claim that you speak with him, that he asked you to do things, etc. What a load of BS.

  • Jb

    Did anyone notice that McCain seem to know some of the question before they where even asked and Rick Warren stopped him at one time and told him that they would get to that question. At times Mr. McCain was running ahead of Pastor Rick. Review the film and you tell me what you think.

  • Jerri

    How did McCain cheat?Is it because Obama supporters can’t stand that some people might vote for McCain?McCain has been just as disavantaged by being bashed in the media.The media proped “King of Prefection Barack Obama”,cause he never does anything wrong.Alot of the media is so far Democrat it’s pitiful.Plus alot of the Obama supporters made up thier minds to support him because he’s “hot,new,& fresh” before even hearing what he believes,we should think about who would be the best president not who’s oh so cool & fresh?I believe that this is a popularity contest more than a presidential election.I am also half-african american,but I do not support Obama.Have many people have forgotten he was part of a racist church?Obama couldn’t answer a question that was not scripted.I believe that even if you don’t have a “homefeild” advantage as a canididate you should answer the questions,not try to evade them.Alot a people are blind when it comes to thier respective canididate.I think we need to look at whose more qualified not whose more popular.We need to look to the future who we vote for affects us,our spouses,our children,our grandchildren.If we choose the wrong canidiate it could mean the end of us our future,our families,our existance,or could alter the future for the world.I believe you can chose who you want,please choose for all the right reasons.

  • Brambleton

    Iris,Thank you for your reply. Below is a passage that I read once and kept with me as a response to Christianity and War.Because mankind was given a free will and they could choose to obey God or do evil, we now live in an environment where evil men and good men are at war. God hates war; however, it is necessary to maintain order in the earth and overcome those who would like to destroy goodWe must understand that God instituted civil authorities to maintain order on the earth. God uses them to restrain evil and they should be obeyed for this purpose.Read Romans 13:1-5. From these verses we see that governments can elect to bear the sword (go to war) to deal with evil men. Although the act of war is a harsh form of punishment upon evil invaders, the alternative is far worse — the destruction of innocent people by wicked aggressors.No soldier who is a Christian desires to kill another; however, the Lord Himself, did not chastise a Centurion soldier in the Bible in the matter of his occupation. On the contrary, the Lord commended this man for his understanding of authority and his great faith when he called upon the Lord to heal his servant.

  • GWequalsWPE

    McCain wins the God vote? What a shocker! Evangelicals are brought out and courted by the Right every election. It’s as dependable as seeing the homeless being fed on your local news every Thanksgiving and then ignored the rest of the year. Just as the God vote is ignored once the Republican gets into office. When will they realize that they are being played for suckers.

  • Sue F

    Let’s see, instead of being hidden in some sound proff room McCain was in his limo, no doubt listening to the entire Obama question and answer session, runs out on stage, looking like a kid who just scored the teachers answer sheet to the test, rattles off the answer’s even before they are asked, smile, applause and oh yea God gave him the thumbs up! Wow, I’m impressed! NOT

  • Athena

    I would imagine that Michelle is still in Hawaii, letting the girls spend some more time with their great-grandmother.

  • HemiHead

    ZZim: The truth is that McCain does way better in the “town hall” venue than does Obama. That’s been the rock upon which he built his political career. Early in the campaign, McCain proposed a series of town hall-type meetings to Obama and Obama accepted under the restrictive circumstnaces of “any time, any where”. Later Obama changed his mind and said “no”. The most likely reason for this is because he would be putting himself at a serious disadvantage. Kind of like when a football team with an Astroturf stadium plays an away game at a real-grass stadium – in the rain and mud – and loses badly. stuttering ************************What do ya think Obama’s crazy. Why would Obama mess around with McCain’s little town hall meetings where no one could hear his message. Obama spoke in front of 200,000 people in Germany and you think he has a problem doing a town hall. At this late date Obama needs to reach as many people as possible. Especially with McCain going around telling people Obama wants to raise taxes on people making 32,000 a year. McCain’s mission was to try and keep Obama in the dark for as long as possible. Besides, Obama agreed to do 2 or 3 of those town hall style meetings then McCain turned him down. I can’t wait to see Obama and McCain do those last 3 debates on TV side by side. Obama’s gonna chew him up bigtime.

