What Rick Warren Should Have Asked

Even a cable TV commentator could watch Saturday’s Saddleback Church Civil Forum and figure out why John McCain did so … Continued

Even a cable TV commentator could watch Saturday’s Saddleback Church Civil Forum and figure out why John McCain did so well. In a sanctuary filled with conservative evangelicals, McCain decided to preach to the choir while Barack Obama decided to talk to the pastor. Obama had a conversation; McCain’s goal was conversion. Fortunately for McCain, Karl Rove could not have designed a better set of questions for him.

In his opening remarks, Rev. Rick Warren, Saddleback’s pastor and forum moderator acknowledged that “faith is just a worldview and everybody has some kind of worldview and it’s important to know what they are.” Intentionally or not, understandably or not, Warren’s questions were grounded in the priorities and worldview of American cultural conservatives.

But as pastor of a church in a worldwide Christian community, Warren had an opportunity to go beyond conservative political talking points and ask questions grounded in the church’s alternative and countercultural worldview.

Some examples:

1. Warren asked: “Does evil exist, and if it does, do we ignore it, do we negotiate with it, do we contain it or do we defeat it.?”

This is a first-grade multiple-choice question. No candidate in his right (or left) mind would say anything other than “Yes, and we defeat it.” For the church, the question isn’t whether we confront or defeat evil but how.

A better question: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian pastor, said ‘The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.’ Do you agree? As Christians, how should we confront violent evil such as terrorism?”

2. Warren asked: “The Civil Rights Act of ’64 says that faith-based organizations have the right to hire people that believe like they do. Would you insist that faith-based organizations forfeit that right to access federal funds?”

Like the abortion and gay marriage questions Warren asked, this is a litmus-test question for conservative evangelicals who want the right to hire people whose beliefs fit their missions and worldviews.

A better question: “As Christians, we are called to help orphans, widows, the sick, the poor and others in need. Should we ask or expect the government to pay us to do what God calls us to do?”

3. Warren asked: “America right now ranks 19th in high school graduation. We’re first in incarcertaions. Eighty percent of Americans recently polled said they believe in merit pay for teachers. . . Do you think better teachers should be paid better?”

Another no-brainer. Who believes better teachers should be paid less? Or less than other teachers? This was another litmus-test question that plays to the church-supported home-school and church-school crowd, and ignores the complex realities of inner-city public schools, the shortcomings of voucher plan and so on.

A better question: As Christians, we are called to help those in need and children in particular. How can we ensure that each and every child attends an excellent schools, regardless of their geographic location, test scores or family incomes?

A followup: As Christians, how can we create a redemptive rather than a punitive criminal justice system?

4. Warren asked: Define rich. I mean, give me a number. Is it $50,000, $100,000, $200,000? Everybody keeps talking about, ‘Well, we’re going to tax the rich.’ How do you define that?”

Give me a number? An odd question for anyone other than a tax attorney to ask. Are we talking $50,000 in Southern California or Southern Sudan? Rich for people who spend hundreds of millions running for public office or rich for people who work three jobs and can’t afford health insurance?

A better question: Jesus never said anything about abortion or homosexuality, but he said plenty about wealth and poverty. As a Christian, define the difference between need and greed. How much is enough?

I still think a church is no place for a campaign event, and a clergy person has no business posing as political moderator. But if the church is going to insert itself into the electoral process, it should do so as the church and not as a political action committee.

About

  • million

    oh those would’ve been sweet comebacks. but c’mon, man, it was just another political circus to keep the sheep fighting each other instead of actually electing people who aren’t as corrupt as the two clowns we have before us.

  • Mr Mark

    Excellent questions, but Rev Warren’s biased forum wasn’t about asking meaningful questions.Funny how he didn’t ask the candidates to name an evil perpetrated by CHRISTIANS.Why not?

  • April

    I don’t know enough about Rev. Warren to know who his consituents are, but my understanding is that this was very clearly a conservative Christian forum. To ask that he address alternative Christian views seems to assume that conservative Christians feel some affiliation to culturally liberal Christians. Perhaps they should–as your article seems to argue–but it doesn’t change the fact that they don’t. There are reasons that they don’t: conservative Christianity is based far more in conservative culture than conservative religion. Their common ties are with fellow cultural conservatives, not co-religionists.So I’m not sure why Rev. Warren should have asked questions based on viewpoints outside this conservative forum. For that, have a town meeting at a UU church.

  • DTR

    “I still think a church is no place for a campaign event, and a clergy person has no business posing as political moderator.”These are reasonable points, but keep in mind that Obama used Jeremiah Wright’s church to build his political career. As far as I know, Wright never gave equal time to both sides, but Rick Warren did.

  • ericmiami

    What Rick Warren should have done is ensure McCain was actually in the supposed “Cone of Silence” instead of riding in a limo with a TV and aides with Blackberries. McCain seemed to answer several times before Warren could even get the questions out.

  • Mindy

    No, I think that you are wrong. This forum was FOR the evangelical vote. Haven’t any of you been listening to the news. Rick Warren did this forum to address the questions and concerns of the evangelicals and many Christians alike. You people are just upset because McCain did so well and Obama bored the hell out of everyone. Not to mention the fact that he gave abstract answers while McCain gave concrete answers. Give it up and accept that for once, McCain did a way better job!

  • SteveL

    If you wanted Rick Warren to go into a more “countercultural worldview,” then perhaps he should have asked both McCain and Obama about Reverend Wright’s Black Liberation Theology.Now that’s a topic I would really have liked to have seen Obama squirm on.

  • katharine

    Excellent questions, but then those would have required a thoughtful, perhaps lengthy response. What would John McCain have done then?

  • SteveL

    Obama’s supporters are now spreading a conspiracy theory that McCain might have cheated. There’s no evidence he did (and no willingness to believe he wouldn’t as a matter of honor, having given his word beforehand). They just say it.Well, no one but Obama was responsible for his disastrous “above my pay grade” response to the abortion question. That was his and his alone. And he’ll never wriggle out of it. The Republican Party is probably preparing attack ads using it right now.

  • Zeyad

    Mr Waters,You hit the nail on the head. I, a reporter, was covering the protest outside, so I watched the forum with great interest afterwards. I felt the same. You took the words out of my mouth, but in a much more clever and insightful way. I commend you.

  • gerald berke

    The presidential candidates were called to public questioning by the religious community: right there it was over the top.

  • Rick

    You compiled a much better, more thoughtful line of questions.Can we get a round 2? It would be much more interesting for sure.

  • thebob.bob

    McCain’s one and two word, bumper-sticker responses were tailored to voters who like it simple: The Bible says it and that’s good enough for me! Obama’s appearance at a right-wing conservative evangelical meeting, albeit a slightly more centrist one than Pat Robertson’s, should be matched with an appearance by McCain at a “liberal” Unitarian meeting. If not than the headlines should read, “What is McCain afraid of?”

  • Kathleen Jackson

    We aren’t all Christians in this nation. Religion shouldn’t play any part at all in our government.

  • Crying foul

    All of Obama’s supporters who are crying foul about the cone of silence should educate themselves and watch McCain in one of his townhall style meetings. He excels in this environment. If Obama had done better nobody would be here complaining, but the fact that their candidate did poorly has them all looking for an excuse. Heaven forbid that Obama should have one bad day. He was out of his element and it showed. McCain said he never heard the questions beforehand and I believe him. This is a man who refused to be released from his POW camp early so he could stay with his men. Like him or not, he has integrity.

  • dumber

    In a dumbed-down forum, answering dumbed-down questions, posited by a dumbed-down group (evangelicals), yes, McCain did well.

  • Tyrone Merriweather

    John McCain killed Saturday night. Now we know why the obama people don’t want more debates. Give him hell, John!

  • Bob

    I didn’t see the debate or hear any of the questions. However, I did read your questions in the article and they suck. Don’t except any calls soon for you to host a debate…from either side.

  • Bill

    Isn’t it interesting that a man takes a stand and has the guts to ask questions never asks the correct questions. If you could have done better Mr Walters why didn’t you spend the money to ask your questions rather than find fault with someone else.

  • Jim

    Mr Mark -Christians do not perpetrate evil by definition any more then a vegetarian eats meat. If someone eats meat, they are not a vegetarian, if someone does not keep Christ’s commands (thus showing themselves to be His disciples) they are not a Christian.-WWW.FLEEBABYLON.COM

  • knickerbocker

    Warren is asking the questions his congregation wants to know about. What’s wrong with that? Let’s face it. The title of this piece should be: “Why My Guy Didn’t Do Better.”

  • Neo

    well, those ‘conservative evangelicals’ may love Jesus, but i can tell you one thing they love even more: Money. and the very thought that the top 5% may have to pay more in taxes strikes the fear of God in those “patriots”.

  • Obama08

    Why hell, it was a no brainer for McCain. He cheated. He was suppose to be in a secluded room, but what does he do? He’s sitting in a limo listening to the questions and Obama’s answers. What a cheat!!!

  • Jeanette

    I didn’t get to see the forum, but from what I have been able to read on-line I believe that Obama did better than McCain. I AM an evangelical and am still undecided who I will vote for. I don’t like either of them. However, I was impressed by Obama’s answers where McCain’s seemed a little too “pat”.

  • No Whining

    Stop whining, please. Warren is friends with Obama, he even called him “Barack.” Obama had the most to gain from the forum. It’s not Warren’s fault that Obama’s leisurely week of memorizing bible verse to insert into every response did not pay up, even to his “pay grade.”

  • Dr. Dave

    Obamaheads and the media in his tank can’t handle the fact that John McCain is more at ease with expressing his positions whereas Obama is constantly reflecting on what he needs to say in order not to offend his audience or his followers and fans. regarding David Waters: Why don’t you get your man Obama on stage with McCain and him your own questions. It’s doubtful he will agree to your request. And in the remote chance he did, 2:1 he will be outshined by McCain who appears far more honest, straightforward and far less politically correct.

  • Anonymous

    Since when did America soundly reject thoughtful leaders. I didn’t know stubborn and ignorant were virtues. Even Jesus couldn’t appeal to “evangelical” Christians today.

  • Ed

    I read across the political spectrum (Right and Left) and not just American publications (Chinese, European, Israeli, Arab, and others). Your specific questions aside, what seems to bother you is that Warren’s platform doesn’t have your point of view. Let’s be honest. Your platform, this site, is going to ask questions that refelct your point of view.What you might ask is why not have McCain and Obama speak on more–a variety of platforms–and let the commentators ask what they will. That’s healthy to debate, not telling people that the fall short because they don’t reflect our point of view.

  • Shain from NH

    Your questions would have been 100 times better than the ones which were asked. I mean, it’s election time, where are the people with the difficult questions? It’s not so much about religion as it is about ethics, the questions you presented would have given us a great window into each candidates stances on important ethical issues. Instead, Rick Warren’s questions managed to be completely useless.

  • Mr. Jim

    Why do people like it when the person they want is down and up and then al the sudden the other person cheated. They ask him and he stated he did not hear. It was the fault of the Pastor to start until Mr. Cain arrived or cancel and since neither was done and Mr Obama lloked bad it got to be someone elses fault and not Mr. Obama he could never mess up. Look at the religion that he went to for years that brain washed his way of thinking and how the preacher Mr. Wright preached. Not the norm. So you all need to look elsewhere for the blame.

  • Stockton

    The forum went very well. And it did what it was supposed to do in my house. It solidified the evangelical vote. 2 votes for McCain!

  • caribootroutfitters

    Warren/McCain kept the answers simple and straight-forward because they both know that the electorate is so ill-informed, those are the only answers the majority would understand.

  • Ken

    Actually, my name is Rip, Rip Van Winkle. You see, I must have fallen asleep in the Catskills again, for when I awoke, I read about a pastor holding a political forum in his church, and the nominees of the two major parties were in attendance and answering his questions.Surely I’ve missed something? Surely they jest. Surely two candidates for the office of President didn’t just succumb to the religious right and make a staged ‘debate’ appearance.How do you spell Nu Z’land…. I hear it’s really nice there.

  • hesingswithfrogs

    I thought that Obama performed much better than McCain at the Saddleback forum. To me, Obama came across as much more genuine, thoughtful, intelligent, and “in the moment” than McCain. He wasn’t afraid to walk us through the reasons for his opinions or to outline the complexities of the problems presented. He showed us the logic behind his decision-making. He seemed much more comfortable and relaxed throughout the conversation and gave answers that were more natural. I felt Obama was more open and honest than McCain.Meanwhile, John McCain looked very jittery and uncomfortable to me. His answers came across as canned rather than conversational. He did not elaborate to the same extent as Obama. Warren tried to hint at this to McCain several times, in an attempt to get more substantive answers, but McCain seemed to prefer yes or no responses without acknowledging the complexities of many of the issues discussed. Perhaps some people just don’t appreciate learning about the thought process behind a response and will hold it against Obama for trying to flesh out his responses, but I appreciate the elaboration, and I think our candidates should be able to provide them. Also, McCain frequently resorted to the same tired war stories and jokes that he’s been telling for years. While some people like to listen to stories, there were too many for me and I’d heard most of them before. It was a crutch for McCain. I felt it took McCain out of the moment and back into the past. Often his stories didn’t squarely address the question. It’s like he had been told “tell this story if the topic is X, tell this story if the topic is Y.” You often see seniors do this in their declining years as a way to cover-up their confusion and slowed mental processing.For me, McCain utterly failed when it came to discussing his faith. The question presented was essentially how does his faith effect him in his daily life and this was a major theme of the forum. Rather than talking about how his faith effects him in his daily life, McCain resorted to one moment from decades ago. And then he wanted to move on asap. A huge purpose for that forum was to talk about faith, and McCain really didn’t have much to say. Meanwhile, Obama had much more to share about faith in his daily life.On a final note, McCain really showed his true colors with regard to the “cone of silence.” The “cone of silence” seems to have been a major condition of the forum. It was intended to prevent one candidate from gaining an unfair advantage over the other by learning of the questions ahead of time. With this as a major condition of the forum, a responsible candidate would have made sure that he was there on time in order to abide by the rules of the forum. Instead of showing up on time and honoring the rules of the forum, McCain showed his slacker ways by not being there on time. Throughout his life, McCain has shown his slacker ways, including graduating at the bottom of his class, crashing 5 airplanes, not learning about economics despite almost 3 decades in the legislature and chairing the powerful Senate Commerce Committee. Even worse, when Warren told everyone that McCain had been in the “cone of silence,” McCain didn’t correct Warren. In doing so, he essentially allowed Warren to make a liar of himself. McCain, right there in front of everyone, made the conscious decision to allow the pastor, the audience, and everyone watching to be misled. Regardless of whether you believe that McCain abused the situation to learn the questions ahead of time, McCain’s failure to speak up and tell the truth when Warren told everyone that McCain had been in the “cone of silence” was dishonest and it was dishonorable. It is highly reminiscent of the manipulative, misleading, and secretive ways of the Bush administration.

  • David Axelrod

    So what if Obama is a secret Muslim. If America wasn’t so mean as Michelle says, he wouldn’t have to hide his true religion.

  • rseale

    amazing comments. if religion is not an issue, why did Mr. Obama make it one by “throwing Rev. Wright under the bus?”

  • you are all sheople

    obama = karl marx

  • richCares

    McCain’s cross in the dirt story was compelling. it seems that the first time this cross story showed up, McCain told it about an American prisoner (not himself) it has since morphed, he is now the prisoner. Is it dementia or lies or just alzheimer’s?Story originally came from:THE 2000 CAMPAIGN; Excerpt From McCain’s Speech:NY Times 2000 link to McCain’s Nov 2000 speech:

  • David

    Question for charlatan preacher Warren: Why did you lie to the American people about McCain being in a ‘cone of silence’ when he was in his personal limosine equipped with TV and phones where the following can be assumed: McCain heard the questions at the minimum, watched his rival Obama on TV as likely, got coaching on how to respond as a probability? Your protest that McCain’s word is enough to convince you that he did not listen is naive at best. It is clear that your forum was not a ‘level playing field; as you called it. The Sham at Saddleback reminds me of the game show ’21′, all rigged.

  • Rip

    oops, I meant Evangelical, not Religious Right… (someone please help me understand the difference)…

  • wbgonne

    A presidential candidate cheats, lies and panders during a Christian-values forum is declared the “winner.” A perfect commentary on this nation’s moral health. God better help the U.S. because we sure aren’t.

  • FlyDiesel

    These questions are all grounded in liberal theology, which is not the forum. It’s not unlike demanding that the NAACP pass their agenda past the Anti-Defamation League. While these are both organizations who deal almost exclusively with bias, that is pretty much where the similarity ends. Your premise is absurd on the face of it. If Obama did not want to answer conservative Christian questions, he should have declined to attend the forum. For my part, Obama showed courage in attending. McCain should now be willing to attend a similar forum in a liberal Christian church. And no, I don’t believe the UU’s oe whomever should ask evangelical-based questions to make it ‘fair’. They should determine for themselves if either candidate suits them and their world view. If McCain is brave enough to give them that ability, good for him. If not, they have their answer.It’s called Democracy; get used to it. Not everyone is as narrow minded and judgmental as today’s liberals; ask Joe Lieberman.

  • Peter Rehner

    If you look at the documents of the founders of the first 12 states, you will see that the church palyed an important role in every aspect of life including the setting up of government. Separation of church and state has to do with not making one denomination the state church. That is as far as it goes. Some states did not allow you to run for government unless you were a church member in good standing. Simply ask the question, why? I felt Rick’s forum was an excellent start to how conduct elections. Why are we afraid of of people who hold integrity as an important way of life?

  • patient

    For any number of reasons, that circus deserves rebuke for its assumptions as well as the manner in which it obfuscated insights into how we Americans should work to lessen the impact of our civic deficiencies.

  • Rich Gallippi

    To quiet the controversy around the possibility of McCain having access to the questions, simply have another debate very soon, same place same pastor. This time McCain goes first. He will do just as well.

  • Neo

    oh, did i mention i’m Agnostic. i’m honest enough to admit that i don’t know anything about “God”. i would’nt presume to know about what “the Creator” is thinking, unlike some of us. it’s called humility and honesty.

  • JohnS

    jesus said nothing about abortion? he said “WHATSOEVER YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF MY BROTHERS (YES THAT INCLUDES SISTERS)THAT YOU DO UNTO ME” you need to crack that bible open once ans a while b-4 you show your ignorance.

  • D_Roy_Boy

    I think it’s a very serious problem when people vote their religion. Our current president was voted in because has has the same religion as a lot of voters. Tragically, he has caused this nation considerable damage.

  • Mike in Texas

    Senator McCain was clearly the more cogent and responsive of the two. And, where does it say that churches and church leaders cannot participate in the political process. Do you naysayers suggest that only agnostics and atheists have right to political discourse?

  • tom t

    hi and thanks

  • Chris Stewart

    Amen! I loved this article. Someone needs to let the world know that you don’t have subscribe to Pat Robertson’s news letter to be a Christian. (And perhaps also that you don’t have to be a Christian to be a good person).The hypocrisy of the most political evangelicals is confounding. John McCain knew that in 2000, I guess he has forgotten now. Since his positions have surprisingly shifted toward his new base.

  • the other david

    David, David, David… when you host a forum you can choose the questions. Enough said. YOUR candidate did not do so well… get over it and move on.