  • GOP Republican John McFailure

    PRESIDENT OBAMA HARVARD LAW PREDICTED TO HEAL AMERICA AND THE WORLDThe match-up between John Last Place McCain and Irish-American Barack Obama Harvard Law is close in nationwide surveys in the United States, but around the World it’s no contest: Obama Harvard Law prevails.A survey of 24 nations taken by the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds high levels of interest in the U.S. presidential election and broad optimism that American foreign policy “will change for the better” after the inauguration of a new president next year.In 21 of the 23 foreign countries, those polled express more faith in Obama Harvard Law than in Last Place McCain to “do the right thing regarding World affairs.” In the other two nations, Pakistan and Jordan, neither inspires much confidence. “Obama Harvard Law obviously has an appeal that has crossed the waters,” says Andrew Kohut, who directs the Pew project. “Some of it may have to do with his being associated with opposition to the war in Iraq, which is consistent with views of people around the World. Some of it may have to do with his charismatic qualities and the fact that he’s different than the typical American presidential candidate.” Among the findings:•Interest is high. Japanese are even more likely than Americans to say they are following the election closely. At least of half of those surveyed in Germany, Australia, Jordan and Britain say they are paying attention. In most of the nations surveyed, a third or more are tuning in.•Optimism about a new president is broad. About two-thirds of those surveyed in France, Spain, Germany, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania predict U.S. foreign policy will improve after the inauguration. In 20 of 24 nations, more say U.S. foreign policy will change for the better than for the worse. •Obama Harvard Law is heavily favored. In 21 of 23 countries, more people have faith in the Illinois senator than in Last Place McCain to “do the right thing” in foreign affairs. The two contenders were essentially tied in the United States and Jordan. In most countries, Obama Harvard Law is also more trusted than Last Place McCain. The contrast was particular steep in Europe, where McBush made his farewell presidential tour. In France, where he visits Friday, 13% say they have “a lot” or some confidence in McBush to do the right thing. Six times as many, 84%, say that of Obama Harvard Law.If the best the GOP Republican Get Rich By Selling America Party can do is Bush and Last Place McCain, then the GOP Republican Party should be dissolved.Your choice between Harvard Law Scholar People’s Choice Irish-American Barack Obama Harvard Law or Computer Illiterate C Average Student For Only The Rich Wall Street Thieves Last Place McCain.

  • Mike in Dallas

    Of course McCain won the “god” vote, he was speaking to the same American Taliban garbage that elected Dumbya and Cheney and currently runs what used to be called the Republican Party! I just can’t believe that Obama was dumb enough to buy into Rick Warren’s B.S. The fortunate thing is that these low-life, so called “Christians” don’t have a single thing to do with the real Christ, all they want to do is consume consume, consume, which charlatans like Rick Warren assure them is “God’s Will” for them. That’s why the Earth was put here, so that God’s “chosen people” (Americans) could destroy it for their own pleasure!

  • Cone of Silence..Ha Ha Ha Ha H Liar Liar

    “Christian conservatives gave Bush 78 percent of their votes in 2004.” What in the world is a “Christian conservative”?

  • hemnebob

    the god vote…that sounds totally disgusting.

  • Lauria

    He won the “God vote?” McCain rarely mentioned God in a forum that was supposed to give voters a sense of the candidates’ faith. McCain could not bring himself to admit his sin of adultery which doomed his first marriage, instead referring only to the failed marriage itself as his greatest moral failure. When asked what his Christian faith means to him and how his faith works in his life on a daily basis, his terse answer, “It means I’m saved and forgiven.”, more closely resembled a quote from a religious tract, than any heartfelt belief in Christ. Perhaps more revealing than his answer was his follow-up anecdote, in which he told a story eerily similar to one written many years ago by, ironically, one of McCain’s favorite author’s, Alexander Solzhenitsyn.If one honestly examines McCain’s answers, rather than the evangelical response to those answers, one would have to admit that McCain revealed very little about his faith. In the end, it did not matter because there was no way he would not be declared the “winner” of the “God vote.” In fact, he could have saved 59 minutes and 45 seconds of time by uttering the only words evangelicals cared to hear, “at conception” and, “I will be a pro life president.”It is disturbing that religious “experts” think it imperative to declare whether or not a candidate is religiously “worthy.” It is especially disturbing when that determination is made based only on a candidate’s position on a single issue. Yet, here we have another self-proclaimed “expert” anoint John McCain, adulterer and liar, the “winner” of the “God vote.” I recall that G.W. Bush garnered the “God vote”, and I see the consequences our country has suffered because Americans failed to remember that elections are about choosing a government leader, not a pseudo-religious guru.

  • norman ravitch

    It always amuses me to hear about evangelicals being against abortion. Until about 20 years ago only Catholics were against abortion. I never heard any mention of this issue by evangelicals. They have come to it late and for selfish, not religious reasons.

  • GOP Republican Failures

    GOP REPUBLICAN GET RICH BY SELLING AMERICA AND USING OUR PUBLIC OFFICE FOR PRIVATE GAINS IS TREASON AGAINST THE AMERICAN PEOPLEThe White House, already criticized for its connections to Big Oil, now is facing renewed questions over Chevron’s decision to name an oil tanker for national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. The double-hulled giant, Condoleezza Rice, is part of the international tanker fleet of the San Francisco-based multinational oil firm, named several years ago in honor of Rice when she was a Chevron board member and stockholder. Rice, the former Stanford University provost, served on Chevron’s board from 1991 until Jan. 15, when she resigned after President Bush named her to the national security post. But with California’s energy crisis intensifying and human rights groups spotlighting abuses in countries where Chevron does business, critics say the tanker now poses serious diplomatic and ethical issues for Rice and the administration. Even more sensitive, they say, is the appearance of a far too cozy relationship among multinational energy giants, Bush and his key advisers — including Vice President Dick Cheney and Rice. “It does underscore that there’s never been an administration in power in this country that has been so close to a single industry — in this instance, the oil-and-gas industry,” said Chuck Lewis, who heads the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity, which first raised the issue of the tanker’s moniker last month. “Look at the president and his background, the vice president (who is a former executive at Halliburton), (Commerce Secretary) Don Evans and his oil interests . . . and now this.” Rice is a respected diplomat, but “I don’t think anyone recognized the extent of her closeness to a major oil company,” Lewis said. “It’s not every day that someone has an oil tanker named after her.” At a White House press conference this week, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan was asked if Bush should specifically request the Condoleezza Rice tanker be given a name change — particularly since Chevron does business on six continents and 25 countries, and has been sued for alleged human rights abuses in Nigeria. Last year, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, charging Chevron aided Nigerian police in attacks on local communities protesting Chevron production activities. A company spokesman yesterday, however, said the incident involved 200 youths armed with machetes, guns and knives who attempted to take over an offshore oil platform, holding workers for ransom and refusing to allow them access to medical treatment. A Chevron spokeswoman said yesterday that the oil giant has no intention of renaming the Condoleezza Rice and noted that board member Carla Hills also had a Chevron tanker named in her honor before she was appointed former President George Bush’s trade secretary — and the vessel has kept the name. “It’s part of a long-standing practice of naming (tankers) after members of the board of directors,” a company spokeswoman said, citing other big ships named George Shultz, David Packard and Kenneth T. Derr. Rice’s office did not return repeated phone calls yesterday, but she told Fox TV last year that she has no regrets regarding her Chevron ties. “I’m very proud of my association with Chevron, and I think we should be very proud of the job American oil companies are doing in exploration abroad, in exploration at home, and in making certain we have a safe energy supply,” she said. Lewis notes that both Rice and the White House have promised that she will recuse herself from any decisions directly involving Chevron. “The problem is Chevron operates in dozens of countries all over the world, ” he said. “She (is) going to be dealing with issues that are enormous interest to Chevron across the globe — and you can’t recuse yourself from everything.” Lewis said that while some have written off the Condoleezza Rice as a small and humorous footnote to the Bush administration, the danger exists that it could turn into more. “From a public relations standpoint, they’re desperately hoping this is one tanker that doesn’t run aground,” said Lewis. “That could be a problem.”