  • Watcher

    The man-on-the-street, post-broadcast interviews indicate that Obama supporters thought he was wonderful and McCain supporters thought he was … wonderful. No big change there.But many undecided listener’s got to hear them answer the same questions (the goofy insinuations of you conspiracy freaks aside). That was very enlightening to many – it exposed McCain’s and Obama’s worldviews (and it called into serious question Obama’s reputation for “eloquence.”)If you don’t like Warren’s questions then stage your own debate and see who comes to it.

  • In California

    Thank you for being a voice of reason

  • wbgonne

    A presidential candidate cheats, lies, and panders at a Christian-values debate. And he is declared the “winner.” That tells you all you need to know about the political and moral health of this nation. God better help the U.S. because we Americans sure aren’t.

  • Geoff

    Hmmm…one of the most powerful organizations in the world (the US Government) being asked questions by another of the most powerful organizations in the world (the US Christian Church) and the whole thing being questioned by another of the most powerful organizations in the world (the US Media).And a bunch of people grumbling about which is right and which is wrong? You’re all living in “the matrix.”Learn to think for yourselves – no “organization” is going to save a single person, let alone a whole country or the whole world.

  • Jonathan N

    I do love how people call Obama corrupt. Never mind the fact that the only things that Republicans can find to try and tag him with the label “corrupt” is third party crap like a pastor or someone he had on a board with, or some slumlord that he had a brief encounter with. Guess what guys. If you work in downtrodden areas you run into seedy people. If you are in office you run into, and unfortunately have to work with some questionable characters. What? You’ve never had a coworker you didn’t want to deal with but had to because its your job?As for the interviews. Its a good start. Lets get another one up and running really soon. I want Obama to start dropping real word examples as to why McCain is going to end up being Bush 2.0 lite.

  • Rufus

    More Monday morning quarterback jabber from humiliated journalists. If journalists were true to their profession and would ask BHO the hard questions instead of trying to promote his campaign, Rev. Warren wouldn’t need to ask the tough questions in their stead.

  • Skipp

    McCain has learned the language, but I don’t believe for a moment that he is “saved.” At least Obama speaks from his heart.

  • Bill

    Warren can hardly be blamed for asking questions that are important to conservative evangelicals. Who better to ask them?That said, some of your questions are very good, and I hope they will be asked. I remember what I said as I watched Senator Obama, who came off wonderfully well by the way. It took a religious forum to give the most substantitive answers we have heard from the candidates since the campaign began.Warren and his wife have done a lot to broaden the focus of evangelical voters from just gay rights and abortion to genuine concern for the poor and sick, in particular AIDS victims.Do not be too quick to write him off as a Robertson or Falwell clone.

  • SayWhat

    Just happy to see we could have a discussion Saturday night so all could watch.

  • Johnny

    Since McCain obviously cheated, how can we be sure that he won’t cheat in the general debates? I say in fairness the debates should be cancelled.

  • Jim

    Guess what.Obama is so weak, that he will be asked to take the VP role for eight years under Clinton.He needs eight years to “season”…Yes….you heard it here first….

  • Elliot

    Frankly, as a Jew, I was appalled–just as I was appalled in 2004 when Joe Lieberman insinuated that being a person of faith was a litmus test for fitness to hold political office. While I respect the right of evangelical voters to let their religious beliefs inform their political actions, I also would ask from them the same respect for my religious tradition.

  • Peach

    The media really does like to pretend we all have amnesia, doesn’t it? The very first paragraph of this article is based on a false premise.The day before the Saddleback interviews, CNN interviewed pundit after pundit — all of whom predicted this would be an excellent forum for Obama. Now that he tanked in the forum where he was predicted to do well, the liberal media is all pretending it’s because the forum was hand picked to appeal to McCain voters.

  • LC

    The thing with any debate forum is that people will see what the wish to see.

  • David

    I don’t get what all the whining is about.When Obama and McCain appeared before the NAACP, they spoke about issues that concerned the NAACP.When Obama and McCain appeared before Latino groups, they spoke about issues that concerned Latinos.Why is it so unreasonable that Obama and McCain speak about issues that concern evangelicals?

  • James

    If you don’t like the questions posed, why don’t you get your own forum and get the candidates to come and answer your questions. Nobody twisted Obama’s arm to go to this, on the contrary, he must have thought that he could score points by attending this forum. Oops, wrong-o, he looked bad and now all the Obama suppoters are making excuses for him, of course the main one being that as usual the GOP cheated. Why it is the GOP’s fault that Obama can’t answer questions above his pay scale I don’t really know, but if he can’t answer the tough questions, then maybe he’s running for the wrong job.

  • Anonymous

    “A better question: Jesus never said anything about abortion or homosexuality” See Matthew 15:19

  • Jake

    Very well put David. As a fellow Christian, I agree that the questions Warren put were mostly loaded to favor the right’s cultural agenda. Jesus did talk about inequality between rich and poor and spoke out against violence such as war (and against fear mongering) on nearly every page of the Bible. He said almost nothing about homosexuality and abortion, the right’s two litmus test issues. Considering that McCain admitted to adultery and owns ten houses, it’s no wonder that only the Evangelicals still support him more than Obama among Christian groups.Besides, McCain’s campaign admitted that he wasn’t in a “cone of silence” during Obama’s questioning and they gave a “non-denial denial” when asked about it. Now they’re trying to demonize NBC for bringing it up, just as they demonize their opponent at every turn. God help us.

  • jimmyp

    Look “my friends” neither of these candidates has the wisdom to run this Country. But like John Edwards, both have the were-withal to look “Presidential” at any given moment given the right circumstances. Do either of these candidates really think they can define & fix what’s wrong in America? Anyone believing either can is equally delusional.

  • pj451

    What an incredible waste of President-elect Obama’s time. This event was tailor made for pandering to the religious wing nuts that have brought the U.S. to the brink of destruction. I find it amusing that the anti-choice movement remains fixated on the fetus while the post fetuses are left to suffer.

  • Laura

    Thanks, your article just reminded me why I don’t read the Washington Post. I don’t think your article could have had a more elitest tone. I think the vast majority of voting Americans would have asked the exact same questions Rick Warren asked; in the exact same way he asked them.But forgive me, ‘Oh Elite Liberal Brain’. I’ve forgotten that we little people must have you to interpret and make decisions on all political questions and answers. How could we make it easier for you to make all of our decisions for us? I know! You ought to raise an army, call it red, kill the people in the charge, take over and drive us straight to hell… Wait, that sounds familiar… Oh yeah, it was called the Bolshevik Revolution.

  • Jeff

    Clearly Obama does not want his actual thoughts on these topics (and many others) to be aired because so many people would never vote for him if they knew his actual thoughts. that is why he cannot make clear, concise statements on topics like religion, abortion, etc. Some of the questions were great; it’s just that the liberal bunch here cannot spew their BS because no one in his/her right mind would listen.

  • Brad

    Good idea NEO raise taxes on the top 5%, they are mostly small business owners and other people who work hard committing 95% of the total taxes paid. I forgot that they employ 80% of the workforce or provide benefits to their employees out of their profits. Obama said a more fair tax system. Sounds great how about 15% across the board! Oh that means some lazy loud mouths like you would need to pay too. Better vote Obama quick!

  • Anonymous

    He could have asked, if that first wife isn’t doing it for you anymore, is it ok to get a younger, prettier, richer one when you get the chance? Of course, we all know how Ol John feels about that.

  • Claire Solt PhD

    I can’t remember a time when pastors objected to the questions journalists ask at debates. I doubt that this author has sold 35 million books and probably has a more limited perspective than Warren does. The idea of asking both candidates the same questions has a lot of appeal, and I hop;e the media adopts it. Nothing is perfect, but this was better than snowmen asking gotcha questions.

  • Young Evangelical

    I am an evangelical Christian, and I watched the discussion with interest. I have been struggling with my decision on voting–I thought I might not vote at all, but after watching the forum I would certainly vote for Obama over McCain. I did not think McCain did better at all, although he did receive more applause. His short responses demonstrated that he doesn’t think deeply, while Obama’s responses demonstrate that he recognizes the complexity of many of the issues they discussed.

  • Don Kingsley

    Thank you for being a voice of insanity.

  • Daveiowa

    Political forums of any sort will never give us a valid view of a man that will say anything to get elected.

  • Metro

    Here’s an even better question:The Christianists are becoming increasingly irrelevant as the party that pandered to their particular portfolio of popular prejudices tries to crawl back to the political centre, tearing itself to shreds along the way.At best, these folks represent about 5% of the US citizenry, and most of them wouldn’t vote for Obama if he personally promised he’d revoke a woman’s right to choose, make school prayer mandatory, and create a Federal Department of Inquisition and Miracles.Anyone who actually considers him- or her- self a Christian should vote Obama anyway. Although I suppose McCain may have an advantage: he’s the only candidate old enough to have personally met Jesus.

  • Kurt

    I grew up in Tustin which is in Orange County near Saddleback, it was a “Leave it to Beaver” existance and it was only until I grew up that I realized how unprepared that culture made me to exist work and live with the rest of society.I had not seen any of the debate until today and read many of the questions Warren asked, the stilliest of the lot was asking if evil existed. And both candidates failed that one. The answer is “In what context are you talking about?” There is no existential “evil” out there, evil only exists relative to the values which a particular culture holds — all major religions (except the variations of Buddism), and Ayn Rand nonwithstanding. Any rational person knows that, and if our Presidential candidates do not know that then they are thoughtless automatons; if they do know that and do not say so, then they are pandering to the mob.Do I miss Tustin and Orange County? Yes, for its beauty; no, for its culture. Any county which would name its Airport for an actor (i.e. John Wayne) is silly. Any county whose citizens would vote against fixing a budget crisis (ergo the derivitive bets its Treasurer made) which only raised the interest rates Orange county would have to pay on its bonds, has a culture with severe problems dealing with reality.

  • Steve

    David,Thanks for your insightful observations.I think Obama knew this was a stacked forum in favor of McCain – which begs the question – why on earth did he accept the invitation in the 1st place!!!!!

  • Elliot

    Frankly, as a Jew, I was appalled–just as I was appalled in 2004 when Joe Lieberman insinuated that being a person of faith was a litmus test for fitness to hold political office. While I respect the right of evangelical voters to let their religious beliefs inform their political actions, I also would ask from them the same respect for my religious tradition.

  • Religion and Politics Don’t Mix

    I consider myself a deeply religious person but don’t want or expect that my religion will dictate for whom I will vote. Christian religion in its purest form should teach values and principles by which to live your life, and through those values and principles, allow each person to vote for the individuals who will honor the rights for which they believe. How can Mormon’s have Harry Reid, an active liberal, and Mitt Romney, an active conservative, both be considered as having the same religious beliefs. Because their church doesn’t dictate to them or their constituents, what political path to take. Keep the two separate. The way it should be!

  • Confused

    I am an independent and have been very perplexed about which way to go on this one, but the whole “above my pay grade” answer has tilted me toward McCain. I understand that abortion is a complex issue, and I even oppose government intervention in the matter, but I still want a leader who can speak his mind. Whatever happened to just answering as you believe? Especially for a man wishing to lead a country. Avoiding questions tells me that this man is barely a man at all.

  • Chris

    McCain cleaned his clock. Get over it! Obama is a fraud.P.S. Keep the Change

  • Eddie Zalez

    It seems by now the “cone of silence” was a charade to give McCain the opportunity to say more than three sentences that made any sense without reading form a cue card. I really wonder if Rev. Warren planned this or McCain cheated again on his audience.

  • Anonymous

    The Obama Campaign, otherwise known as the National Whiners Association, have claimed that McCain cheated by listening in on Obama’s time with Rick Warren.Only one tiny little problem. Byron York is now reporting that actually it was Barack Obama who had more information going into the questioning than did John McCain! It turns out that Rick Warren shared a third question with Obama, in addition to the first two he shared with both candidates – a question on adoption that he intended to share with McCain just before the event. But because McCain did not arrive until after the event started, Warren was unable to do so.

  • IntifadaGirl

    Obama supporters are just too blind to face the fact that their candidate doesnt’ even have the backbone to answer basic questions, no matter who is doing the asking. Warren: “At what point do individuals have human rights?” Obama: “My pay grade isn’t high enough to answer that question.” Come on…this from someone who voted that doctors are not required to give medical aid to babies who have survived abortions. Yet get him in front of an evangelical audience and he can’t give a straight-up answer. That was almost as pathetic as his speech to AIPAC pandering to the Jewish vote.

  • Elvis

    obama has no speaking skills. he debates like a nervous freshman. too bad. oh well

  • Charles

    Neither set of questions is complete by any means but your set is more biased and displays a more narrow-minded view of Chrisianity. (Christianity as only about equality and poverty.)The original Q1 was not a bad question and the answer was not obvious by any means. Yours was also a good question.Your Q2 is a rephrasing of Warren’s except Warren’s was formed objectively whereas yours had a bias towards one answer.Warren’s Q3 about schools was OK although the question was not very related to the preamble. Your question was not really a question but an ideological statement about the objectives of education policy. (Focused on equality issues rather than the whole question of quality.)Your Q4 is similar to Warrens except with an irrelevant aside about homosexuality and abortion which is supposed to convey a bias on that subject. Ridiculous.

  • Chris Stewart

    Obama came off as exactly what he is. A regular guy with a good understanding of American and World politics.Now, I know regular folks aren’t supposed to become president. That office is supposed to be reserved for the children of former presidents and top naval officers. But maybe for once, we can make a change.I know… Obama has little foreign experience. He is not a good debator (at least not as good as McCain, Clinton, or Edwards). Sometimes he messes and says stupid things, but I sure would love to have a President that I can relate to.I believe that even though I am not the child of privilege, some day I too can become President. Obama is a realization of that. He is smart. He worked his butt off, and now he is on the precipice.Obama in 2008. What a refreshing thought?

  • Jeff

    i didn’t realize how many liberal sickos read this garbage and then comment. liberalism is a mental illness. you need to get jobs and leave the thinking to someone else.

  • Michelle

    WHAT A SHAME! It’s a shock that BOTH candidates gave in to the pressure by evangelicals to hold a forum in a CHURCH, moderated by a RELIGIOUS leader. Preposterous! Since when is it okay to mix religion with politics in the US?? WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

  • Lover Not A Fighter

    Obama is…the coolest thing since the Nehru jacket!I mean…like it is spiritual and free and like the earth and the moon – I feel…like a sexual awakening is freeing me from my inhibitions.Men, women, sheep…I am ready!Obama, you are all that and a bag of muffins!

  • Glen Harris

    This was not a debate that require a winner or a loser. It was an opportunity for people to get to know the candidates by the questions pastor Warren ask. There was no who did better than the other. It was direct to the point of the candidates policies and belief. Whether you agree or not is based on your opinion generate by the response heard. Let us move on.

  • Rob

    Rufus, you missed the point of this article. The point is not that the questions aren’t worthwhile altogether, but the fact that the questions were phrased in such a way that anything other than the answer Warren wants sounds bad, hence the suggested rephrasing to allow differing views to be heard. The questions are slanted in such a way that to give any answer that isn’t conservative mantra is to be an enemy of the Church.

  • MikeinPhilly

    The reason for McCain’s pat answers is that, given his lackluster public speaking ability and his penchant for saying dumb things (as proven several times already in this campaign), he is under the strict control and instruction of the “Rove-like” campaign team he has recently reorganized. Their strategy was detailed in an article in the Wall Street Journal. McCain is to stay “on message” and never stray. He is to issue a new attack on Obama each day (and has done so). McCain is not his own man anymore. The “maverick” is a broken steed. He can only win by hewing to the “company line” and hoping against hope that Obama somehow screws up and defeats himself.

  • MrRcguy

    This was a pretty good analysis. Who “won”, who “lost”? Well that will depend on who YOU as an individual want to be President. While reading through the comments it is a wonder how many people are parroting the “he McCain cheated” comments from NBC. NBC of all organizations. Warren said up front that the candidates received the first two questions and the general subjects of the rest of the questions. Pat answers? That just means that McCain prepared. And it means good ol’ Andrea Mitchell did absolutely 0 homework before making that comment. The fact that so many people are repeating that meme just goes to show how many sheep we have in the American public. “The news said so. It must be true.”Wake up. Neither of these candidates are good for the country. Each of them will just be a shill for their respective party. We are already seeing it from both candidates. McCain at least is honest about it. Obama ran far far to the left and is now trying to alter all his original statements. When he gets caught he gets mad and calls the press people right wing plants. Nice. Nothing to see here. Move on. Too bad the Dem and Rep parties have the two party system locked up so tight.

  • Dan

    1) We are a Christian based nation, why do you think Bibles were mandatory in schools in the beginning of this country

  • Mr. Tracy

    It is heartening to see that this Democratic nominee strongly acknowledges that there is a God, but it is sad that he can’t figure out when a human life begins.

  • Better of without Lies

    Faith and Politics are the two factors that spread death and war as far back as the written word. Believe in yourself and be good to others. Judge NOT.

  • Jamo

    A pastor’s charge is to tell the world the good news that one man’s sacrifice has redeemed us all. It isn’t to moderate a conversation on the perfect democracy.In my opinion, I think the good christians of the several evangelical communities would be better served if their pastors were less worldly.

  • Charlie Jackson

    I seem to remember what the “top dog” religious folks did during a long-ago world empire when confronted with the issue of religion in the public sphere – they killed the messenger.

  • Dale

    Your observation is about as much a no brainer as the implication you try to suggest about communication style. But you miss the real impact. Direct answers will always play well to folks who are looking for clear answers not a promise to be different. We all know Obama will be different from President G. W. Bush. But will his difference be direct action to correct problems? You Said:The difference in candidates is the message and how to get it out. Both were clear communicators. McCain: showed “I’m a strong motivator” Obama: showed “I’m a subtle manipulator”

  • American

    Oh how I wish for church and state to be separate. Keep religion out of government! Never the less you do ask some good questions. Religion is a huge money making tax free machine. I guess I can see why they must pander to the right wing speaking in tongues crowd to get their votes.

  • Alex J

    For those complaining over the venue: I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen politicians stumping from the pulpit in the South (Where was your favorite politician on Civil Rights Day (MLK Jr Day)?As for the questions, I don’t think they were any ‘more’ offbase then the drivel used in the primary debates by ‘professional reporters/commentators’.Why don’t you compare the questions asked by Warren to those asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper?Or forget objectivity all together and compare the questions to topics of discussion on ‘The View’ or ‘Oprah’..I like in you’re ‘better question’ where you refer to MLK Jr as a Christian Pastor as if we don’t know who he was.. If you don’t like Warren’s questions, send you’re own list to to the two campaign offices and if they think your questions are worth answering maybe they will..

  • Anonymous

    Another day, another Obama lie exposed.After weeks of whining that the Republicans were lying about his vote on born alive abortion protection, the Obama camp now admits that Obama did vote in the exact manner the Republicans have said he voted. Oops.

  • Harold L. Bare, Sr.

    I am convinced that the liberals are the conservatives, and the conservatives are the liberals. Liberals do not believe that conservatives have a brain, i.e., conservatives are idiots. However, conservatives “who have no brain” are open to acknowledge there are many different viewpoints, perspectives, ideologies, philosophies, and religions, but conservatives happen to think some things are wrong. If the shoe fits, wear it.