  • Tony Gillotte

    What a joke you have become Mr.Berlinerblau. So your standard of measuring candidates is to hold up everything they say against your interpretation of the bible and their belief in Jesus Christ. ARe there any other types of people in this country who may believe other things? This is a ludicrous method of weighing their intellect and ideas in the early 21st century. Even when you know that most Americans have not and will never embrace the Christlike level of belief for which you pretend to subscribe. Every poll ever taken shows that Americans are much more grounded and pragmatic people than to lay their fate at the feet of Christianity, especially a Christianity proven to be false, corrupt and distorted. One doesnt have to intrude ones own beliefs to gather whether a candidate will help pull this country out of its republican caused indebtedness. ONe doesnt have to believe in Christ in order to take the measure of a candidates understanding of which direction a country should move. One doesnt have to believe in Christianity to favor a candidate who recognizes that little children are not getting the education they deserve to survive and thrive in this increasingly complicated, letigious and violence prone US society. ONe doesnt have to believe in ghosts of Christianity to understand which candidate wants to take this country away from the simpleton conclusions about the problems we are having with extremist Islamists, the Russians, and oil rich middle east countries.Whats the matter with your mind, Mr. Berlinerblau? Have you no shame? Have you lost your intellect? Have you know faith in the essence of humanity? What makes you so want to believe a man who ditches his wife after he returns from prison in Vietnam, a woman who raised his three children. What makes you so believe a man who courts a rich beer industry daughter and uses her money to enter Arizona politics? What makes to believe a man who is implicated in the Keating Five trial? What makes you so believe in a man who senators say it would be crazy to elect president? Just what is it that makes this man attractive to you? The fact that he hasnt entered a church until he started running for high office? That his belief system didnt kick in until he ran out of luck over the skies of Vietnam?Just what is it, Mr. Berlinerblau, that makes you so sure of this candidate?Tony Gillotte

  • Mike in Dallas

    Whenever I hear the term “Christian Conservatives” I substitute “American Taliban” for it, but did any of these “Christian Conservatives” ask McCain about Evolution? I’m sure a reactionary crackpot like Rick Warren would probably bury that one till after the election, but I’d like to hear from some of the flat-earthers here about how they can support such a wild-eyed “Libural” with such dangerous views?

  • Iliad Terra

    Iris:You are right.The questions of life and birth transcend all denominations and worldviews. I pray that the leaders of this nation empathize with children all over the world.I pray that both Messrs Obama and McCain exercise tremendous clarity and nobility in their choices and policies:Before another bomb falls and orphans or maims another Iraqi or Afghan child, before another child in this country grows up in poverty, and before another unborn child is stripped of his or her choice, let us expect from our leaders the highest degree of reverence for what we place in their custody.The office of the president is not a fickle affair, nor is it simply a popularity contest. It is frequently visited with hard choices. We reserve the right to demand the highest standard from both candidates.

  • Marc Edward

    So Zzim, you have no examples of Michelle Obama’s “angry racial politics”.

  • Scott L.

    Jacques writes as if this was some spontaneous event. Wrong. The whole galaxy knew this event was a lob ball to McCain, and the only way he wasn’t going to hit it out of the park was if he didn’t show up.So, he showed up and “won.” Whoopdy do.

  • Martin

    Now the Agents of intolerance McCain is the Darling of Evangelicals? Something is wrong with this picture. The same McCain that cheated on his ailing wife is now the blessed assurance of Conservatism? HYPOCRASY! Now they want a Christian crusade to hunt down and KILL Osama Bin Laden? Just what the heck is in that so called Good Book? And how in the heck did he know what Obama’s answers were? His answers were stock lock and barrel direct refutes to Obama’s. That’s not prepared thats’ called CHEATING! But it’s OK, cause the real enemy here is RACISM hiding behind the cloth. They still think the man is a Muslim. Just what was the Purpose of this exercise anyway? John McCain should have to answer for the Agents of Intolerance comment. Barak would not have gotten off that easy. Stop hiding behind the Cloth!

  • Anonymous

    Tony G-Jacques Berlinerblau is an atheist.

  • Gordon Jones

    Let’s see now, Obama nuanced? Hmmm? Only in the perceptions of the intellectually challenged. Is it any wonder that these challenged folks would perceive McCain as the winner? I think not! After all, they love the clarity of the knee jerk responses that are so prevelant among today’s right wing celebrities, i.e., George W. Bush and John McCain.

  • Born Right the First Time

    Brian Walker writes:”It doesn’t seem that any of you have actually met a real evangelical Christian. You base your assumptions on hearsay and half-truths and then state ignorant generalizations them just as bad as any racist or sexist statement ever made.I am an Evangelical Christian and actually went to Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service (MSFS 2001 w/honors) where Jacques Berlinbau is a professor. Stop demonizing people you don’t understand and take a moment and try make an effort to learn. We are not all idiots or fools, although there are such in every corner of society. We are scientists, philosophers, businesspeople, teachers, workers, professors, and students. We may have somewhat similiar worldviews within this segment of society, but we certainly don’t all believe exactly the same things. Everyone human on the planet chooses to have faith in something, whether it is your intellect, your money, your power, or misguided sense of superiority. The only thing that Evangelicals share in common with each other is our faith in Jesus Christ. Outside of that, views and even values diverge dramatically from individual to individual.Stop and think a moment before taking your own moral worldview so self-righteously that you condemn your fellow Americans as hypocrites and losers without seriously understanding your own hypocrisy in doing so. We are all just people trying to live according to the principles that we believe are right.”My, but we seem a wee defensive… Evangelicals as scientists? Wow, that’s a serious case of scientific reasoning colliding with fantasy in their brains. Your list of things to have faith in is kind of interesting in that money and power are things that are ephemeral. While we may lose our intellect due to age and disease, I would argue that intellect is measurable. The existence of an imaginary playmate is not. I would argue that the evangelical Christians share more than faith; they share the “misguided sense of superiority” you describe. The problem with the god-folk is they do not keep it to themselves. They not only want to shove it down our collective throats, but intend on having their way through the force of their vote. The overwhelmingly secular society should take heed and register to vote, and vote in record numbers. Then the squeaking you hear will be the tiny whines of the god-folk retreating to their churches.

  • Irischermann

    Brambleton and Iliad Terra,Thank you both for your thoughts on the matter. It’s refreshing to read such well thought out opinions. You’re both assets to this forum and Christendom. I wish others would follow your examples when having intelligent discussions.Thanks again.P.S. My name is actually “Irischermann” (German for Irish Man), not “Iris.” :)

  • Mike54

    IMO a President needs to have at least the following traits: 1) He/She needs to be able to analyze a situation after using their many resources to collect information describing all sides of an issue.2) He/She needs to be able to condense that information into an action or direction that deals with the situation.3) Almost always there is not enough information available to lay out a definitive direction, so a President needs to have good judgement to pick a direction because otherwise the result is no action at all. Sometimes one needs to wait for more information, but often (if not usually) the best thing to do is pick a direction.I am good at 1 & 2 but suck at 3. Bush is often reported as skipping 1 & 2 and jumping right to 3. If so, that is bad. The more he is asked to speak without a script, Obama looks like he may be good at 1 & 2 but suck at 3. This is the so called paralysis by analysis. It makes for a good teacher but not a good leader or CEO type.

  • Former Christian

    There were dangers for both Obama and McCain in this venue. I agree with Jacques in that Rick Warren came out looking good. I actually saw a video of Warren in a debate with Sam Harris and although Harris got the best of him, Warren comes across as being anything but intolerant.The problem with this venue is that it provides no easy opportunity for the moderator — in this case Warren — to cut off an answer that is clearly a sound bite nor did he press either candidate for an answer to the question that was answered with an evasion.I would have liked for Warren to bring up McCain’s failure to attend even a single vote on renewable energy (there were 8 in the last year) before congress and to reconcile that absence with his repeated calls to congress to “come home from vacation”.All in all, for those people satisfied with a cave man answer “{grunt} Off-shore drilling good. Osama bin Laden bad.”, then they will be happy with McCain’s memorization of his speaking points. For those of us looking for a display of judgment especially one in which competing priorities get weighed, McCain’s performance was akin to all of Bush’s speeches — a whole lot of nothing.

  • Anonymous

    Re Abortion:It is not possible to say life begins with conception, as every medical doctor knows with certainty, for human embryology is empirical science not philosophical or religious hypothesis, and still support Roe vs Wade.The seemingly flippant answer “above my pay grade” is not nuanced, just lawyerly dodge ball.That said Roe vs Wade is not a mandate to abort unborn children but to protect abortionists, who are aborting healthy unborn children in healthy women on the grounds they would otherwise seek out quacks and endanger their health and life.The real issue: right to life of an unborn child vs right to convenience of its mother, seems to be missing in every pro-abortion debate.

  • Anonymous

    Roe vs Wade is 35 years old. Republicans have been in power in that time. Roe vs Wade could have been revisited in that time, but was not. Why?Possibly: Roe vs Wade is not a mandate for abortion.

  • Harveyh5

    Jacques,Regarding the event at Saddleback, you say, “The loser was American secularism.” Well, I’ll stay with the loser. Better than believing in the Christian religion’s false propositions, merely borrowed and adapted from previous cultures, that Jesus was born of a virgin and Jesus rose from the dead. Heaven is also false, with no evidence to dispute that when we die, we are just dead. There’s a very good reason churches seek to indoctrinate children when they are young – otherwise they would be much less likely to fall for such stories. With that said, I won’t deny there are good stories and moral tales in the Bible, but no more so than in Aesop’s fables. And believing in Heaven does feed a most cherished desire – that we and loved ones will live forever. Still, bashing secularists won’t make Christian tales anything more than what they are – beliefs.