  • Yo Bama

    So, Obama was shown to be the significant empty suit that he is and it is Warren’s fault? Or McCains? I guess one of those unbiased Time/CNN debates or Washington Post conducted forums would have been better. McCain came off better not because he was in a room full of conservatives, but that he decided to actually behave like one. Anytime conservatism and liberalism is juxtaposed, conservatism wins. Now I can’t wait to see the old man show America that at least there is one adult in the room. Obama is Shakespear’s embodiment of an actor on a stage full of sound and fury signifying – nothing.

  • Javalation

    He could have asked, if that first wife isn’t doing it for you anymore, is it ok to get a younger, prettier, richer one when you get the chance? Of course, we all know how slick, Ol John feels about that.

  • James Swanson

    Please tell me ONE thing that Obama has did, does, or says that makes YOU think he is qualified to be President of the US–only ONE!!! You realize no president can do what the can. clain they will do. Are you ALL just for give-me, give-me, give-me? Or do some of you think we should receive according to our deeds including work? Interesting!!!!!

  • Matt

    Eschew Obfuscation

  • Anonymous

    Jesus had to be the most apolitical person in history. I believe he was quite clear when he said “. . . give that to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and give to God that which belongs to God.” As a person of faith I feel this “forum” had but one objective . . . to preach to the choir. I sure do miss the good ole days when the League of Women Voters ran the debates. A bit more well-rounded worldly topicality with better follow-ups.

  • An Independant

    The objective of the forum was to see through the souls of these candidates.On the other hand, Mccaine seemed to be opposite. He took this as an election debate kind of thing.As a true christian , I have started leaning towards Obama for now.

  • Lewis

    So Senator Obama is not the almighty savior of the Democratic Party!!! NOOOOOOOO! I thought for sure that he would emerge from the ashes of his battle with Senator Clinton and tell us all exactly how we were going to think. I mean why would we want to hold on to our foolish “values”, who cares if they were our Great-grandfathers before they were ours. Who cares if everything was to become more expensive for us, Europe would benefit greatly along with Russia and China. Yay Earth!

  • Burt Frasher

    You, as a member of the “drive by media” (as the Washington Post often is), proposed complicated, irrelevant questions, which should have been asked.This is an attempt by the “drive by media” to cast doubt on the definite outcome of the interview.

  • John

    Sorry you didn’t like the questions that someone outside of the media asked. You need to check you facts about what is biblical. You are out in left field.

  • goforkyourself

    Yeah Jeff, the conservative “thinkers” have sure gotten us into a great position, eh? They have bastardized the constitution and made a mockery of everything this country stands for.

  • Brendan

    I think you’re arrogant and one of the reasons many of us are disgusted with the media.

  • diana

    you liberals are so biased and paranoid. if obama had been late you would have seen no problem. but just b/c your candidate put his foot (both feet) in his mouth, you have to go blaming someone. christians, or “religious people” as you call them, have every right to raise their voice as all the other opinions do. liberals hold such a double standard of “equal rights” and “freedom of speech.”

  • Chris Stewart

    Intafidgirl, you’re statement goes to my earlier post. Why can’t a politician be just a regular guy? Why do they have to pretend to have all the answers (they don’t)?I don’t know if you voted for Bush in 2004, but given your Obama vehemence I will assume you did. During a debate, President Bush was asked “Is homosexuality a biological condition?” His answer, “I don’t know.”Honestly, I wish had answered “yes.” Though his speeches and political stances indicate that he probably thinks “no.” But you know what, I respect his answer.Politicians aren’t experts in science, theology, or philosophy— just like you and I. Honestly, I can appreciate the wisdom of knowing when you don’t know.

  • Jeff

    Above my pay grade??? There is nothing complicated about this!! It is very simple. Can you believe this idiot??

  • MrRcguy

    Chris Stewart at 3:12:

  • Duh

    Obama, needs to finish his term as senator and then decide to run for president.What arrogance!

  • Harrison

    What I object to is not the questions posed by Rick Warren, but that the media treats him as if he is the father of modern, evangelical Christianity. To the contrary, there are many evangelicals who don’t like his approach to Christianity and find it too liberal and too open-minded.Perhaps the real problem is that he even bothered to talk about it at church. While some narrow-minded hacks are going to cry “Separation of Church and State!”, it wasn’t my church and I would never invite political candidates to discuss their views in my church.

  • Philip

    Thought I’d add a little variety to these comments:Your first ‘better question’ is just as obviously obvious: violence does not inevitably cause a downward spiral, especially with respect to non-violence. Many, many millions more have been oppressed or killed in unchallenged regimes than elsewhere.Your second ‘better question’ is heartlessly (and bizarrely) worded… “pay us to do what God wants us to do”… most people I’ve met serving in those organizations are living simply to do what God wants them to do (regardless of where the money comes from). By your logic, should Pastors be volunteers? And who pays you?Your third ‘better question’ suggests ‘complexity’ but ignores a major simple cause of the problems you refer to: vigorous anit-merit-pay teachers unions (who strongly support Obama) are fighting against merit pay, even though it is a powerful way to improve the lot for underprivileged students.Your fourth ‘better question’ dances around the fact that the Bible does speak in very strong terms about homosexuality (Why just Jesus?… Though Jesus is recorded speaking of immorality in terms that include homosexuality in their definition…?). Abortion? Not directly… but to read about God’s view of infant sacrifice and value of life doesn’t leave much room for anything but vigorous defense of children. You are correct that Jesus did say a lot about wealth and poverty… he ALSO spoke about the evils of misleading people.

  • Orlandin

    I did not realize the hiring of a pastor was so intense. Wait. This is a presidential Q&A? Then what do you say we leave religion out of it? I would vote an atheist in if I thought he was competent enough to do the job. Bush showed the excess when you try to play the religion card too heavily. Telling the people that God was telling him to go to war flat out scared me. We do not need that. Plain and simple. We need a business man that will do the job.

  • Dan in Iowa

    The Church and State debate is simple… The TRUTH is that the State is to NOT dictate to the Church, now where does is say ANYWHERE that the Church should not be involved deeply in politics… As a born again Christian I am not a fan of either canidate but I do know that Obama shares NONE of my values thus he will never get my vote…

  • RightOn

    PA, I think you lost all credibility when you cited the dailykos as your news source. Such a vile Website that is so completely one sided that it can’t even be called journalism. Some how these people feel better about themselves after they spew the same level of hate speech they are opposed to. Sad how the Internet has become a place where reality is twisted by clueless people with too much money and pseudo degrees.

  • shane in canada

    As a Canadian watching this spectacle you call an election up close, I sure hope Obama wins because anywhere else in the “free world” he would win hands down and you wouldnt have had a W. for Prez.

  • jay

    Even if McCain knew the questions (that is a big if), Obama would not have answered the questions with the same worldview that McCain had answered. Obama without question would be a president like Jimmy Carter and McCain is bit of a maverick, probably more like Truman. We all know the failed presidential legacy of Jimmy Carter with high interest rates,inflation out of control, high taxes, horrendous failure in foreign affairs, and a decimation of our military.

  • Anonymous

    The Obama Campaign admitted yesterday that Barack Obama did vote against a bill as an Illinois State Senator that would have required babies born alive after attempted abortions be given life-saving care. As recently as Saturday, Obama had indignantly denied (see video) that he had or would ever have voted against such a bill. He claimed the bill he voted against was not identical to Federal Legislation he said “everyone” would support. Turns out, his campaign now admits he did vote against “identical legislation” on the Illinois state level:Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported “was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”

  • Jason Alva

    I hope we don’t have to wait for all these 65+ people to die just to have peace so that my children can have a better world to live in.

  • Lisa W

    I thought Warren’s questions were fine.And it gave me insight into Mccain and Obama.McCain cheated. He prepared answers ahead of time. Obama said he cheated by looking into the orphan thing already. ‘Cheating presidents?

  • Look at the experience

    If you had to have difficult hard life threatening surgery…would you choose a doctor that had done the surgery hundreds or maybe thousands of times and had perhaps lost many many patients due to inexperience but had LEARNED from them…Or would you take the brand new internist out of med school that had done none. I didn’t say a few. I said NONE.McCain isn’t my choice for conservative reasons…but simply he has been there and done that. When Obama fans say they want a NEW BLOOD in the stream that really scares me. I want someone that can call people that they used to work with; can negotiate and try to reach out…even if they don’t succeed. Someone who has BEEN there. Obamas limited experience simply doesn’t fly. Give him about 20 more years in office and I might vote for him…unless he turns out to be the next Ted Kennedy.America was founded and will only survive on the values talked about in Rick Warren’s questions. I don’t believe exactly as he does but his questions hit the mark. Funny about this election. I would actually like to see Barack Obama win for the RIGHT reasons…but not of them has appeared. As most Americans know when you are young you’re Democrat and when you get older you get more conservative and turn to Republican values. That gap is usually experience. Those that don’t admit that usually don’t because their parents and grandparents etc were one party or the other. We just get wiser usually as we age. It had nothing to do with religion or race or politics. We just get experienced!That being said I believe McCain looked best in this format because he is more experienced. I just with they would do a format where they both debated together so we can see how Obama does without the teleprompter. See:I’m not sure McCain would have stumbled this badly without one. Oh well…my 2 cents.

  • Dan

    Wow, so many of the comments here are mostly finger pointing or digging deeper the schism between left and right.Ultimately, we MUST remember that we are complex human beings with different ideas, values, and opinions. There is no need to attack others for having different views, it is in fact what makes our nation so unique and great!As responsible citizens, I think we need to start looking at both candidates critically, seeing which one seems most in line with our own values and visions. Not simply which one represents the political party that we usually vote for or that our family or friends vote for.

  • Little Tommy Jefferson

    Really?”Preposterous! Since when is it okay to mix religion with politics in the US??”Since Day One. It’s called the Bill of Rights.

  • Greg

    I couldn’t agree more with this column. I would, though, take it further. In recent decades we as a nation and our media seem to phrase every question against the backdrop of Christianity. I’m Christian – but don’t Jews have a voice? Muslims? Buddhists? Hindus? Agnotics? Taoists? Our Constitution should be the only litmus test: it’s what the president swears to protect and defend. The best thing for religion and politics would be a permanent separation of the two.

  • Bill in NY

    JESUS IS A LIBERAL

  • Sad American

    Haven’t we had enough of all the Bush / McCain born again Christians who do nothing but preach hate. Doesn’t McCain remember all his nasty words that were directed at Jerry Falwell a few years ago ?. Why have a political debate in a church about views of Republican conservatism. These people need to crawl back under a rock. They’re Obama’s best friends. McCain has issues !!

  • Undecided, Disgusted Voter

    As a Roman Catholic, I must say that this entire boondoggle insults me. Why are candidates for the American presidency being subjected to questions about their religious faith? Their views of evil? And so forth?I want to know how they’re going to balance the budget and pay down the 9 trillion dollar debt. I want to know what kind of foreign policy (not evangelization policy) they’re going to have. I want to know what they intend to do about our depressing infrastructure, our inner cities, our drug problem, our overcrowded prisons…The “rewritten” questions above were good, but at the end of the day, this was a foo-foo forum about cuddly-feel-good issues that have no real bearing on the future of the United States. God help John McCain if he’s the one that comes out of this foolishness “looking good.” If he’s running for Pope, I want to know what he thinks about the problem of evil; if he’s running for President, I want to know how he’s going to fix our seriously messed up government. As for Barack Obama, what was he thinking? Shame on him for even stooping to this level.No wonder our country is in such trouble. We focus on wallpaper colors while our roof leaks and our basement floods.

  • Jim

    Pastor Rick Warren did what he does best, or he wouldn’t stay the pastor of his church long. We should not have expected anything else. Either way it was a much more interesting forum than the tightly orchestrated venues that the political parties create. Could there have been better questions asked…hind site my friends produces the preponderance of brilliance in a vacuum of intellects.

  • tony

    This was blatently biased. I do not know who i will vote for because both candidates have plusses and minusses. But it was proven in that forum that obama is a one trick pony with no ability to think on his feet.

  • rosetee

    Your questions are the ones prefered by the politicians. Most politicians want “beat around the bush” kind of questions. No guts to answer in the face what they think.

  • G

    There’s nothing wrong with asking questions that your congregation wants to hear. However, it is wrong to skew the word of God and to cherry pick the bible in order to favor your own political interests. In terms of their behavior, most evangelicals are lemmings who will repeat anything their preacher tells them and fail in most cases to excersize the gift of reason that God gave them.

  • chance

    After reviewing most of these comments. I relize why this country is in dire straights. Religion is what is wrong with the world. and I mean ALL religion. Think about it….how shallowReligion belongs in the home not in a political forum!!…

  • Obviously Conservative

    It is remarkale to me that anyone would suggest that this forum was in anyway dishonest or misrepresented. This was held by one the largest Christian churches in North America. Last time I checked the vast majority of Christians hold very similar views to the ones expressed by Rick Warren. Shame on him if he didn’t address the issues that matter to his church and those affiliated under the umbrella of Conservative Christians. If Senator Obama went to this forum execting anything other then what he found, that speaks volumes about his preparedness, his political intelligence, and his ability to understand a very complex mix of voters. Just who we want to lead the nation! Don’t worry though, Senator Obama will get his fari share of softball interviews, otherwise known as mainstream media.

  • katie10

    It was perfectly clear to all who watched the Warren special why Obama will not appear in Town Halls with McCain where he has to answer unscripted questions from the audience. McCain excells in this invironment because of his long years of experience.

  • michael

    The whole night should not of even happen, but it did.Warren is one sided and closed minded. Being who he thinks he is, he should have looked at things on a larger world scale and try to take his followers to a real 21st century level, but I guess he might like the dark ages better, people like him had more fun back then. Plus, there is no EVIL,but just Positive and Negitive energies. If you think “negitive” negitve things happen and the same with positve.I always try to send positve “Chi”,and build more Karma.

  • Abolhassan Bani Sadr

    Warren should not have asked anything. He should have not been there. He should have been home asking himself “Why am I such a shameless charlatan and con artist? What am I going to do with all this money from my phoney baloney ‘book’ and isn’t the bible truly the greatest fairy tale ever told?”

  • Nick

    McCheater shouldn’t be anywhere near a church. The senile adulterer has done far more than enough to ensure a very fiery grave.

  • Keith

    Religion should not have any place in politic. “..clergy person has no business posing as political moderator…” Mr. David Water wrote.

  • Chris Stewart

    MRCGUY,Note, I said Obama is like a regular guy. Bush is the son of a President and comes from the family that owns an airport in Houston!!That said, I am not too liberal to recognize that Bush was a likeable candidate. I even contemplated voting for him in 2000. He definitely has more character than Gore and Kerry.Of course, however, Obama is smarter than Bush. He is also more willing to work across the isle (note, the forum he attended on Sat). But you are right, I would rather have a beer with Obama.

  • gpabud

    If McCain didn’t get to hear what Obama said, his staff is totally incompetent, If he did, he lied. In either case this self proclaimed hero doesn’t deserve one vote.

  • DMM

    Obama far outperformed McCain if you favor intelligent, well-thought out answers.If you prefer 40 year old stories and glib answers, McCain is your man.The one thing that surprised me is that McCain was given a complete pass on his “moral failing” answer. Do evengelicals really not care that he cheated on and deserted his crippled first wife who cared for their children during his POW years? I am sure those same people are horrified at Edward’s recent failings. Complete hypocrisy!!

  • Bill

    Just a follow-up. I am generally upset about the tenor of some of these comments. There are people on the left and right who are showing staggering intolerance here. I am most concerned about my fellow Christians who are posting unloving and unfounded remarks.Obama is a professed Christian. In this day and age, who would say they were that who was not one? It is not likely to win you many points outside of the 26% of the voters who identify themselves as evangelicals.We need to stop the slanderous remarks about Obama’s rumored affiliation with Islam. He has never been a Muslim. He is a Christian. Even so, if he were a Muslim, so what? I have voted for several candidates who seemed to be unaffected by their professed faith. Are some of you so dimwitted as to think a Muslim president would immediately implement Sharia law?But again, and loudly; Barak Obama is not a Muslim! So stop spreading lies.There can never be a “Christian nation.” There can only nations of the Earth and one Kingdom of Heaven about which even we Christians must admit we know very little.Our kingdom is not of this world.

  • theo

    mccain==double w

  • jerry rubin

    Basically after listening to the discussions, it was more then obvious that the questions were for those in the audience and at home who listened a two question – I can vote for him – assembly.There were no questions about why GWB killed innocent people as a moral issue? Or, what about those who work 2 jobs (one WalMart) and can’t afford health insurance? Or, why the EPA has changed the standards of the air quality? Or, how can we really follow the teachings of our parents and ancestors to make this world a better place for our children?But stay to your two question – I can vote for him – because your mind can’t think beyond that point.

  • Bryce, CA

    Although i love your follow up questions, or ‘better questions’, as you put it (i really did), your final thought is mislead and misses the mark. Are clergy forced to relinquish themselves solely to the walls of the church? Are they not allowed to get involved? As believers, don’t we want them involved? If you watched that debate and finalized that Warren was merely a political committee, you need to get a grip. More appropriately: really? And i mean this in all honesty…really? That’s what you concluded?

  • A Bunch of Whiners

    I have been reading up on this presidential race a lot lately and it seems like there once again is a lot of complaining and whining coming from the Democrats side. Why don’t you stop all of this and start coming up with a real plan for the country and campaign, then maybe you will get your representative elected. I can’t say I like either candidate that much, but I see nothing good coming from a Democrat president for the country as a whole in both the long and short terms. This country started religious and if people don’t like the power religion still has (AKA morals) then they can just move somewhere else. This country is a democracy, and the solution to getting your beliefs represented in the political circle isn’t in complaining about and ridiculing the majority.

  • Robocop

    OK Jon, so you wanted the questions framed in a way that the answers would be closer to your leftist view…good journalism. NOT.

  • Bill in NY

    LOL according to McCain, the middle class makes up to $4.9 million. He’s been flying in his beer wife’s private jet too long! EARTH TO McCSAME!

  • Andy Romano

    Well if this isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking at its finest. Totally second guess a man who has never done anything like this before. Cut Warren some slack, he’s never done something like this before. He’s hardly Tim Russert (RIP).

  • Mike

    Obama looked like a fool dancing around issues while McCain was short and concise. It was obvious that while Obama was tring to “woo” evangelicals by spouting rhetoric he expected them to gobble up, McCain actually answered the questions asked of him.When do infants have rights?ZINGObama is losing ground, people. And thank God for that.

  • hypeiv

    “This is a first-grade multiple-choice question. No candidate in his right (or left) mind would say anything other than “Yes, and we defeat it.”"Interesting take… I read the Bible to say that only the second coming of Christ will ultimately defeat evil. This is what it written in Revelation. Also in Matthew 13 when Jesus talks about the parable of the farmer who planted the seed then the evil one planted weeds it is later explained by Jesus that the weeds are the evil people and the master didn’t have his servants pull up the weeds because at the end of time Jesus and the Angels would. Barack’s answer that only God can defeat evil is actually more in line with what the Bible says.

  • oesy

    Some who are bitterly disappointed with Obama’s performance allege that McCain had the questions in advance.I say: That’s what Experience means—having not only the questions but also the answers in advance.It means you are ready from Day 1. You don’t have to make a lot of mistakes as you perform your On-The-Job training which, as JFK found out, could lead the nation to the brink of a nuclear conflagration.