  • ZZim

    Marc Edward: Marc, you are either mendacious or simply inattentive. I did respond to your earlier snotty remark. Try “control F” and type “ZZim” into the box, that will take you directly to my original devastating response to your weak attack. Alternatively, you could scroll down.If you’re feeling lazy (likely), here’s what I posted before (please note the date time stamp):1. Read her Princeton thesis – she perceives everything through the lens of racial antagonism and berates herself and others African-Americans for succeeding in and fitting in the mainstrean of American culture and academia.2. She attended an openly racist church with an openly racist pastor who used openly racist rhetoric while preaching an openly racist theology for years and years. Her husband did too, but I don’t believe he is also a racist. I think he was just there because membership in that church supported his political ambitions.That’s really all I need to draw my own conclusions.August 18, 2008 12:23 PM | Report Offensive Comments You know Marc, it occurs to me that you may actually honestly not know this stuff. I see that you are too lazy to scroll to the bottom of the page. Perhaps you are also too lazy to Google “Michelle Obama racist”. Other people are not. That’s why we know more than you do.

  • gerrie grant

    Obama was ask if there was evil out there. Obama said yes. He explained evil was everywhere, child abuse, murder, etc. then Obama was ask if he could get rid of it, Obama said only God could do that but as Christians we must confront evil as soldiers for God. McCain’s answer was much more prideful, I will follow Bin Laden into hell. So who gave the more thoughful theologicl answer?Obama did

  • Steve W.

    Maybe the reason Obama did so poorly on the abortion question is that his position on abortion is fundamentally at odds with what orthodox Christians have believed for mroe than 2000 years. He didn’t have a good answer to the abortion questions because there IS no other good answer. The only CONSISTENT answer (other than the pro-life one) is the one Peter Singer would give. But admitting that infanticide is okay is still taboo.

  • 809212876

    Though many say that Senator McCain “won” the debate, that determination relies on simplistic evaluations of how ‘quickly’ McCain replied, how forcefully, or how loudly the audience applauded when McCain told them what they wanted to hear in the first place. Such evaluations are meaningless. Content and substance of his remarks counts more.By way of substance, McCain displayed nothing but standard-issue GOP talking points; the same Rovian dogma we’ve seen these past eight years. He told the fundies in Mr. Warren’s church what they wanted to hear: Overturn Roe v Wade; pack the SCOTUS with partisan hacks who will decide cases on party dogma instead of constitutional principles; destroy evil; and more. Dangerously, evil was not defined. Nor was it defined who should decide what is evil or who is evil. This leaves open the door for any crackpot (or self-appointed “Decider”) to define what or who is evil, then start the destruction.The fundies lust for blood was obvious when McCain talked about “destroying evil.” The crowd approved and Warren beamed that his toady barked his lines so well. The fundies love to destroy things and people – especially people of color, women who seek equality, and those who don’t agree with their Taliban style religion of “our way or else.”McCain sat in vastly partisan turf of the evangelical right, an abomination of its own – we’re electing a president, not a pope. These debates must be held in purely neutral venues, not in any church, synagogue, cathedral, temple or mosque. By having a debate in a fundie church, it violates the First Amendment as it is a de facto establishment of fundie evangelicalism a national religion. I can assure you it is NOT. We are on a dangerously slippery slope when we have a litmus test for religion, and crackpots like Falwell(d), Robertson, Dobson, Hagee, Parsley, et al, are the jury.In advance of this “debate” the Rovian thugs gave McCain supersize enema’s of GOP dogma talking points laced with speed. When the subject of education and schools came up, McCain began bouncing around in his chair like an epileptic parrot in full spasmodic fit, squawking his lines like a Pavlovian trained cur: “choice, competition, choice, competition” until the crowd roared their approval of yet another GOP big lie. McCain gave back that patented village idiot grin, his glee evident – glee that he actually remembered the rote lines pumped into him all week by the Rovian clowns.I’ve no doubt that McCain heard what was going on while Senator Obama was on stage. There’s no way that a guy who usually speaks as stupidly and haphazardly as Bush could actually be lucid for an hour. It was all a stage-managed sham of the far right. Put McCain in a true “cone of silence” at a debate held in a major black church, like Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, or Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem. That would be a much better measure of the man.There was NO new material presented by either candidate. My vote remains FIRMLY with the DEMs this election. Obama spoke with measured thoughtfulness.