  • m.tal

    So first it looked like Senator McCain put Rev. Warren in a mess, now it looks like maybe Rev. Warren knew McCain was not in the building when he told everyone he was in a cone of silence.from interview Sunday….

  • wrong again

    why can’t the post just report the facts, what a biased article.

  • John

    Methinks you, David Waters, failed to understand Rick Warren’s questions. Your rephrased questions #1, 2 and 3 were a different altogether.Warren’s #1 asks “How do you propose to deal with evil if you agree it exists?”Warren’s #2 asks “Should the government be able to deny faith-based organizations’ the right to hire whom they choose if the organization accepts government funds?”Warren’s #3 asks “Should teachers be paid in accordance with their abilities?”Mr. Warren asked the questions he wanted, not the one’s you (and perhaps Obama) would have liked.

  • Tommy Boy

    Barry “Above My Pay Grade” Hussain. A real genius that Obama guy!

  • MarkD

    It now appears that if the left does not like the fact that their man was shown for the inexperienced left winger he really is that it is actually the fault of the questioner.

  • Banjoe Wages

    You guys in the media have for years tried to design a “presidential debate” where the voters could learn something about the interthoughts and driving forces of the candidates. And, you have failed miserably. Here comes, of all things a pastor, and throws the curtain back. We now know more about these two than we have learned in the two years of this campaign replete with talking heads 24 7 coverage.

  • Ron

    Rick Warren…..It’s not the deed … it’s the cover up…. Why is the McCain camp all riled up ? He cheated.

  • Rapunzel

    Best format I’ve seen. Much better to ask each candidate the same questions and see how each responds than what most of us are used to — which is biased, gotcha questions.Each candidate was given the first two questions and a general outline of the other questions. McCain was quick and concise because he says what he believes and lets the chips fall where they may, one reason he has angered me on more than one occasion.Obama spends so much time pandering to keep the Move-on and Kos-Kids while trying to dance with the middle he can’t decide how to answer a straightforward question; like when does life begin… says one thing the Kos will be angered, says another he loses more of the middle. McCain received more questions to answer…. why? Because he didn’t spend half the hour going hmmmm, hawww, uhhhhhm …Obama is lost without a teleprompter, which is why he reniged on the Townhalls he stated back in May. Of course, in fairness to Obama, he did say he would be happy to do one with McCain on the evening of the 4th of July. What is Obama afraid of? I think we found out Saturday night… and now his syncophant press is trying to make McCain out to be a cheater to cover the obvious, Obama is the Manchurian candidate and just goes out to say what his handlers tell him to say…. otherwise they keep him in a bubble of photo ops and hope he doesn’t speak off the cuff.

  • Larry G

    My father was a great devotee of Matthew 25:31-46.He always asked how someone in America could possibly be what is today called a “conservative” and a Christian at the same time.

  • Chris Stewart

    McCain is a better debater than Obama. So is Hillary, John Edwards, and Joe Biden.What you have to do is listen to what people are saying. Do you really want a President that thinks the only evil in the world is Al Queda? Or do you want someone that can recognize the bigger picture?

  • Kees

    Despite all the right-wing chest beating, Senator Obama did very well in the Forum. Sure, the people in the room went with McCain, but there were many, many more people watching on TV.For those people watching, McCain was clearly an ultra-right winger (ala Geo. Bush). McCain can have the right; but no more Mr. Moderate.On the other hand, Obama looked moderate, and above all, the nonsense about a ‘Muslim’ upbringing was clearly dispelled. The Reverend essentially endorsed Senator Obama’s Christian credentials.I’d say Senator Obama had a fine day.

  • Robocop

    Maybe Warren should have asked the Democrat why he thinks spending his entire Christian life in a racist black church is OK? I was going to vote Democrat this year, but the candidate was evasive and phony, whereas the Republican candidate was direct and forthright.

  • Enculez !

    Warrens obviously cherry picked questions to McCain were just more sycophantical fodder trotted out by modern day Pharisees to further ostracize those who don’t ascribe to their brand of pseudo moralistic mind control. Nice giant church you have there…wonder how many orphans you could have fed and schooled for the cost of that monument to un abashed hubris.

  • Giantbluerobot

    So for all of you so called conservatives…If McCain is so great than why did Limbaugh and Colter both say that he was not qualified to lead as a conservative candidate? As a liberal voter I start to think that McCain aint half bad until he starts spouting his pandering to the right points of view. Obama was not in friendly waters and did a fine job of showing that he can still state points of view that are more than likely different from that of his audience, and still manage to get applause while doing so! McCain did exactly what everyone thought he would do, he gave easy answers to questions that have nothing to do with moving this country forward. Obama met the challenge, McCain had no challenge.

  • me

    The argument that people get more conservative as they age is not true in my case. I’m in my late 50′s, and the more I see of conservatives, the more liberal I get.

  • Anonymous

    “I still think a church is no place for a campaign event, and a clergy person has no business posing as political moderator.”Extemely narrow view. I think anyone could and should ask those questions. Apparently, we need to check with David to see it the questioner has the correct title. Oh yea, and the questions need to be “better”, especially with a slant to an obvious left-tilt.

  • ydoucare

    This was not a formalized debate. Rick Warren asked the cannidates to come and answer questions and they did.

  • IntifadaGirl

    Chris: Actually I can’t stand Bush either. I like Nader but since the media ultimately picks who wins, he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance. However, the “I don’t know” answer was probably the most respectable Bush ever gave. McCain would have been better off saying he didn’t know where life begins rather than point-blank “at conception” when later he defended stem-cell research. He sort of painted himself into a corner on that one.

  • BuckFushandMcClone

    Katie10, I don’t know what you’re smoking, but instead you ought to start READING!

  • oesy

    America is not a discriminating society: Where else could a minority person without a single discernable accomplishment run for president? Only in America, folks.

  • Tyler

    I’m an Obama supporter, but enjoyed the broadcast very much. I would have preferred your question of about the nature of violence to a question about the nature of evil, but wouldn’t require the pastor to phrase it that way. I’d note that Obama slam-dunked the definition of rich, where McCain stumbled around quite noticeably. Furthermore you said the education question was a no-brainer, and McCain spoke sternly to teachers, stressing that poor teachers should be let go. McCain, the pastor, and the crowd were in agreement about abortion, where Obama and I are not, but I don’t think this was unfairly highlighted, rather it was posed amicably, even with more generalized language to allow Obama to present his point. All in all, I don’t think the questions were designed to, or succeeded in presenting a lop-sided image.

  • EB JEb

    When is a politician lying? When their mouth is open and words are coming out. That is how the game is played. Obama and McCain, Clinton and Bush, Rove and Biden, Scalia and Thomas all got to their current positions by lying. They will get to their final positions by the same thing.

  • Damian

    Evangelicals are just as bad as the “Islamic terrorists” we hate so much in this country, they just use a different means of terrorism.

  • rebjava

    John McCain is a true American hero endowed with a backbone of forged steel. He may not be the most articulate man, but when he states his position on a subject, you know where he stands. Obama, conversely, uses high handed words and velveteen rhetoric to hypnotize the masses. He truly is the pied piper of the democRATS. His words, like his plans for America, are largely vacuous. You vote him in, you get what you deserve. And for a start, thats mega-taxes and foreign powers having their way with us. God speed.

  • Joan Jacobson

    The Reverend Rick Warren couldn’t ask your questions, because he knew McCain couldn’t give a Christian response without being accused of flip-flopping. McCain has made it clear he believes that, once born, everybody should be on their own, nevermind how poor, vulnerable or sick. Warren knows this not what the Bible teaches: ‘If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord–and he will repay you!’ Proverbs 19:17; [Jesus said,] ‘when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ Matthew 25:45; ‘Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone’s needs will be met.’ 2 Corinthians 8:14 In order to protect his party’s candidate, Warren had to avoid asking questions about poverty. Can you imagine any Republican, even the “Maverick,” endorsing 2 Corinthians?

  • Tom

    Regarding evil – David you say, “No candidate in his right (or left) mind would say anything other than ‘Yes, and we defeat it.’” Why then didn’t Obama say just that? Any experienced politician turns the question around to give the answer he wants to give anyway. Obama could have told us how he would “confront” (his choice not defeat) evil, but he chose to dodge the specifics as he always does.Your premise that Obama performed poorly compared to McCain because of the forum or questions is preposterous. Obama is just clearly out of touch with Judeo-Christian beliefs in the areas you have highlighted.McCain’s answers may have showed he is out of touch with whom Americans consider rich. That’s not Warren’s fault either.

  • Pete

    I agree that the mode and tenor of the questions favored McCain…with his “my friends” line, he was talking in parables, which is a method to address aa Christian audience. Did he answer the questions? no. Secondly I ask myself those who question Sen. Obama’s so called inexperience and place it in context to the 2000 elections as well as the 2004. The conservative candidate could not hold a candle to the other candidate, yet it was not enough for the conservatives. I guess you can have your cake and eat it too. Finally, neither Obama, nor McCain have ever been presidents, nor had the need to make decisions at that level, so ….been there, done that? I doubt it.All I heard was that, sadly, McCain has not brought closure to his days as a prisoner of hostile powers, and is looking for an opportunity to vindicate himself, via US global military interventions. God help the parents of those eligible for military service, should he ever be elected. We will most likely fight to “clear his honor” than about what is right for the US>

  • John Baker , Indianapolis, Indiana USA

    Gas prices and the economy are all concerns, but the greatest threat to our nation and the world is clearly Islamic terrorism. John McCain clearly showed that he is the best candidate to confront and defeat this foe. Obama showed that unless his answers are scripted he doesn’t do well. Obama met his match.

  • AHJ

    I respect for the Constitutional principles that founded the country would forebear to impose such a religious test for office, which the Constitution exoplicitly forbids. And it is not the case, as one commentator remarked, that religion is free to enter politics as much as it wants; it may not do so past the point where it influences political favor toward religion.There are very, very good reasons for the separation of these two fields, as any student of history knows. Well, except for W. who was allegedly a student of history, but missed the lessons.A

  • Gordy

    I am both an ordained minister in a conservative evangelical mainline denomination and a registered Republican, and I agree with those who said that Pastor Warren should not have moderated this event. I would never had done so because, regardless of my personal political beliefs, I believe it is both a moral and legal obligation for clergy to remain politically neutral in the execution of this office–something rarely seen in this country. I also agree that the questions were obviously biased to demonstrate what we already know, that Senator Obama has a liberal world-view. However, one thing the questions failed to demonstrate was whether or not Senator McCain is truly a conservative. They certainly showed that he is able to say what we conservatives want to hear. However, I cannot, for the life of me, get the image out of my head from a just a couple of years ago, when Senator McCain was shaking hands with Senator Kennedy after discussing the possibility of switching parties. While I certainly understand that a man can change his mind, I can’t figure out why everyone, especially conservative evangelicals, have seemingly forgotten what I consider to be an alarming chapter in the stormy career of this candidate. Being a maverick is one thing, but giving serious consideration to becoming a turncoat is something entirely different.I would like to have Senator McCain answer the following: What led you to consider switching parties a few years ago, and in light of the highly-publicized negotiations with Senator Kennedy toward that end, why should Republicans believe your conservative rhetoric today? I mean really, despite the fact that John McCain will certainly restore dignity and respect to the Armed Forces (which are desperately needed thanks to the broken promises of the current administration), I cannot believe he is the best conservative the Republican Party could put in this race.

  • Mike D.

    We need an openly atheist president. I’m sure there have been presidents in the past that have been atheist, but they’d never be elected in the first place if the masses of sheep caught wind of it.

  • Tabitha

    So McCain did his homework? That is so bad. Let me see a president who is trying to get by with no knowledge of what could be asked or someone who prepared for the event? Was this not known to them that they were going to be questioned or did they pull them off the street?

  • Don in Johnstown Pa

    Thanks for the thoughtful piece Dave. I prefer your questions and tend to agree with your conclusion. Let’s face it – the whole thing was a carefully calculated cynical contrivance. So much so that it reminds me of a line from an Aldous Huxley poem: “But man, proud man, most ignorant of what he is most assured, plays such tricks upon the high heavens as to make the angels weep.”

  • Chris Stewart

    Rapunzel,You are right McCain is a better debater than Obama. But are his ideas better? Was the merit of his answers better?I think not. Evil = Al Queda, come on! And what is so wrong with “I don’t know when life begins.” Honestly when I am before the pearly gates, I pray that I have the humility not to answer questions that only God knows the answer to. Note, I am not faulting McCain for his answer. I am saying there is nothing wrong with Obama’s.

  • Herschel Smith

    Dumb post. Warren asked the questions important to him and his church, not you and yours. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if you want to pose your own questions to a TV audience, then go build you own mega-church. Until then, you’re just showing how small you are.

  • CD

    I’m not a big supporter of McCain, and am absolutely a non supporter of the Democrats or Obama. But, Yes, McCain cleaned his clock. I can say one thing about McCain: He has intergrity! And yes, his Country comes first. No doubt about it!

  • Superguy

    So in other words the pastor could have centered the questions on what would make Barak Osama look better instead of simply asking the questions he actually wanted answers to. Although it was the last thing anyone would have expected that fact is, Barak got handed his hat soundly by John McCain and now everyone and there mother are desperately attempting to find excuses for Barak’s poor performance. Fact of the matter is America hasn’t been given a good choice for their commander and chief in nearly 30 years; they’ve simply been forced to vote for the candidate that stunk less. McCain is too old and a flip flopper and Barak is a inexperienced racist and a flip flopper. They both suck so we as the American people will lose either way it goes. John McCain did very well. I would give props to Barak if it had been the other way around so you should at least have the decency to give John McCain the credit he deserves. Good day to you all.

  • Erik Latranyi

    If the forum was biased, why didn’t Obama have the intelligence to decline the invitation?Obama has declined many debate forums, including those proposed by McCain, so he was free to walk away from this one.If McCain heard Obama’s answers, why were his answers shorter? You would think McCain would have taken Obama’s points apart. Instead, McCain answered directly and quickly.Those alleging McCain heard Obama’s answers sound like sore losers. They should be upset with Obama’s performance.

  • JohnM

    I resent religion being brought into politics. This discussion should have never been held. Separation of church and state is a bedrock of our nation, as opposed to all the middle east nations we know and love. I’m an equal opportunity religion despiser and will vote for the candidate who shows the -least- kowtowing towards it. It’s regretful that a political candidate cannot tell voters that religion is not relevant to the office.

  • DB

    The event was good. We saw the candidates answer questions. The Obama camp has to be disappointed that the old man made their man look bad. Obama is vague, can’t find the words and tries to talk over America. The Obama elites loves this- to an average American his armour is getting thinner and thinner. He will get eaten alive in the debates- even with flaming arrow questions- to embarrass McCain (all about how bad W is and the Republicans) and Obama will get sweeping ‘tell us again how you will make everything wonderful”.It won’t work. Sorry you are going to lose another election!

  • Dave

    I can’t stand evangelicals. I would love to answer Warren’s questions myself. He would not like them. I like Jesus, but I don’t like most people who think they worship him.What happend to separation of church and state?

  • MikeinPhilly

    Keep in mind that “Christianity” for many (especially the “Christian right”) is mainly political rhetoric and a political brand, not a belief in the principles espoused in the sermon on the mount.

  • Roger

    Obama again showed that he is (1) out of touch with most Americans and (2) He does not know much about world issues or American issues. He is the least experienced candidate to ever run for the top office. He didn’t even know that Russia was in the UN security council.

  • Eric

    I didn’t see the forum but have read lots. I didn’t see it because I’m not interested in chosing a pastor or where to go to church. I have a good idea of what conservative Christians want to hear. Everyone else is wrong and they all are right. Save all the babies (anti-abortion as I am)but kill all the criminals (pro death penalty which I am not). To me this is an oxymoron. Either you want to kill or you don’t. Anyhow, these marketing forums don’t provide any useful information about the candidates and how they will perform as our employees. As one person said on their comment, where is my old friend Tim Russert. There’s a person I would vote for. I think both candidates have integrity but Obama appears more thoughtful (as in thinks things through) and more intellegent (as in better decision making process). I’m not much for jokes like bombing Iran. My feeling is most Iranians just want a good life. They have criminals just like we do, but their government has many more that don’t just want money. They want to own the people by owning the religion of their people. Why would McCain want to kill them? He’s out of his mind.

  • Buddesatva

    How many politicians can dance on the head of a pin?

  • Anonymous

    Rapunzel — good point about the format Saturday night. Now we know why Obama doesn’t want to have townhall meetings with McCain. McCain will clean his clock. Every time.

  • Doug

    the premise of this article is simply preposterous. if you have such deep seated problems with the questions being asked of the candidates by Rick Warren then why don’t you ask them yourself? (in your own venue and on your own dime).

  • undecided

    Very biased reporting. You offered “better questions”, but that doesn’t mean that they’re “better”…perhaps just “better” from your perspective. I’m an undecided, NON-evangelical American and I think the pastor’s questions “best” reflect the thoughts and concerns of his audience.

  • BUNCHOFSHEEP

    I have some advice for some of the people posting…This includes you James Swanson:1. Learn how to type properly.Looking at some of these posts I realize how we get in this mess as a country; because people like Mr. Swanson don’t research a thing for themselves and just judge the candidates based upon what the media says.Why don’t you look up their records as Senators and see what they’ve actually voted for or against rather than just being one of the millions of blind sheep in America.The infamous Karl Rove once said and I paraphrase, “Once people become educated they vote democratic.”Too bad more people aren’t researching for themselves.Here comes 1984.

  • James

    I think, since he is a Pastor, he should have asked questions like:1. Will God judge us for not helping the poor no matter how we do it?2. Will God judge us for killing the least of us (babies)?3. Although God loves Gays will he judge us for condoning to thier lifestyle.

  • Toeser

    I am not into evangelism, nor do I attend any church, so I don’t wish to see conservative Christians in charge of the political process. But, this forum was far better for weighing the two candidates than anything I have seen come out of the mainstream media.

  • gwn

    Rick Warren should have asked the very questions he asked. If David Waters wants his questions put to these two, let him do it himself. One of the great things about this event was hearing two candidates answer the same questions without being privy to how the other answered. This revealed something about these men that debates tend to squelch. I, for one, appreciated what each had to say and am thankful for Rick Warren’s putting it together and sharing it with America. Obama and McCain seemed to appreciate it as well.

  • Libba

    I am astounded at the churlishness of the media who–when faced with a better-than-expected performance by the candidate they don’t support–critize the moderator for his questions and accuse the candidate of deceitful behavior.Personally, I did not care for the religious venue. I am not a churchgoer but I place a high premium on fairness and respect. To impugn the integrity of all other participants, when the favored candidate’s performance did not live up to expectations, is childish and reprehensible.

  • David K Fuller

    I read a dozen or so of these comments. I can tell most of the readers are libs. If this was a test and McCain won, then Obama is a loser. This is plain and clear. Do we need to change the questions around for him to understand? Obama is a left wing Marxist who will do huge measures of damage to this country. Why would any of you like this. I would say many of you must hate your country!

  • Rev. Betty Grace McCollum

    As a minister, professor of religious studies in a college and a member of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, I agree with the author of this article. I am uneasy when a member of the clergy performs as a questioner concerning politics. Of course ministers and all religious persons have political concerns, but they should involve themselves as individuals not as part of the institution of the church. We have in the First Ammendment a guarantee of separation of church and state.

  • DEIST

    “OBVIOUSLY CONSERVATIVE”, you wrote:

  • McCain’s great grandchild

    DB — that’s pretty funny. The only thing that would make Grandpa McCain look good is a very heavy dose of makeup. He stuck to the political lines that his campaign manager told him to repeat. Obama, on the other hand (and completely unlike McCain), demonstrated that he is highly intelligent and thinks deeply about things. McCain just thinks, “what line did they tell me to say in response to a question like this?” then he just parrots it.

  • bolaria

    It worries me that giving thoughtful complex answers that consider an issue from both sides is considered “weak” while just repeating a shallow mantra, not taking into account the question asked, is viewed as a quality we want in our leader. Hell, anyone can do that. Watch – DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW! SUPPORT THE TROOPS! (Bolaria 2008!)

  • gary from socialist canada lol

    Hello.The point is moot….there is no god.It’s funny how the Yanks think…they use the constitution,and bill of rights to their advantage ie. the right to have a gun (AK 47?)McCain is a “damaged” candidate….5 years in pow camp made him …let’s be honest here…a bit of a hot headed religous freak. Bush found religion in a bottle/line of coke and now McCain found jebus (homer simpson) in a POW camp.America… the whole world is watching….we all hate bush, cheney and the rest of the war mongers (republicans).And where does rick warren get of callng himself a doctor.I was just told he got it online from one of those nasty christian colleges…not actually a PHD or MD or anything recognized by accredited colleges or universities.he’s a faud just like dobson, robertson and that ilk.By the way CANADA is the best country in the world not the usa.

  • Robocop

    The president should not say “that’s above my pay grade” about any simple question of opinion. It’s the most important job in the world, so the Democrat really messed up there.

  • twilliam

    He did a fine job with his questions. Your questions are are typical liberal gobbledeegoop that helps no one determine who they want to vote for. Difference between need and greed: Let’s have three blanks on our 1040 1) What I made; What I think I need; subtract the big from the small and tax me 100% of my greedy part or send me a check if I need more than I make…That should do it…or instead of saying tax the Rich and not know what rich means on our 1040…The IRS doesn’t give a cr*p where you live…

  • Lois in Oakland

    Your questions were better. But better yet would have been questions most citizens want to know. If you ask a question about gay marriage, you might want to ask a question about divorce. The best question ever would have been how are you different than the current administration regarding

  • CA Republican

    Regarding abortion, Obama Hussein commented, “this is a moral and ethical issue”, I wish he’d elaborated. Let’s see, morally is it better to help a woman inconvenienced by having to bear a baby, or is it better to bring that baby’s life into this world? The woman can vote for him, end of discussion.When Darfur was mentioned, both quickly rolled past the issue. There’s genocide going on there. Just like Hitler did in Europe. Why doesn’t anybody take a stand and do something about this?

  • Ian

    Very thoughtful analysis, although your first question was just as much a setup as anything Warren came up with. In true faith of course, there are no alternate views. You later present several good arguments for what is truly the Christian view. Therefore it is not rational to later say that there are other truly Christian views, since religious faith is based on what believers hold as one eternal truth.But we need to ask why the interview happened at all. I would like propose to you that Rick Warren was also working on his national image in that broadcast. His questions were meant to position him as a national spokesman for religious conservatives, so asking him to get inclusive and bring in “alternate” views is just not realistic.

  • dick bohanon

    any one still voting for republicans at this point remind me of a line from “animal house”

  • Emmanuel

    I believe John ‘Where’s My Cane?’ should have stuck to answering the questions instead of telling stories. I want a president that has answers and not geriatric bedtime stories.

  • cry me a tear

    Gee I’d never guess the Washington Post would pick the Q&A apart like that…..get over it.

  • TIM

    David,You are getting great responses from your comments, however I don’t think you represented the questions accurately.1)The first question elicited comments from both candidates about the numerous “evil” things happening around the world and the US response to those is all four of the multiple choice answers dependind on the regions in question. Iraq and Darfur are total opposite reactions. I think all of us want to know if the future President will be consistent.2)Religious Organizations have a right to a share of any gov’t funds set aside for assisting people. I do agree with you that all religious organizations can and should be called to a higher level of response in this area.3)The teacher pay question was specific about “merit” pay, not just a pay increase. The teachers unions have consistently rejected any performance pay system and as a result, mediocre teachers are paid the same as excellent teachers. There should be a grading system for teachers and those who are failing should get out was the response from both candidates.4)Rich and Poor was in the context of where is the gov’t definition, not the religious. Dems want the “Rich” to pay more so the gov’t will have more to share with others.. The Reps want the “Rich” to pay less so they will have more to create jobs and grow the economy. It was a great question so I know where I fit in to the future gov’t catagories for taxes.

  • BWM

    Robocop writes: “Maybe Warren should have asked the Democrat why he thinks spending his entire Christian life in a racist black church is OK? I was going to vote Democrat this year, but the candidate was evasive and phony, whereas the Republican candidate was direct and forthright.” Ah yes, Robocop, and I’m the Tooth Fairy. It sounds like you were completely undecided before the forum. Do you think people are stupid enough to believe your lie?

  • W.W.D.D

    What happened to seperation of church and state. How about not worrying about what a good “Christian” would do and worry about what a good person would do…Why don’t people get there head out of the book, and come back to reality?

  • Jay

    What a bunch of sore, pathetic, and narrow-minded people. You can’t even except the fact that Obama has no experience, no real substance, and especially, no Character. You blame his inadequacies on everything and everyone except the one who deserves the blame. I realize that is the way of the liberal. You’re afraid of church, Christians, and God. It’s sad to read these worthless comments. McCain didn’t cheat. He answered the questions from experience, maturity, and with passion. You may as well get use to the fact that Obama can’t speak with out a teleprompter or someone feeding him the answers. He’s an empty suit, a fake. No wonder he doesn’t want to meet McCain in Town Hall meetings. He can’t win!

  • Mike

    Don’t read comments on the internet–a tip.

  • Mrjoelv

    Hello David,

  • Anonymous

    Now we know why Obama thought it was above his paygrade to answer the abortion question.He knew that he’d been caught lying about his abortion record. He has said for months that he did not vote to withhold aid to babies born alive after an attempted abortion. But he now admits the Republicans have portrayed his voting record in this matter correctly.I think abortion is a hugely difficult issue for him to face squarely because he knows how repugnant his vote on that partial birth abortion legislation was, but there’s no going back and re-doing the vote. Now he just has to hope Americans are gullible and believe his past lies about this.

  • The Happy Heretic

    It’s all a waste of time anyway. There is no god. Religion is just a perpetuation of superstitious beliefs that is passed from generation to generation by parents to their children through brainwashing, coercion, and societal and peer pressure. Remove a child from any religious influence, teach him or her critical and rational thinking skills while instilling a solid background in the sciences, and this child would think that such beliefs are silly and without support. I am so glad that I discovered science and the realized the utter stupidity of “faith.”Maybe we should ask the candidates these questions:1) Numerous species of animals including our closest genetic relatives, the bonobo chimps, practice homosexual behavior. Given the fact that such behavior is a natural variant of sexuality, much in the same way left-handedness is a natural variation, how can you justify discrimination and the assertion that this behavior is a conscious choice?2) Many higher order species of animals exhibit sentient behavior, and many have complex social structures. For example, elephants will visit the bones of deceased family members and caress the bones, in a form of mourning. Such behavior supports the development of “morality” from natural laws that have evolved through time. Given this evidence, how can you disprove that “morality” is not a product of evolution? I can go on and on … but why bother. The mindless masses, brainwashed to believe in deities, spirits, snakes in gardens, etc., wouldn’t listen anyway. George Orwell was right: 2 + 2 does equal 5 to them.

  • Jack

    I missed Candidate Obama, and hope to catch his responses later if there is an opportunity.It was reported that Candidate Obama responded that deciding when a person is conceived and has rights is above his “pay grade”. That is a very surprising answer giver the Candidate’s strong defense of the underprivileged, and the retoric he uses in his campaign seeking to be the moral leader of the United States and world. Perhaps Candidate Obama was misquoted or more likely did not intend to sound so affirmatively in favor of Abortion. If Candidate Obama really believes in his heart that Abortion is a good that is to be supported then he will need satan’s help and all his devils to win the election. If he sould succeed then God help the rest of us. Jack

  • BuckFush

    David Fuller, do you really think that Obama or liberals hate the country more than it is hated by the current president and his administration, who have bastardized and trashed the constitution beyond all recognition?

  • hope

    mc cain is not my friend and I wish he would stop calling me one. I’m 70 and can recite mccains stories by heart. No wonder he sound so fast on his feet they are the same stories he has been recited for forever.

  • Craig

    Here’s what our founding fathers had to say about this:”…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”U.S. Constitution: Article VIThey knew the dangers of theocracies, because it was fresh in their minds when they wrote this.

  • tj

    David Waters is an idiot — whatever happened to free speech “liberals” like him say is so important — only if he agrees with it!? So that’s where we are headed —check out San Francisco –we’re already there– if it weren’t for “location” SF wouldn’t succeed in spite of itself like it does now.

  • robt

    All this whining from the Oscama camp – can these people possibly participate just once in anything that doesn’t turn into a crying fest.Maybe Oscama didn’t come off as well as McCain for the very same reasons he has refused to do any other unscripted debates (like the 10 town hall meeting McCain wanted) – for the very simple fact is that, when speaking extemporaneously, Oscama sounds like an imbecile.

  • XDEM

    BUNCHOFSHEEP – I voted with the Democrats most of my life. After the second term of Clinton and the mess of Socialists that the Dems have been putting up. It will be a long time before I can vote for another Dem.But in America it is your right to keep drinking the kool-aid.I will add you to my prayers.

  • Frankie

    Religious Nut Jobs!I follow Jesus’ Religion. He didn’t have one. He had a relationship with his father and did not need to go to a church to show off or make millions. Jesus never preached in a church Jesus was only a Jew but by blood not religion. Jesus never had a religion and neither do I!

  • Cal

    Well of course the questions were leading…the whole thing was a setup. McCain was fed the questions and Obama’s answers and Warren was in on it the whole time.

  • Retired Michigander

    This forum was the first time I felt like I knew where these two candidates really stand on some of the issues. I appreciate that it was done. After more such forums, I will search my heart and my life experience to decide how I will vote. We should all quit complaining and absorb all the information we can before we decide who we want for our next President.

  • Spencer

    Obama was more prepared, both canidates already knew 2 questions that would be asked but Obama learned of a third question that McCain did not, and still failed miserably.The American people are finally waking up to the real Marxist Obama and what he thinks and plans to do to our great nation.If you like socialism, gas rationing, food shortages, and the like then please keep screaming GO OBAMA!If you want to be a TRUE AMERICAN vote libertarian or Republican, other wise just move to France, Please!

  • Cecil Nims

    The writer of this article wants to rewrite history, as most liberals do, but the fact remains that Obama chose to attend this forum. And since Obama professes to be a Christian, having attended a Christian church for 20 years or so, then the questions posed to each man are proper and fit for both the candidates and the audience. Obama did not do as well as McCain, so live with it Mr. Waters.

  • Mark

    “Its not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is acually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiams, the dreat devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”Teddy Roosevelt April 23, 1910David Waters, you are one of the critics to which our great President Teddy Roosevelt referred. I am continually amazed at what they call journalism at what I thought were prestigious media organizations. Why in the world would you expect anything different than what happened given the place and moderator? It was at one of the largest Christian churches in the nation led by one of the most beloved Christian figures in the nation. Do you honestly believe that there should have been “alternative Christian” views? The whole point of the candidates agreeing to this forum was that the Christian vote is an important one this election year and they wanted to address the concerns of Christian America. It is quite amazing that you can not see that.

  • ftledi

    Be sure to watch the interview prior to commenting.If you did watch you will have noticed:McCain – canned speechObama – intelligent conversation and introspect* What was the purpose of McCain even showing up?

  • RadianChalant

    McCain lies too, people. I am a Christian and I lie, mainly to preserve peace. I pray for forgiveness. We all lie. Even Rich Warren lied in his own church, stating that John McCain was in a room where he could not hear what was going on. Did he not check to see if the two presidential candidates were there before starting the town hall meeting? McCain was in his car. There was something fishy about this meeting. Barack got the shaft. Barack’s one answer threw me about abortion, about being above his pay grade. Maybe in days to come we will find out what he meant by that. We need help in this country. I do not want a soldier running it. Barack will surround himself with great people and he will make a good president. Barack for president.

  • Erik Latranyi

    If you believe religion has no place in politics, you should vote against Barack Obama.1) He went to this religious forum voluntarily. Therefore, he is OK with mixing religion and politics.2) He wants to extend Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative program.

  • MIke MD

    Of course McCain did better in this conservative forum than Obama; he is more conservative. Only a fool would think that a significant number of conservative evangelicals would vote for Obama. If we had a forum at XYZ State University, Obama would clean McCain’s clock. What this forum did was show that McCain is clearly pro life; a long-standing stance for him but a flag that he has not been waving as he tries to attract the middle of the road voter. How any Evangelical can back a candidate who has been divorced is beyond me.

  • Anonymous

    It was difficult not to feel pity for Obama when he was asked who his advisors would be and he answered “my wife and grandmother”.

  • Bruce, Colorado Springs

    Interesting how low the public discourse can be, especially referring to Christian thinking. Example, “democRATS”, in a comment that includes “God speed” to McCain. Neither God nor Christ would appreciate the nasty language used by many of both parties. Frankly, I think those involved should be ashamed. Instead, some of you are hiding behind the Bible to defend your nastiness to your fellow man.

  • McCain’s great grandchild

    Jay, you have it exactly backwards. It has been well publicized that McCain, who has very poor speaking ability, is sticking to a script written by his new campaing manager. Whatever you have against Obama and liberals is clearly blinding you to reality.

  • Lililangtree

    Joe Terasinko: Does it also cover war and capital punishment? Or is that too inconvenient?

  • B.R.

    The Questions by David Waters has some points about the questions that were asked, but I think most the questions he offered we leading the candidate in a direction without many clear cut answers.Why shouldn’t of this happened? This clearly shows freedom of choice. There are enough Evangelical’s that wanted to see it, and the Candidates wanted to reach them. Therefore the event took place. How should this not have happened? The fact that this is America and we have freedom and that demand drives things to happen is why this took place. Remember, Separation of Church and State meant to the founder fathers that the Government will not pass laws for or against a Church. This means you can’t Prosecute it in a courtroom, and tell them to stop doing something. Once you do so, you are now involved and no longer Separated. Because if the Church doesn’t stop you’ll have to incarcerate. That means the Government is no longer separated from the Church. I know it is hopeless, I’m just confused why so many people miss this fact.

  • Fed Up

    If the churchesw are going to continually stick there preaching noses into the realm of politics, and influence every aspect of the lives of people who don’t ask for their opinion, then they can start to pay some taxes on the billions of dollars they are “given” every year as well as the land and property that they own and use to make money.Religion in this country is not only pathetic, but it is used to influence decisions of the governement in harmful and non-popular ways. This whole debate, or question and answer, or whatever you want to lable it, was such a sad showing of what religion is really abotu in this country: sitting behind the scenes and sticking it’s nose into areas it isn’t supposed to. These churches are a joke, and are truly trying to brainwash people to alter elections and hammer their own agenda through government bodies.

  • Keith

    I can’t count how many times Rick Warren has said, “Christianity is about having a relationship with Christ,” yet everyone says Senator McCain blew Senator Obama away. Did John McCain sound to you like a man who has a relationship with Christ? It sounded to me like John McCain either thought he was Christ himself, or speaks directly on Jesus Christ’s account.

  • Dan

    The evil question was a good question. What suprized me is that Obama gave the correct answer (at least according to the Bible) but McCain is viewed as having won the question.McCain gave a nice simple snappy answer but the Bible says repeatly to let God deal with evil.It appears that some people need to go back and see what the Bible says and not what they want it to say.

  • Anonymous

    In a CNN interview Warren said both candidates were given the first question in advance to help ease some of the tension. That first question was the one about naming three wisest people he would seek advice from as President. Obama chose his wife and Grandmother. Even when he knew the question he blows it with this stupid answer.

  • Will D.

    This ‘Saddleback Forum’ has no place in our politics. What’s next? A hare krishna forum? A Sikh forum? A Wiccan Forum? Religious beliefs belong in the home. End of story. This Christian non-sense about America being a ‘Judeo/Christian’ nation is false. This country was founded on the philosophical bedrock of the age of enlightenment. The Saddleback forum was nothing more than the hope that they can re-write american history. Well they can go to their own hell over my dead body.

  • WB

    I’m cynical when it comes to evangelicals – but I believe your article presents exactly the kind of complicated Christian concepts that is lost on the evangelical masses. Their Christianity is all about feel-good easy to consume morals. As an example, “we need to defeat evil through force” is not exactly something I can imagine Jesus saying. The questions the journalist asks are spot-on.

  • Lee

    I admit I haven’t watched this yet. I had a good reason: Attending class at seminary. You bet we were all recording this event. It’s on my Tivo, and I’ll watch at some point, but I was uncomfortable that it happened at all. Say that I had been the moderator. As a progressive Christian on the liberal side, had I asked the questions it’s possible that McCain may have come out looking not so good. My own perspective and the tenets of my own faith would have entered the mix, like it or not. So to have a forum in a particular faith setting automatically will make one of the candidates look bad either way. It’s a given. As much as I’m personally interested in the candidates’ faith journey, I wish things like this would stop. Elsewhere, I read in another article about a woman attendee to the forum saying Obama was a Muslim. It scares me how black and white things are to some people, no pun intended. The president could be an atheist for all I care, I just want him or her to help us get the country back on course.

  • Tom Bates

    Evengalism isn’t even a real religion. Hillary 2012!

  • Casey

    @Anonymous:Funny how the self-righteous morality police are always anonymous when they post, isn’t it?In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination. –Mark TwainOrganized Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founder’s than any other agency in the world. –Richard Le GallienneChristianity has not conquered nationalism; the opposite has been the case nationalism has made Christianity its footstool. –Arthur KeithAnd finally, one of my all time favorites:The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion. –Arthur C. Clarke

  • Andrew

    Mike said, “Don’t read comments on the internet — a tip.” While I may agree on some levels, if someone were to read your advice and follow it, wouldn’t it be taking the advice of some comment on the internet? Just a humorous point of irony I thought.

  • Daniel

    This is no place, no place at all for a campaign event. RELIGION AND POLITICS SEPARATED. Neither side can benefit from that relationship, but one side can lose, and lose out big. We cannot stop human nature, and when politics and religion find a relationship in the public eye, power-holders will do their best to take advantage of the newly recognized force now possible in their realm. It is bad for religion, it is bad for politics, THINK. Think objectively.

  • Gina

    Hello,

  • Stella

    Personally, I am getting sick of McCain’s “me-me-me… listen to what happened to me… let me tell you a story about me… I have so much to say about me” style. It is odd, how Americans say that they don’t like arrogance and self-absorbtion in their presidents, yet really fall for McCain who cannot stop talking about himself (with much more pomp and less humility than Obama, I dare say), as opposed to addressing the issues facing us all, as a country – showing with deeds and not with words that it is “country first” for him indeed.