  • JoeT

    Not so fast. McCain may have played to the crowd but Obama gave the sound answers from a biblical point of view, McCain gave us sound bites that are in fact on the wrong side of the Bible. “We are the best at helping our brothers” sounds a lot like the Pharisee who prayed “Thank you Lord that I am not like them.” “We have failed to help the least of them” sounds more like “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”We defeat evil? Only God has the power to defeat evil if it is His will to do so for those who confront it in His name (as Obama correctly recognized our role).Life begins at conception? (that’s not only above Obama’s pay grade, it’s above Warren’s – the saints were unable to resolve the question). McCain thinks he’s God. At least Obama only thinks he’s president.And it wasn’t as responsive to the question as Obama’s response was. Defining the beginning of life won’t do a thing to end abortion. The question is whether we believe that a woman who has one should be sentenced for murder. If not, then it’s legal. (There is no such thing as a law that has no penalty). Does anything less make sense? 90 days for a misdemeanor? if it’s a felony at all, our daughters will be deprived of their civil rights and unable to get jobs for the rest of their lives. I would like a politician to say that it hardly matters when life begins, because it is morally reprehensible to terminate a pregnancy at any stage (whether the soul has arrived, or is about to arrive hardly matters), and that there is only one goal, to make it absolutely unnecessary for any woman to ever consider abortion to be the better choice. That requires pastors who do not judge, parishioners who do not shun, parents who do not disown, friends who do not ridicule, and a society that makes adoption or keeping the child feasible. If we succeed in that, then in fact punishing a woman who has an abortion anyway is more defensible than it is now. But not until.An abortion is the failure of all of the above, not the absence of strict constructionists on the Supreme Court. I think the pro life crowd should shut up about the moment of conception and the Supreme Court, and get off their butts and do something to stop abortion.

  • Former Christian

    Steve W: Really??? Christians have known about and have a position on abortion for 2,000 years? I’d like to see historical, even biblical references to abortion.Joet:ZZim:After preaching for 35 years, how many people that you know, could withstand the extraction of 3 minutes of video, as opposed to 35 years of sermons and come out perfectly clean?Second, even if in those three minutes Wright came across as racist, do you label someone a racist who has spent the vast majority of their life in service to others? Is it reasonable objective to discount all of the things Wright has done for the community?Lastly, knowing about the Tuskegee experiments where physicians secretly infected blacks with syphilis as part of experimentation, as a black man, wouldn’t you be the least bit suspicious of white people?

  • Paganplace

    Of course you can day ‘McCain won,’ …All he had to do was recite the party line off bumperstickers for an audience full of people who want to *hear* that, and nothing more. Obama was there for a theological grilling about a religion he actually *gives a crap about* for people who insist he’s secretly a Muslim or under the sway of ‘Black churches.’ I mean, I dunno, if anyone in Obama’s church prays loudly, it’s presented as *scary.* Pity the megachurch people don’t understand they look the same way to the rest of us.

  • MarcEdward

    ZZim wroteAs usual Zzim, you have provided nothing.As for claiming that Michelle Obama attended a racist church, I have no idea what you are talking about. I know she went to a church with her family, and one of the pastors there has on rare occasions said controversial things. That doesn’t make the church racist nor does it make Michelle Obama racists. Now perhaps if you had any evidence at all that Michelle

  • ZZim

    Dear Marc: Ah good, so you found the post that you insulted me for not posting. Clearly you owe me an apology.Again I have to lead you by the hand to find things any child can look up on the Internet:By the way, my favorite quote from you is “I have no idea what you are talking about.” Yup. Seems that way.For other people, I urge you to follow the above link and judge for yourselves. Then Google “Black Liberation Theology Wright” and read whatever you find there. Draw your own conclusions. Vote your conscience in November.By the way, Marc, homosexuality is just a minority genetic condition like being left-handed. It’s not really more significant than that.