  • Doug

    Once again we have a poster who doesn’t understand the difference between executing a violent murderer and aborting a baby. If you don’t understand the difference, don’t expect me or anyone else to be able to explain it to you.

  • Curious

    I am curious why Obama agreed to this debate, but has rejected the proposed town hall, open PUBLIC forums suggested by McCain…

  • Renee

    Yes, the Lord said abortion is wrong, and yes, Jesus DID talk about homosexuality. God said it is an abomination to Him, and Jesus IS God, so yes, Jesus did speak about it being wrong. Y’all must read your Bibles! God’s Word is the ONLY authority for life, and if you go against it, then you are NOT a Christian. Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-25 So, people, there it is! Jesus said that you do not love Him unless you obey His Word! You can’t get any more “clear as day” than that!

  • S.R. Blair

    Your questions are better than Warren’s, “better” meaning they contain no built in biases. Sure, Warren’s questions were soft pitches, going so far to ask McCain this piercing question about Georgia: “what’s that all about?”. But, what Obama did-to his detrmiment- was to stick with Warren’s script. McCain, unlike Obama, answered the questions HE wanted, spicing them up with self promoting examples and anecdotes. McCain was the better politician. In a democracy, like it or not, we elect politicians, not good conversationalists. Do we like them? Trust them? Would we rather have a beer with them? This WAS a level playing field, except that Obama played strictly by Warren’s rules, and McCain added his own. The irony is that gaffe prone McCain taught Obama how to be a better communicator in the pit called politics. Either Obama learns the lesson, or he loses the election. I have been an Obama supporter from day one.

  • Dean N

    Forgive my naiveté, but how can someone claim to be pro-life and say they will support pro-life policies, but also support 4,300 Americans being killed in a war with no purpose? Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s who have died in this baseless war.Do these so-called evangelical Christians only think pro-life relates to abortion? How come they overwhelmingly voted for Bush, when as governor of Texas, he condemned more people to state-sponsored death via lethal injection than any governor ever?If someone is pro-life, they should be appalled by the death of any living person, at the hands of another person. I believe McCain will prove to be the least pro-life president in modern times. He will personally cause more people to be killed than any president, with his fascination with bombing anyone he disagrees with.

  • gene

    Jesus said keep my fathers commandments. Only a lib or an idiot would not see “that thou shalt not kill” allpy’s to abortion.

  • Vaughn

    Isn’t it just a bit presumptuous to insist that Warren should have asked the questions you would have preferred?Of course the environment was favorable to McCain; his platform throughout this campaign has been more in line with this group’s priorities, for better or for worse. Are you saying Obama shouldn’t have to answer their questions? He certainly had the opportunity to make the points you outlined.What we have is a constituency that you seem to disagree with pretty fundamentally, which is fine. But you’re saying that because Obama can’t answer their questions in a way that is both true to his worldview and satisfactory to theirs, that the questions are unfair? If you think it inappropriate to address evangelical Christians on their terms as a political constituency, then that’s your point of view, and fair enough (though the folly of such an approach should be self-evident regardless of whether or not you agree with these folks). But who are you or I to tell them what should be important to them? And is that really a thoughtful position?

  • Stu

    It’s sort of funny to have a political debate in a church setting. Since the government is supposed to be unbiased towards any religion I guess they’ll go debate in a mosque next? Not likely. The christian vote can be a huge boost for a candidate so it makes sense that this question period would happen. Just sort of funny that anyone would expect either candidate to do anything other than pander to the audience. Sort of a waste of effort IMO. If you want honest answers, don’t select a venue with an audience of a fairly single mindset. Pack the room with people from all religions and ask the same questions. Then you’ll hear some less tailored responses and get a better idea of how they really feel. This was like putting them in front of an audience full of cheese makers and asking them if they like cheese. You know how they are going to respond and it’s irrelevant because of the context.

  • Christopher London

    Christian voters across the country are smarter than anyone gives will give them credit for. Rick Warren’s Saddleback forum seemed by design to allow McCain and his Team Rove to burnish his Christian credentials. This should have been called the “Sandbag” Forum. Outside of this forum what independent minded voters saw was one candidate, Obama, trying to have an earnest dialoque, without talking points lifted from campaign speeches while the other candidate, McCain, pandered to the forum giving campaign talking points, most of which he does not believe, but is now mouthing because he has Karl Rove behind his campaign. Earnest people have a real problem with John McCain. They see him as completely lacking a core. This is the same McCain who in 2000 referred to Christian leaders as “Agents of Intolerance.” Furthermore, how Christian minded is it for the advantaged few of us who have 8 homes and a wife worth nearly $100 million dollars, to turn the other cheek and remain indifferent towards all the middle class home owners being foreclosed upon all across America. McCain’s war stance will continue to bankrupt this nation and that is frankly immoral. Under McCain, the middle class is left to sink under indifferent free market principles while we engage in military adventureism around the world to the tune of hundreds of billions per month. Now that is truly insane.

  • Bruce, Colorado Springs

    How can you go so low as to say “If you want to be a TRUE AMERICAN vote libertarian or Republican”.Do we want public discourse to be in the toilet?Name-calling is not helping this country.

  • Onaeb

    For today’s thinker all religions are modern-dayHow can people be so proud to be led around by another’s thoughts, statements, stance?

  • Kathy

    Wow Mr. David Walters, bang up jog of twisting Christian doctrine into liberal indoctrination. bet that took you more than a couple of hours.

  • Greg L.

    When Bill Moyers asks this kind of stuff, it’s brilliant and profound. What’s the difference?Now you know how Reublican candidates feel in most interviews.

  • Buck

    Once again, the drive-by media (Washington Post particularly) is crying in their beer … since their “favorite son” was whipped by the “next George W. Bush”.

  • Peach

    How can Obama possibly defend this? It’s despicable.In 2001, Senator Barack Obama was the only member of the Illinois senate to speak against a bill that would have recognized premature abortion survivors as “persons.” The bill was in response to a Chicago-area hospital that was leaving such babies to die.

  • J60

    You’ve got to be kidding me! I’ve never seen so many sour grapers come out of the woodwork at once over something so obvious in a long, long time. Warren’s presentation was on of the best, common sense approaches to letting these two men speak that I’ve seen yet! Anyone who watched had to be impressed with the non-confrontational forum and the very basic, get-to-know-you line of questioning that was made. These weren’t Rick Warren questions, they were questions sent in by people from across the country. Each candidate had ample, unpressured time to answer each question in his own method and with his own values prominently on display. What more could you want, except maybe another, similar round?

  • oilthepoil

    The debate is very interesting. Will the next debate be held in a synagouge or only Christians are allowed to vote in the upcoming presidential election? As a non-Christian, I find this whole debate a complete waste of time. I believe many of those of us who are not Christians would find this pandering for the evangelical vote very demeaning. Come on let’s discuss the really important issues, like joblessness, housing, fuel prices, etc. These are the issues that matters.

  • Fast Eddie

    Are you sure a question that begins, “As Christians, how should we…” is better than the one Warren (or Pastor Rick as Barack kept calling him) asked? I’m sure the “we” is not synonymous with “Americans,” since that would mean the author thinks this is a “Christian nation.” And could it possibly be suggesting that Christians should interject their understanding of a faithful response and consider imposing it on the country? Even if it’s just being persuasive about it, shouldn’t there be a better justification than it’s the “Christian thing to do?” After all, New Testament models of people confronted with such a choice, such as Jesus or Stephen, aren’t particularly helpful. When confronted by those who wanted to kill them, they willingly let them.

  • STILTON

    The Constitution guarantees separation of Church and State through the Bill of Rights. Having two presidential candidates defer to Rev. Rick Warren by answering his questions was a personal choice each made by their faith alone.Obama’s pay grade remark reflects a sense of humor everyone missed. It’s not up to him to decide when life begins and he knows it. His response said as much. His pay grade meant he as a lowly human being, e.g. not God. Sorry that most everyone missed the humor in it. I thought it was pretty funny.The Right Wing frothing at the mouth as a reaction to his comment shows how despicably, blindly devoted to the dwindling Big Tent party they really are. Except that anyone who is paying attention knows the Big Tent party excludes Hispanics, Blacks, and the poor. Alas, there’s no room in The Big Tent anymore, what with all the white-haired Anglo money men and all. See, the Tent isn’t so big anymore, and everyone knows it (except the GOP, who knows it but pretends it’s not true).Dig a little deeper and you can see the hypocrisy of (supposedly) conservatives in the GOP; people like Sen. Ted Stevens (a liar and a thief), Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed (also a liar and thief), Rep. Mark Foley (homosexual with pedophillic tendencies), Rev. Ted Haggard (homosexual meth addict), Sen. Larry Craig (random homosexual philander) and even Sen. John McCain himself (an adulterer)…yeah, those are values I can get behind! Cheating, lying, thieving, homosexual adulterers! This from the self-described party of Family Values! Isn’t it obvious that power has corrupted them to their core? That power fuels their transgressions, and in this case their transgressions are the worst of the lot. My two cents: the GOP will never even get near the levers of power again since they can no longer be trusted, if they ever were to be trusted to begin with. Blame your boy Bush for blowing your cover.The media sure give McCain a free pass over his affair with Cindy while he was still married to his handicapped wife & three children, though. That I will say. And Rick Warren could’ve followed up McCain’s response that his first marriage was a mistake he regretted with some more pointed questions about his infidelity, but didn’t. So what’s that say about Rick Warren?

  • questions not answered

    Freedom of religion – but also freedom FROM religion. Those who attempt to impose their faith on others through laws…well…history is full of those stories of fallen empires. Forget the questions – the American People have abdicated their democracy but not voting, by not asking questions, and by not insisting that our children be educated and fed. A starving child in American, the land of the plasma TV should be a crime to all of us.

  • Jay

    Gabe, RELIGION HAS NO PART IN POLITICS OR GOVERNMENT!!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!I will gladly, as a Christian, give up my voice in politics and government, as long as the government refund all the money it has confiscated from my income the past 30 years. I will retire quietly and leave the political arena to more intellectual and wise people like yourself and the rest of the greeters at “Fill in the blank”!!!!!NOT!!!

  • Bill in NY

    Gene “Thou shalt not kill” also applies to war and the death penalty, no?. God made no exceptions, even self defence or retribution.

  • rebjava

    Bruce, Colorado Springs:Interesting how low the public discourse can be, especially referring to Christian thinking. Example, “democRATS”, in a comment that includes “God speed” to McCain. It’s also interesting how misguided the public can be. I wrote that comment and “God Speed” was not directed only to McCain but to all of us. We could all use it in these times. ANd by the way, that wasn’t Christian thinking. It was just plain thinking.

  • JRDevo

    Liberals would certainly find comfort with the clear left-bias in your article. I know you MUST know better than the “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality or abortion” comment….(a dishonest obfuscation of historical and religious reality) The same could be said about cannibalism and with equal validity !But then I kept imagining what would happen in a pro-choice (abortion rights) forum and questioner(s) asking something like “…aside from the politics of abortion, do you feel that slicing an unborn child to pieces or crushing its head is somehow morally questionable?”….probably would NEVER be asked…for obvious reasons…it’s NOT their angle. And so it is with Warrens. Their angle, their questions. But then again, it’s okay in the Liberal game….no?

  • JAK

    McCain’s rapid-fire short answers spoke volumes. I am so disappointed in him. The longer this campaign goes on the more disappointed I become. I was very, very strongly for him in 2000. But this is a different person.Several posters here have said it much better than I can: Obama gave thoughtful, personal answers that showed us something about the process of this thinking. How anyone cannot see how important this is is beyond me. He is the thinking person’s candidate.McCain gave the spitfire answers that he knew this audience was looking for. Shallow and insincere. His pandering was almost embarrassing. How gullible does he think people are. He showed himself to be the candidate for those who prefer not to think.I know Obama would probably do things I either disagree with or which are not great for my personal situation. However, he would do what he feels is right for the country as a whole and what is right morally, and he will do it with forethought. – How refreshing after the last eight years.After Saturday night I shudder at the thought of a McCain presidency.. it was never clearer to me than Saturday night that a vote for McCain is a vote for 4 more years of failed Bush policy. It would be disastrous domestically and economically and would end the reign of the U.S. as the leader of the free world.

  • Dean N

    As a Christian, I was disappointed there really were no questions dealing with compassion. I know it was danced around, but as a Christian forum, I would have liked to hear McCain’s spiritual rationale for dumping his very ill first wife and hooking up with the Barbie wife, who makes millions off beer.Doesn’t sound like the teachings of Christ I’ve been studying for all these years.

  • Doug

    Why can’t liberals ever address any issue without name calling? Hillbillys? Dumbed down? Rick Warren lied? Give it a break and speak intelligently.

  • Christopher London

    The more Obama engages McCain with the Christian community, over time you will see McCain’s support erode. Deep down the Christian community in this country knows that John McCain has no core, no soul and will say whatever Karl Rove puts into his mouth to get elected. People of faith will examine closely the smug look on McCain’s face. It’s as if he is saying to you, “I have all the right answers to the red meat questions you throw at me.” McCain is as dishonest as the devil himself. Examine McCain’s disturbing similarlity to Mitt Romney on all the major issues.

  • Chris

    This is all so predictable, left and right supporters making it obvious that they haven’t thought through the issues and the process much at all. This was a great format, probably the best ever. We could see how both candidates responded to the same questions. I really hope this is the format they start to use in debates, because this would be so much more productive. As far as the questions, Rick Warren’s objective was to see what kind of faith each candidate had, and how that affected major policy decisions. Were the questions perfect? No, but the topics were fine. John McCain did better in this one, but Barack did pretty good as well, with a couple of slip ups. I do agree that it did seem to favor John McCain, especially with the audience, but the TV audience was obviously much more important and more evenly dispositioned, so in that respect, it was a fairly even playing field. All you liberals out there know that if Barack did a lot better than McCain, you wouldn’t at all complain about the questions. And if McCain did really poorly, the conservatives would find something to complain about as well. Why don’t we all stop being so blindly partisan and actually pay attention to what the candidates have to say, and really try to find out who they are, before making the most important decision this country has seen in a while. Disclaimer: I’m not on a soapbox here, I’m in the muck with the rest of ya.

  • Obamanation

    Phil Waste -McCain has told that story about the cross in the sand in his autobiography. I’ve noticed that libs engage in projection. They accuse Republicans of doing what they themselves would do or have done.

  • John L.

    These alternate questions are excellent, and ones to which I would like to hear some answers, despite not being an Evangelical Christian.

  • Sublime?

    OH PUH_LEASE…..Since mr BHO LOVES pretending that he controls the level of the oceans, the weather, is the second coming/Messiah, and CONSTANTLY SAYS “I am a CHRISTIAN” (despite his aetheist and Muslim family and sitting in the LEAST CHRISTIAN sounding bed of hate that he calls a Christian Church) – you’d think he’d have it made talking to Christians – Oh wait – Christians DO NOT SUPPORT INFANTCIDE. Chirstians tend to be patriotic. And so on….

  • michael

    I don’t see why people choose to be one side or the other, first it’s the person not the party, and why don’t people think you can’t be liberal and conservative too. I’m liberal, but I have conservative issues as well, Ying & yang people, Ying & yang. Look at both sides and work it together.Warren is trying to stir the pot and watch it boil.

  • Joe Zondervan

    Direct from Jesus in the Bible John McCain read:”Amen, amen, I say unto you. Blessed is he who sees better opportunity and dumps his wife to avail himself of it. To him shall be honor and riches and he shall dwell in the house of the Lord at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”

  • Another conservative

    Separation of church and state is not something this country was built upon. Do some research and you’ll find that it is a made up idea, supported wholeheartedly by a lot of liberals.Someone commented that more important questions could have been asked…and I hope we see them asked. But let me pose this…if your answer to healthcare is a government solution – you are a socialist. If you think the “rich” need to pay more…how about an answer of “we all need to pay less?” The government should be excellent at building roads/bridges/infrastructure and keeping us safe. A safety net…sure. Not an entitlement lifestyle. What happened to personal accountability? If you think the government can do it better – show me where that has been true? Nothing is a for sure thing…there is inherent risk in life. Want healthcare? Work for it. It will mean so much more than a poorly run, rationed system. Why do I want that?And…it’s funny how I see people I know that are considered “rich” give so much back to their communities and churches (money…and TIME)…but the “poor” who are on all sorts of entitlement programs can’t volunteer to help out their local YMCA. Pathetic. We’ve definitely become a better, more liberal society. Our grandparents (who worked for what they wanted, were accountable, had high standards) would be ashamed. For all of you abortion supporters out there with kids – can you really look at your child as a choice? Not me….that is a precious life. The choice was made to conceive…after that…be responsible.

  • Answers:

    Question: “Does God exist? Is there evidence for the existence of God?”Answer: Does God exist? I find it interesting that so much attention is given to this debate. The latest surveys tell us that over 90% of people in the world today believe in the existence of God or some higher power. Yet, somehow the responsibility is placed on those who believe God does exist to somehow prove that He really does exist. To me, I think it should be the other way around.However, the existence of God cannot be proven or disproved. The Bible even says that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29).That does not mean, however, that there is not evidence of God’s existence. The Bible declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset – all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” There is something deep down in our beings that recognizes that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence in us and through us is still there. Despite all of this, the Bible warns us that some will still deny God’s existence, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1). Since over 98% of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, on all continents believe in the existence of some kind of God – there must be something (or someone) causing this belief.In addition to the Biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are logical arguments. First, there is the ontological argument. The most popular form of the ontological argument basically uses the concept of God to prove God’s existence. It begins with the definition of God as “that than which no greater can be conceived.” It is then argued that to exist is greater than to not exist, and therefore the greatest conceivable being must exist. If God did not exist then God would not be the greatest conceivable being – but that would contradict God’s very definition. A second is the teleological argument. The teleological argument is that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a Divine designer. For example, if earth were even a few hundred miles closer or further away from the sun, it would not be capable of supporting much of the life it currently does. If the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, every living thing on earth would die. The odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance is 1 in 10243 (that is a 10 followed by 243 0’s). A single cell is comprised of millions of protein molecules.A third logical argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” something is God. A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?Despite all of this, the Bible tells us that people will reject the clear and undeniable knowledge of God and instead believe a lie. Romans 1:25 declares, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.” The Bible also proclaims that people are without excuse for not believing in God, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).People claim to not believe in God because it is “not scientific” or “because there is no proof.” The true reason is that once people admit that there is a God, they also must realize that they are responsible to God and in need of forgiveness from God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). If God exists, then we are accountable for our actions to Him. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want without having to worry about God judging us. I believe that is why evolution is so strongly clung to by many in our society – to give people an alternative to believing in a Creator God. God exists and ultimately everyone knows that He exists. The very fact that some attempt so aggressively to disprove His existence is in fact an argument for His existence.Allow me one last argument for God’s existence. How do I know God exists? I know God exists because I speak to Him every day. I do not audibly hear Him speaking back to me, but I sense His presence, I feel His leading, I know His love, I desire His grace. Things have occurred in my life that have no other possible explanation other than God. God has so miraculously saved me and changed my life that I cannot help but to acknowledge and praise His existence. None of these arguments in and of themselves can persuade anyone who refuses to acknowledge what is so plainly clear. In the end, God’s existence must be accepted by faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in God is not a blind leap into the dark, it is safe step into a well-lit room where 90% of people are already standing.

  • Cliff

    After reading the article and comments, two things come to mind that are VERY scary:1. David Waters, a second-rate “journalist,” thinks he is in some way, shape or form more qualified to put together questions than Rick Warren. 2. At least SOME of the people commenting here will actually vote!

  • Chucik

    The Lord God says plenty about homosexuality and abortion–it is an abomination; it is sinful!Lev. 20:13

  • abqcleve

    Cal: With all due respect, who cares? The point that McCain may have known the questions in advance detracts from the far more important issue raised by this author: what in God’s name is CNN doing giving a religious person a pseudo-political forum with which to pursue his own narrow agenda?Why is it important or even acceptable to ask a candidate for President to describe his relationship with Jesus? I’m a Christian who recalls participating in a search committee for a church job where I was a warden. Several of the other committee members thought it would be a good idea to ask all job finalists this very question. I objected that this was a “gotcha” question that wouldn’t tell us anything: the candidates would merely say what they thought we wanted to hear (a la McCain last night, whose religious/spiritual bona fides are in serious doubt). Fortunately, the pastor of my church unexpectedly backed my view and the question was withdrawn (it was pursued much more appropriately behind closed doors between the finalists and the head pastor).The very question is not only uninformative, but downright offensive to any right-thinking American, including those with spiritual inclinations.

  • Jengirl

    How low will our intelligence level sink in this country?

  • [email protected]

    And how is it that Matthew 15:19 is relevant to homosexuality and abortion?

  • Carl Johnson

    Waters has it right on. If more Americans are interested in the conversation and meeting real needs of every day people and want America to continue to lead and prosper, rather than to promote very narrow and narrow-minded agendas then there is real hope for our future.We should be careful of substituting religious doctrine for morality and virtue. Social justice through rational conversation promoting the least harm to the most people has gotten us through in spite of, not because of, mythological belief systems.

  • RStein

    McCain clearly bested Obama in the Forum as David Waters tacitly acknowledges. He now argues that Obama would have done better with questions slanted in his favor.Obama agreed to the Forum as did McCain. Neither candidate’s supporters should now be heard to complain.What the Forum demonstrated was that McCain answered questions and Obama did not. The Forum also showed the leadership qualities of McCain, and Obama’s lack thereof. The Forum also demonstrated that Obama is way too inexperienced to become President. This is especially true in foreign affairs. A trip to Africa to visit his half-brothers doesn’t qualify, nor a trip to Berlin pretending that he was already President.I have my own questions and concerns about Obama. He has seven half-siblings and other relatives who apparently are Moslem. Also, Obama attended school in Indonesia for four years, where religion is a compulsory course of study. I would like to know if Obama studied Islam in Indonesia. Whether he attended mosques with his mother and step father? Whether he regularly prayed to Allah while living in Indonesia? And, what his current beliefs are concerning the Islam religion. Does he believe that “good” Moslems will go to heaven? Does he believe that Islam suicide bombers will go to heaven?The greatest threat to world peace today are the Islam extremists. Voters have the right to know Obama’s views, and to what extent his actions may be influenced by his extended family who may be or are Moslems, and by Obama’s possible instructions in the Moslem religion.

  • Mike H

    I did not see the debate but I have read the transcripts which tends to take away the visual images and just leave the substance of what was said. I would encourage everyone to do the same if you want to figure out what the candidates are saying. I am always amazed at those who criticize the sponsorship of the event, this time, a church pastor. It should not matter. We should have the opportunity to hear our leaders questioned from many points of view, whether we agree with those points of view or not. I’m sure that I would like to hear something similar hosted by an economist, or a doctor, or a soldier, or a kindergarten teacher, or a cop, or an unemployed factory worker. Everyone brings their own concerns to the table and we can get a better understanding by having as much variety as possible. I laud this pastor for doing what he did, I am not threatened by it. I do not feel this is a separation of church versus state issue. If the writer of this article can do a better job of interviewing the candidates, then he should do so rather than take cheap shots at someone. The author’s own prejudices are exposed through his own disuasion.It is clear from the posts that those who have their own conclusions already drawn are not interested in any new thought on their entrenched positions. That is what keeps our country paralized from finding any workable solutions to debates that cannot be won. So while the camps wage war on each other, debating on points of battle, the real victims still perish for lack any real help.

  • Peach

    I have a question.Let’s assume that McCain cheated and heard all the questions in advance.How did that cause Obama to have such a bad evening??????????????

  • Peter S

    I guess those questions would have been acceptable alternatives, but I think the answers would have been either the same or more esoteric. We do not need more esoteric, we need common sense and straight answers. McCain delivered in spades.What ORIGINAL questions would you have asked? Yours seemed to be just liberal re-writes of the ones on the forum. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…Who knows the great enthusiams, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”

  • Joe

    It’s funny how both sides just want to bash each other and name call and not find any real solutions or compromises. For the first time in a while 2 candidates have some substance to them…Let’s use this for great civil debate…. Maybe we just deserve a dictatorship or a king since we can’t act like adults.

  • Titus

    Evangelicals are patriotic? Are we talking about the “Dominionist” sense of the word?

  • John

    I definitely agree that Rick Warren’s questions left a lot to be desired. On one hand, Obama has to do what he needs to do to win but it would have been nice to see him question the questions, so to speak.

  • Bob Longman

    Pastor Warren was asking the questions that most people of Christian faith (a rather large part of the voting public) were asking about the candidates so they could better make up their minds — something they now have only a few months to do. Some of the questions were collected from what others had written in about beforehand.Frankly, I was happy with Obama’s responses. Not only is he clearly drawing his position from a Christian faith, it is not a *theological* liberal’s faith, but a *social* liberal’s faith. That is, it went through theologically moderate and at point even somewhat conservative methods to come to politically liberal conclusions. If he had said even a little about encouraging women to *choose* not to abort and to value the child over career or family peace, he would’ve scored even better with evangelicals, some of whom (despite what the press says) don’t believe in using the force of law on such matters.McCain impressed too, but turned far too much to national security for his answers. That is to be expected from a POW and a Navy brat, both of which are due high honor, so I must be fair about that too. But it does not bode well for his decision-making.

  • Jim

    In response to those who are critical of either McCain pandering to the audience or the audience being so selective, keep in mind that BOTH candidates were VERY aware that they were not speaking to the people in that room but potentially to EVERY living room in the country. They both knew the cameras were there and rolling.

  • rebjava

    Christopher London:The more Obama engages McCain with the Christian community, over time you will see McCain’s support erode. Deep down the Christian community in this country knows that John McCain has no core, no soul and will say whatever Karl Rove puts into his mouth to get elected.right …just like he had no core or soul to survive 7 years at the hands of a hellish enemy. He also opted to stay with his men so his release would not break their spirit. He STUCK with them. What is that kind of mettle worth in a leader?

  • Gary Bonner, Baltimore

    I thought the forum was a reasonable attempt by Rick Warren to bring a measure of Civility to the political debate – to stop shouting and simply state your views. That was an honorable thing to do.My take away was that Obama is a complex thinker, looks at the complexities of the issues and responds with a reasonable answer that attempts to treat all of the sides of complex issues.McCain appears to be a decisive non-complex thinker who relieas upon gut instinct and a firm moral code to make key decisions (regardless of the complexity if the situation.)Here’s my honest concern. Once upon a time, we elected a guy who gave simple answers to complex questions, relied on his gut to make decisions about complex situations and spoke concisely and to the point. What did it get us? Goerge Bush, a war in Iraq, huge budget deficits and eroding international prestige` Do we really want to go down that road again?The American people need to wake up and realize that this “President stuff” really is rocket science. Better pick the smart guy.Gary Bonner

  • Obamanation

    Question:The lamestream media has said that McCain is technologically illiterate…so how would he know how to use a blackberry?

  • Daniel

    great commentary, David Waters.

  • One last time

    This is getting old. For the last time (ha!), the Commandment does not forbid killing; it forbids murder. Ask somebody who knows how to read Hebrew text.

  • Peach

    All this whining from Camp Obama tells me know thing: They know that Democrats are worried about buyer’s remorse.

  • Teresa

    Yeah let’s kill babies and spare soilders that protect us… real smart america!

  • Titus

    So did Warren ask in secular questions? Economy, gas prices, energy needs, nation building? Or is this heresy?

  • MikeinPhilly

    Stilton — you are right on the mark! Excellent!

  • VultureTX

    So we should replace Rick Warren’s biased question with you biased questions. Both of which have agendas? And yours have statements that are demonstrably false?Sounds like a bad case of religious one upmanship from a weak player. As for the Obama fanatics, BHO agreed to this forum before Mccain did. And Obama showed his lack of depth all by himself . Not in comparison to the other.

  • Mark

    It is amazing how ignorant many Americans are concerning the 1st amendment and the “Separation of Church and State.” The first amendment prohibits the Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, nor from prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The event hosted by Warren was paid for with private funds and was strictly voluntary for the two candidates. In no way shape or form could anyone correctly argue this had anything to do with separation of Church and State. The last time I checked, people of faith have as much right as people without faith to ask candidates questions important to them that will help them make decisions about whom to vote for in the election.

  • Peach

    Okay, I see none of the libs here have had the guts to answer this relatively simple question:Let’s pretend that McCain cheated and heard all the questions beforehand. How would that change the fact that Obama stunk out the place Saturday night?

  • Christine Daley

    Mr.Warren turned out to be a very typical, albeit more polite and less-loud-mouthed version of evangelist showmen pastors. I had thought i was about to find a refreshing voice in religious politics, someone respectable, but lo and behold, he sunk down to the bottom before our very eyes and ears. and as some poster said earlier – he smoothly arranged and possibly lied for subtle advantages go to Mr.McCain, who was nothing more than snippets of his stump speech stitched together, peppered with his silly humor. What a waste. I feel like the real spirit of Christianity is hijacked by a significant religious minority in this country.

  • steven

    Bravo to Rev. Betty Grace McCollum whose comments included this: I probably don’t have the credentials of Rev McCollum, but I must say that I am sick to death of this country trying to vet candidates through religion. I hate to break it to the evangelicals, but being a Christian does NOT presume you superior, does NOT mean you know what’s best for this country, does not in fact bestow upon you any more connection to the Higher Authority than any other religion (or no religion whatsoever)does. While God may be great in our hearts and in our souls, God is personal, not political.Warren’s questions about Jesus Christ were the ultimate insult to the separation of Church and State. I realize my comments will be immediately dismissed by those who don’t believe in the separation of Church and State. Those people need to read up on history and better understand how this great nation was founded. I am proud to be an American because I am free to practice who I am and I live in a nation where one religion is not sanctioned by the government and imposed on its people by law. For that you can go to Iran or Iraq or one of the other sad and war-torn theocries in the world.

  • Say it ain’t so

    Joe Teresinko, like so many sheep, spouts a familiar argument to abortion. Funny how that “commandment” is conveniently ignored when it comes to the death penalty though. Even more funny is how their good book commands “Thou shalt not kill” while elsewhere demanding the death of teens for simply disobeying their father, the horrific death of infants for no reason at all, the sexual slavery of young girls, the death of nonvirgin girls etc. The same book gives graphic description of filling valleys with blood of enemies that rivals the best horror scenes from Hollywood.

  • Anonymous in VA

    Is it true McCain was already seeing Cindy McCain before he had divorced his first wife? That’s a concern for me. I don’t subscribe to divorce. Too many Christians aren’t living up to their own values and then many want to dictate morality in this country. Let’s stop being hypocrites. It would be easier if people would mind their own business and stop trying to tell others how to live.

  • Titus

    I agree. Both candidates stink.

  • Ed Sweeney

    The forum was fair. The questions were Warrens own. The answers were each candidates. This wasn’t a who won scenario. This was hearing each man spell out and spill out their answers. In the end, we each have to pull the lever. So the bigger question is… Do you want a slick first term senator who has little experience and even less conviction running things (aka ‘an empty suit’)or a three stooges kinda guy who has the ‘been there,done that’ kind of mentality that will deal with all issues head-on? This is a no-brainer. Quit your complaining about what is fair..life isn’t fair…period.

  • Brett

    I am concerned that it appears that most of the commentary and the journalist seem to forget that Obama and McCain said yes to this forum. Either one of them could have said “no”, but chose to engage. What concerns me most is that many folks who say we should have open and honest debate, want to leave out a significant portion of the population. Like it or not, evangelicals hold a large majority in this country. Are evangelicals not allowed the same rights as everyone else. Are evangelicals not allowed to voice their concerns for the direction of their country and to make a decision based upon the moral principles which they hold. All of us hold moral principles. Democracy demands that the majority rules. Our forefathers wanted freedom of religion, freedom of speech etc. Why would anyone want to limit any freedom for anyone else? In response to the comment that all they wanted to talk about was jesus, jesus, jesus. I say hallelujah. Understand that Jesus is the way. He is the truth and the light.Finally, to the comments about homosexuality and marriage. Jesus states in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” This automatically forces us to review the Law, God’s Law as stated in the bible in the old testament. Homosexuality is a sin. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Jesus is God, God is Jesus, and therefore Jesus did talk about homosexuality and marriage. For those who wish to make judgement before reading, I am truly sorry. I pray that you will understand sooner than later for there will come a day when you will know The Truth. Jesus is Lord.

  • power-over-politcians

    What’s happened to you people?You are all so filled with hate for each other that you have forgotten the truth.When you accept the absolute fact that ALL politicians on Both Sides of the Aisle are Liars and Crooks, you will find that all of you are bickering and fighting over who you feel is the best Liar or who’s the best Crook.

  • OOPS you forgot a few…

    Stilton, I agree, but as the saying goes:

  • Peach

    Gosh, it just got real quiet in here.No one can answer the simple question:Even if McCain cheated, let’s pretend he did — how does that explain that Obama stunk?

  • Ang34

    Evangelism is not a religion, thank God. It’s a belief in the Bible by complete faith. Unfortunately it’s also misrepresented by many “teleevangelists” who have gone adrift from doctrine. I thought McCain did well. I think when you’re sure of yourself and your beliefs you can simply say them. If not, you have to ponder your answers like Obama did. He is trying too hard to be PC. We’ve had enough of that.

  • Dane Muhlig

    How totally ignorant and flat stupid is David Water’s comment, “Jesus never said anything about abortion or homosexuality.”Yes! This is supreme stupidity beyond stupidity!!Dane Muhlig

  • TS

    Amen, Chris. Election time always sounds like college football fans arguing about who has the best team. Guess what………they both have good and bad points. Personally, I think George W. is not quite as smart as my 6 year old, but I voted for him twice. He’s pretty much run the economy into the ground, but yet I’m doing better financially than I ever have in my life. Go figure. Whoever wins this election will not cause the end of the world, so please stop talking like it will. Just because they have a (D) or an (R) next to their name on TV doesn’t make them good or bad. Try using your brains and choose the best man for the job according to what’s important to you, and I’ll do the same. And please, I’m begging you, stop with the name calling. (Obama = Osama and McCain = McSame) You’re only showing your ignorance.

  • Titus

    Jesus is not the Demiurge. You guys are wrong.

  • Mark

    Ditto to Jay”What a bunch of sore, pathetic, and narrow-minded people. You can’t even accept the fact that Obama has no experience, no real substance, and especially, no Character. “McCain’s experience came through in a fair and balanced contest. Obama’s inexperience is obvious.We need a leader that can make quick and important decisions not wrap Wessel words around the problems and hope that you can just talk you’re way out.I do believe in God and I thank God for the best political debate process I have seen over the past 50 years. Thank God for Rick Warren and his question which were the right questions and spoke to the critical issues we face. Obama’s weakness just came out for everyone to see. Stay tuned more to come…. GREAT contest!!!

  • Mike Murphy

    Isn’t it funny that the Dems say that McCain wasn’t in the Cone of silence ,then pan him on his answer about Who is rich in America. Well you just can’t have it both ways . Either Andrea is right or you people are all dumber than rocks .

  • JT

    Mr. Waters could hold his own faith forum and tweak the words exactly how he would like them, and then at the end of the forum talk about how it shouldn’t have been held at all. Above: this blog post in a nutshell.

  • Ed Sweeney

    The forum was fair. The questions were Warrens own. The answers were each candidates. This wasn’t a who won scenario. This was hearing each man spell out and spill out their answers. In the end, we each have to pull the lever. So the bigger question is… Do you want a slick first term senator who has little experience and even less conviction running things (aka ‘an empty suit’)or a three stooges kinda guy who has the ‘been there,done that’ kind of mentality that will deal with all issues head-on? This is a no-brainer. Quit your complaining about what is fair..life isn’t fair…period.

  • michael

    Some of the people here need to read the U.S. Constitution, Article 6 and the first amendment, HELLO !! It say’s it all very clear.

  • JDWriter

    McCain offends me because he lashes out at Obama when he ought to be concentrating on how he is going to fix the economy. This forum was more right-leading than perhaps Warren had intended it to be, but it revealed what is going to surface in the final daze [intentionally misspelled] leading to the election: that John McCain and the rest of the Christian Conservation radicals will watch their time go into the back pages of history.

  • abqcleve

    A. Trendl: I hope the Muslim groups have similar forums. I am curious what John McCain and Barack Obama would say to these questions in a mosque, and how Muslims would phrase them.Exactly right; thank you. America is not a Chrisian-only nation. And that’s coming from a Christian. If it is acceptable for Warren to ask questions from his narrow “Chrisian” perspective, should we not then expect questions in other fora representing other Christian perspectives as well as Jewish, Islam….? Of course not: the arrogance of this forum was a huge disservice to the time-honored foundation of this country: it welcomes all faiths and protects the rights of individuals to worship or not as they see fit. This forum was beyond a joke: it did lasting damage, I believe, to the secular underpinnings of this nation. Shame.

  • Peach

    Are any of the libs here offended that Pelosi has said that “Obama is a leader that God has blessed us with at this time.”I’m asking because you all seemed to have hissy fits if Bush mentioned God.

  • Jim Lagnese

    The reason for the hullaballoo with McCain supposedly having an advantage and the questions being somehow unfair to Obama is that McCain’s statements aligned with what he believes and Obama was stuck trying to figure out if he should lie, try to have it both ways or expose himself for what he is: a Marxist. During the question and answer with the Reverend Rick Warren, Obama said “he’s pro-choice and supports Roe v. Wade, his goal is to reduce the number of abortions in America.” That’s like saying I am for drunk driving but I want to reduce the number of drunk driving deaths in America. But then again, this is the same candidate that said he favored abortion because if one of his daughters made a mistake, he wouldn’t want them punished with a baby. This man is wrong on this issue morally, politically, and spiritually. Obama came out worse in this because he did not want to expose his true beliefs to scrutiny, at least in the context of being in Reverend Warren’s church. Well, we all saw through it.

  • Jodi in MI

    To Everyone Commenting Regarding Abortion:Let’s be clear hear- ABORTION IS LEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THAT IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET AN ABORTION THEN THAT IS YOUR CHOICE. PLEASE LEAVE THE REST OF US TO MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES. THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE PRO LIFE, WHY DON’T YOU FIGHT AS HARD FOR THE CHILD AFTER HE IS BORN AS YOU DO FOR THE FETUS IN THE WOMB? HOW CAN YOU FIGHT ABORTION, YET SUPPORT MORE WAR? WHY ARE YOU SUCH JUDGEMENTAL HYPOCRITES? WHY ARE YOU SO WORRIED WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING? CAN’T YOU JUST WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN HOLINESS AND STOP TRYING TO FORCE HOLINESS ON ME? WHY, WHY, WHY???????????????????????