  • Iliad Terra

    Steve W,You wrote earlier in this blog: “…But admitting that infanticide is okay is still taboo.”Wow! Are you suggesting that we should overcome this so-called “taboo”? Do you mean by your choice of the word “still” a temporal reference point that would eventually be disposed of, as in ‘thank goodness we have finally gotten rid of that restrictive taboo’? I hope you’re not waiting for a day when de rigueur would be – um – ‘we can now freely speak about infanticide! Yea! Another milestone for the civil rights of the infanticide-taboo victims! It is finally okay to commit infanticide and not be ashamed of it… hmmm… quite intriguing .It’s one thing to instinctually attack, and altogether another to seek solutions and understanding.

  • Fred Paxson

    Attacking the integrity of Senator John McCain’s story from the Hanoi Hilton is pretty silly. The only people who can really challenge the story are other POWs — and the only POWs who have publicly spoken so far have been very supportive of McCain.The Democrats are beside themselves that their so-called “war hero” (Kerry) got attacked by virtually every sailor and officer he served with in Vietnam, and they can’t do the same thing to McCain.

  • Paganplace

    Did you miss the part about where the Swiftboat Vets were proven to be *lying,* but people just kept repeating it anyway?

  • Robert B.

    I’ve been considering McCain’s comment that he would “follow bin Laden into Hell.” Does this mean that he thinks that American justice is more final and complete than God’s (after all, why would bin Laden be in Hell if God didn’t ship him there)? That’s quite a odd stance to take in front of an evangelical Christian audience, don’t you think?

  • fyi

    “Did you miss the part about where the Swiftboat Vets were proven to be *lying,* but people just kept repeating it anyway”No. You missed supplying two or three links to prove your statements.You say the Swiftboat vets were proven to be lying. My links show Kerry out and out lying. So that’s one Swiftboat vet who is a known liar. Is that what you mean?

  • Paganplace

    “No. You missed supplying two or three links to prove your statements.”If I lived in a world where Youtube proved something, I might find that compelling. You’re the one leaning on this assertion, *you* do your homework.

  • Paganplace

    I’ll also note that the original Swiftboat lie posted was totally off-topic and diversionary in the first place. McCain, in fact, called the Swiftboaters liars, and the Religious Right set… ‘Agents of intolerance,’ ….until, of course, as a Republican nominee, he decided to *employ* them.

  • Dolores Lear

    Who will be better for the less than 20% Poor in the USA?Why do all the Charitable Organizations Keep struggling to feed the poor? The Poor keep growing, as the Population skyrockets. Did God Create Humans for Dying, ‘in the beginning’?Does God hold our Human Sin against us? Why do Human Brothers/Sisters Hate each other? What is a God Sin, a Brother/Sister Sin? Unequal Sharing of the Resources, for All Life on Earth? Adam and Eve had Equal Birth ‘in the beginning’. They become Unequal, when the Male and the Female lost and their Equality and Virginity. Why is the Female blamed for the Original Sin? Why did the Male make the Female Reproduce Humans, when God made Humans Supernaturally? Today Our High Tech Science ‘does Know how’ to Reproduce Humans supernaturally, besides in the Female Womb. Instead, Fallen Humans made Nuclear Bombs, to Kill all this Fallen Life they Reproduced. Why? We do make thrones up in the air, airplanes, etc., and fiery chariots, shuttles, and Spaceships like God. God, a person was seen, sitting upon thrones in the air, and coming out of fiery pillars of cloud and fire, when they landed on a mountain. God also walked, and talked with Humans, face to face, like Abraham and Moses. God was not a Spirit ‘Being’, but a Living Human Being. The Living Peace God, was our High Tech Science Colonizing Human Ancestors. The Living Killer God was the High Tech Noah/Atlantis Society.Until we Accept who God is, Human or Spirit, Humans will keep on Killing and Starving our Over-Reproduced Body Birth Brothers/Sisters of Life on Earth. Fallen Humans will destroy All Life on Earth, with our Pollution and Nuclear Bombs.Charity on Earth ‘is’ the Crumbs from the Rich Man’s Table. Our Starving Human Brothers/Sisters are still dying. Is this for Love of God, and our Brothers/Sisters of Life? Or for Greed?

  • VICTORIA

    FYI- I’m in complete agreement with Paganplace on that- Construct a full sentence- lionk some coherent ideas together in one. To quote one of my favorite superhero’s nemeses- READ A BOOK!!!!

  • BarryFitz

    It may seem that faith and values are ideas not fully understood by those who fail to establish themselves via any Biblical construct. The antecedent architecture of failure is demonstrated via said people. The Bible is clear. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Values can be a function of Biblical faith and are often absent from the lives of the spiritually negligent.

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