  • Will D.

    The BIG question.Ok religious nuts- God is always referred to as the Father. Which means Male. This clearly indicates genitalia. How can this be true?

  • The Betwixt

    I’d wager a guess that were CS Lewis still alive, he would agree with this article. Christians in the right are so quick to judge, using the Old Testament, and discard the New, and the teachings of Christ- most specifically: Love one another. To break it down further, Bill and Ted said, “Be excellent to each other.”Holding back wealth, wasting resources, or mismanaging them, worshiping Caeser (as a turn of phrase: render unto Caeser what is Caeser’s, and unto God what is God’s- separation of church and state, a disappearing American foundation), living our lives with more concern for what we can gain instead of helping others less fortunate: Rick Warren seems to be feeding a different faith than the Faith Jesus had in mind. The faith of the rabid right wing.This article is exactly right- truth isn’t about comfort, or coddling a candidate. These questions have nothing to do with finding the truth, and discovering beliefs. Kudos and gold stars for proposing far better questions for the candidates.

  • Dawn

    This forum was truly a low point in American history. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave.I wonder – when is the Forum on Science being held? haha

  • Mars

    Who is David Walters? And should we care?

  • Hillman

    “Jesus states in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” This automatically forces us to review the Law, God’s Law as stated in the bible in the old testament. Homosexuality is a sin. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Jesus is God, God is Jesus, and therefore Jesus did talk about homosexuality and marriage.”So very true.So I guess you are on board with EVERYTHING in the Bible, right? Including the verses saying you must wait a decent period before raping the widows of enemy soldiers you’ve killed in battle?Or the verses saying no divorce, no matter what? Or the verses saying children that disobey their parents should be put to death?Or the verses that support polygamous incestuous marriage (Jacob married sisters, including one that he didn’t want, and the Bible looks on approvingly).What?Why don’t you support those verses? Why is it you only believe in literal interpretation for the very few verses dealing with homosexuality?

  • McCain’s great grandchild

    Ed Sweeney, the no-brainer aspect is that we need the most complete possible reversal of course for just about everything this administration had screwed up (which is pretty much everything), and the only candidate who promises to change anything at all is Obama. I agree, if you like things the way they are, you should vote for McCain.

  • JDWriter

    McCain offends me because he lashes out at Obama when he ought to be concentrating on how he is going to fix the economy. This forum was more right-leading than perhaps Warren had intended it to be, but it revealed what is going to surface in the final daze [intentionally misspelled] leading to the election: that John McCain and the rest of the Christian C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-V-E radicals will watch their time go into the back pages of history.

  • concerned

    Obama said he would seek the advice of his wife, grandmother, and Ted Kennedy. And he thinks John McCain is too old?!

  • Stacy

    After reading most of the comments, I found a disturbing trend. I am a fiscal conservative, social moderate, but I don’t let those piegon-holes define me. However, it seems that so many of my fellow conservatives are blindly hypocritical, claiming they want to hear intelligent, engaging and thoughtful debate about “the real issues”, yet they’re emotions take over the keyboard when, in the first sentence or two, they label everyone who is not them as, “libs”, “liberals”, or worst. People, there are more shakers in this world than just salt and pepper. Evaluate ideas based on logic, history, geography, philosophy, etc. not on the tie color of the person doing the talking. Life will be much fuller for you when you do.

  • Grizbayer

    I’m still waiting for the answer to Logic 101 question: “If God is omnipotent can He make a rock so big he can’t lift it?” Contemplation of that question quickly leads to to the conclusion that most theological questions are derived from language delusions. We can’t know in any verifiable sense what the nature of God is.This whole forum/debate was a trip down the Yellow Brick Road to see the Wizard. Wish somebody had the courage to call B.S. on the whole enterprise. But that would be political suicide in a nation in which 80 percent claim a belief in a delusion, time honored though it is.

  • clark

    Regarding the subject of “thou shalt not kill”, the Hebrew term for kill is “ratsach”. Although there are differing opinions, most interpret this word to mean murder. Therefore, the word’s primary emphasis relates to unlawful killing, premeditated and deliberate killing of another human being. This would be opposed to other forms of killing, such as legal execution, war, or self defense.

  • Peach

    Jodi, dear -You seem a little overwrought. There is a difference between supporting abortion and Obama voting to withhold medical aid to a baby born alive during a botched abortion.

  • Jon

    If McCain knew the questions in advance, or was listening in, what does it prove? The fact that McCain has no integrity!As for evidence that McCain knew what was coming, from the transcript, McCain says “ARE WE GOING TO GET BACK TO THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICES” (this is directly from the transcript on the Rick Warren site). Funny thing is, at that point they had never talked about Supreme Court justices, or the judicial branch. It was OBAMA who took that question.Obama may not be perfect, but McCain is a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Justin

    If you cite the daily kos you’ve automatically disqualified yourself from intelligent discussion.

  • Amateur Theologian

    Hillman — “Homosexuality is a sin. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Jesus is God, God is Jesus, and therefore Jesus did talk about homosexuality and marriage.” Please tell me where those statements appear in the bible (book, chapter, verse). I don’t know the bible all that well and I would like to read those specific passages.

  • Paul

    In the first place Jesus and God are just fairy tales because people fear death and don,t want to burn for internity ,the book the Bible is the biggest money maker because any idiot or smooth talker can make a living with out working just , B/Sing,Christians are the biggest killers of all time ,where is that God ??, is he asleep or on an eternal vacation ,what is evil , evil is what you don,t agree on, killing, rape,greed for material, stealing, greed for power ,this has always been and will always be, the strong over the weak,humans are a higher form of animals,look at the world today is no differnet then in the good old days of the bible stories . good luck world,, the only salvation would have ben Hillary , but the evil media took care of that.

  • Jason

    Wow, if this is not a radical liberal commentator, I don’t know what is. His point on question 2 about the litmos-test is a joke. Liberals use abortion as a litmos-test all day long, but does David have a problem with that? NO. What a liberal loser.

  • Peach

    Well, I guess I’ll just leave this forum because it’s obvious the libs cannot answer a single, simple question.Even if McCain cheated — let’s pretend he did — how does that explain why Obama stunk?

  • FORMER MCCAIN SUPPORTER

    This wasn’t a debate. It was two independent interviews.I am very disappointed with McCain. He just doesn’t think WIDELY enough, stump, stump, stump, war, war ,war.His fixation with war is going to get us all killed.I’m not risking it this time around. There are so many serious issues now requiring so much thought, consideration, empathy, moderation and sincerity.I’m afriad to say it but Obama is the better man and so the Democrats will be receiving my vote.

  • Bradley

    I have not yet watched this set of interviews. I have it Tivo’ed and planned on watching it tonight. Many of the responses here are interesting. I am intrigued by all the different points of view and how everyone feels they are right (even people that believe everyone is right, and it is wrong to think otherwise). And since everyone else is giving their point of view I thought I would also.I am Christian in believe, and have struggled making a decision on who to vote for. Or to even vote. Doing an interview with a “respected” pastor in a church with questions that are important to ME is extremely valuable. I understand that to some people this may not have answered the questions they would have asked, but it answers the questions many Christians would ask. Maybe there needs to be another session of interviews with people of different political views to help answer their questions. I have never understood all the anger and hatred toward other people, even if you do feel their belief is wrong (especially with so called Christians). Did Jesus not preach LOVE? Even to people that disagreed with him? Sorry for the longwindedness of my reply!

  • Will D.

    When will the Forum on Science be held?Brilliant Dawn. I love you!I’d love to hear these cavemen christians talking about domesticating dinosaurs only 2500 years ago. Bwaaaa haa!

  • IntifadaGirl

    RSTEIN: “The greatest threat to world peace today are the Islam extremists…” That’s funny because “Israel” was listed as the #1 threat to world peace by a majority of Europeans (who are arguably more cerebral than the majority of Americans). If Barack Obama were actually a Muslim, he wouldn’t be all up on AIPAC’s jock to get the Zionist $$$$. Do you think he would be the Democratic nominee if he didn’t earn AIPAC’s stamp of approval? Rest easy, RSTEIN, Obama is no Muslim.

  • Obamanation

    Justin -I completely agree with your statement about quoting DailyKos. They are nutjobs over there and I speak as someone who is pretty moderate.

  • Tatanka

    If Sen. Obama’s camp actually believes Sen. McCain and/or his advisors knew the questions in advance, do they really think he would’ve defined “rich” as being someone making at least $5 million annually? I think not!Face it, this is one time that Sen. Obama’s evasiveness and “saying anything to get elected” without actually taking a firm position, came back to haunt him.

  • concerned guy

    I am a member of Saddleback Church (although not currently attending there)and I had expected more of Rick Warren and the civil forum. I believe Rick’s motives were honorable but he did not handle the interviews as well as I expected. Regardless of the nature and quality of the questions, I fully expected him to press the candidates for (honest?), at least direct answers that were responsive to the questions he posed. I have not decided which candidate I will vote for as I am not sold on either one. And, admittedly, I was looking for John Mc Cain to provide some insight into himself that would allow me to feel more comforatable with him. Unfortunately, that did not occur. What I saw and heard was Mr. Obama responding to the questions Rick posed by apparently thinking before he answered and doing his best to be responsive to the questions. This was what Rick asked of the candidates. By constrast, Mr. Mc Cain simply launched into the same stuff he has been spouting on the campaign trail for months. His answers were mostly sound bites loaded with key words and phrases that were calculated to resonate with the audience. Although there was obviously not much thought (or genuine substance)to his answers, I’m afraid they were effective. To bad he couldn’t let his guard down and be a little more human. Most of my Christian friends will undoubtedly disagree with me but I think the guy is an empty suit. And I’m disappointed. I’m also really annoyed with Rick for not calling Mc Cain on his stump rhectoric and forcing a little more (unreahearsed?) conversation. He leaned on Obama when he had to to keep him on track. Why not Mc Cain? Overall, I’m afraid there are no good choices in this election. But actually, I guess there usually arent.

  • BG

    This is just an outsider opinion. From up north. Came across this and found it kind of interesting. I did read a post by another Canadian on here. A little out of line I thought. Anyways, I think in general the main thing most of the canadians(at least everyone I know and alot you read here) can’t understand how tied both religon and politics seem to be for some people there. I can understand everyone has their own beliefs, they are entitled to them. However, just because someone running for office doesn’t have ones exactly as you do, does that mean they would be worse than someone else at that job. Thats like giving someone a job as an engineer based on the fact they are a christian, when someone far more qualified should infact have that job. Then worst case that person makes a mistake and people could lose their lives.There is a parallel there. Up here there is no tie directly between religion and politics. Sure we have the same issues, gay marriage, abortion, all that. But for the most part, we care about the economy, school, healthcare. Things that will personaly effect us. Do yourselves and the rest of the world a favour, vote for the presedent that will do the best job leading. (from a guy that votes conservative up here btw)

  • What the …

    Could it be Mr. McCain answered so qickly and concise because his answers were (gosh) PREPARED for him?? McCain is just a ‘W’olf in sheeps clothing y’all! I pray y’all have the sense to elect an educated man of a humble background, who knows life isn’t just black & white issues, it has gray matter too.Have a nice day!

  • tex805

    Does anyone else think that McCain’s constant overuse of “my friends” is condescending and patronizing? I counted at least twelve times he said that in the interview (and he was supposed to be talking to one person – Rick Warren!).And – where was McCain’s American flag pin? Nowhere to be seen!

  • wendy

    Does the Saddleback “Church” pay taxes like other businesses…if not STAY OUT OF POLITICS!!!!

  • elesjaydpawa

    Talk about harping while Rome burns! What a double semi truck full of irrelevant murk–the whole manure load of the above.lsj, PAWA

  • nick

    I`ve heard of Rick Warren but I`ve never heard of Waters. So what are your creds to pontificate about the questions Rick should have asked?

  • Obamanation

    PA -Do you really think that just repeating the same thing “McCain lied” will make it true? Stalin said that, as I recall. Maybe it really works.Apparently you haven’t kept up though. Rick Warren gave 3 questions to Obama in advance. He planned to give the third one to McCain but there wasn’t time. IT was the adoption question.Read the transcript. Obama says “I admit I cheated and looked up the president’s adoption legislation and I like it.”In other words — he knew the question was coming and Warren admits he gave them each 2-3 questions in advance.

  • Jesus

    Jesus Would be a Democrat (Overall)I believe that Jesus Christ would be pro-life… I also believe that he would be against the death penalty, against initiating a war with Iraq, against the torturing and detaining of prisoners without due process, against spying on thy’s neighbors, against offshore drilling for more of the types of fuels that are destroying our (and his father’s) planet, for our duty to provide adequate social services for the least of us (old, poor, disabled) and opportunity for the disadvantaged, and that he would show nothing short of compassion for same-sex marriages.I believe that he would also show compassion for the woman if child birth would be fatal, but that if a woman’s pregnancy had resulted from rape, he would still be pro-life and see the pregnancy as a blessing. These are not necessarily my beliefs, but I do believe they would be Jesus’, and therefore, I believe that overall, he would be a Democrat.

  • tex805

    Does anyone else think that McCain’s constant overuse of “my friends” is condescending and patronizing? I counted at least twelve times he said that in the interview (and he was supposed to be talking to one person – Rick Warren!).And – where was McCain’s American flag pin? Nowhere to be seen!

  • WFD

    The questions asked were general questions, not biased toward any political party. That’s why the questions were worded as is. I don’t see any reason to second guess what Dr. King would have asked, or to bias a set of questions toward a party. I would also point out to the article’s author that Dr. King was a Republican (unlike many of those who surrounded him), so if he had done the questioning, it may not have been as you may have assumed. However, I believe that Dr. King would have been equally general and unbiased in his questioning being that he was a man of absolute fairness, equality and integrity.Mr. Mark remarked about evil perpetrated by Christians. I would point out that most faiths have had low points, just as many non-faiths have also had. Those who practice faith or non-faith have varying interpretations on what that practice should mean. Some will have a peaceful interpretation, others will involve violence. Just the general act of protecting ones sovereignty may involve violence that will likely be viewed by others as acts of evil. As humans we are imperfect. So in looking at the big picture, it’s all really up to our interpretation. Hopefully we as individuals will get it right. Although I would hope that generalizations are not based solely on the outcome, but rather on the reasoning behind the instigation.

  • Jay

    Peach,That may be the smartest question asked of liberal today.Maybe everyone should watch the video of the town hall meeting in Bristol, VA when he loses his teleprompter! He can’t speak intellegently about asthma.He is an empty suit!!!

  • Joel

    It saddens me as veteran, current reservist, naturalized citizen, and Christian the direction this country seems to headed. Starting with Carter, then Clinton, and now Obama the Democrat party has become more aethiest/socialist/border line communist (but they are too caught up in themselves to realize where the line is)and is attempting to hi-jack a faith based nation born from Christian ideals. I find it appalling that they are now attempting to demonize/restraint/censor those ideals from men who gave birth to the Bill of Rights. The same Bill of Rights they prostitute to censor my right to praise the Glory of God in public if I choose.If Obama gets elected, and if he pushes to institutionalize homosexuality in the military, as a Christian, I may have to resign my commission. I say “may” because I have to leave the window open for the possibility that the LORD may use a bad outcome for his good.

  • jime

    First of all, this “forum” should never have taken place. NO religion in politics was one of the main things our founding fathers railed against. It doesn’t belong there.Second: Why is it the repubs drag these issues out for every election along with the newer ones(illegal immigration,flag burning,gays,gay marriage,etc)?

  • A

    A totally meaningless affair. I had so much hope for Obama early on to break from the usual election year quagmire issues like abortion and gay rights. All of you self described ‘conservatives’ take a step back and consider for a minute what freedom means. E.G.,Inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, etc. The things that interfere with my rights and pursuits at a personal level are not other people getting abortions or gay-marrying each other. Hypocrisy interferes with my right to happiness, though. You can jump up and down about illegal immigration, but every illegal immigrant gets paid by a US citizen, directly or indirectly. Many work jobs for farmers and ranchers, construction companies and meat packers, and last I checked this wasn’t a very liberal subset of business owners. Why are liberals blamed for illegal immigration? Immigrants come here for jobs.I wish conservatives would get that facts straight and get to the real issues like job loss here and to other countries or accounting fraud at the highest levels and stop playing the Jesus card every time they get backed into a corner , and further, I wish Americans would stop falling for it.Having this silly debate on religious grounds condemned it before it even started to a cake walk for McCain, who could quote sections of the last speech to answer the questions while Obama actually had to stop and think about how to address such vapid questions. “Does evil exist?”… Hell, why not just ask him if the entire world was created 6000 years ago as we see it today in exactly 7 days.Actually, that would be a great question to ask, it would allow Obama to explain how teaching intelligent design in this country instead of evolution would insure that no American was fit to take any scientific job in this country, provided there are any still here the time our current six graders are looking.

  • Liberal Elitist

    Peach, we’re not offended that Bush mentions God. We’re offended that Bush THINKS HE IS GOD!

  • Lowell

    What strikes me as I read all the comments is what a complex thing the human brain is. We see the same thing through different eyes and the brain processes it totally differently. How can we all see the same event and draw completely different conclusions?We must be biased to start with or some brains just have short circuits. From the comments it looks to me it is a dead heat.

  • Chutzpah

    Where were Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and the other candidates? Why does the media have to force two look-alike candidates with the same old time-worn solutions down our throats every four years?

  • Jack

    To all of you who keep calling Obama a marxist – do you have the SLIGHTEST clue what that means? Just a quick question – how many of you watch and enjoy the history channel? Did you know that that is MARXIST history? Do you even know what I’m talking about? Or do you just parrot stuff other people say? Look it up – there was a change in history writing in the mid 20th century so profound that no one realizes the difference anymore. But it’s rooted in Marxism. Your Tales of the Gun or whatever show old retired baby boomer fuddy-duddies watch is MARXIST.

  • John

    Great job Rick, keep up the good work. May God continue to use you to be an influence to the influential.

  • Titus

    Rick Warren wants to make sure that McCain will defeat the Illuminati. Obama must be a luciferian working with the mason cabal of the Rothchilds. If you squint just right, He looks reptilian.

  • Sylvia

    Step back and take a look at the debates between Hillary and Obama and you will notice how many times Obama did not have an original thought or response to the questions. His response was usually….. “I agree with what Hillary said and bla bla bla bla…..” and then he would preceed to repackage her response as if it were his….Obama is way over his head and it showed with his answer that he would use his wife and grandmother as advisors…. Yes, a wife who is “finally proud to be an American”. With her great love of our country, I am sure that she will provide good advice. PRETTY SCAREY!!!

  • Bobby

    I am not sure where they came up with some of the questions they issued but all that the Christian population wanted to know was if they do or do not share there world view in order to influence there voting.I am not going to get into my views on abortion because that subject is very touchy and depending on the life situation the person is going threw but if you have to have an abortion it is something that is never forgotten.

  • bill

    golly,There is only one opinion that matters to me and that is mine, the only one that counts. I keep mone to my self so why can’t all you other rectums……..

  • you

    It’s not a matter of “Who would Jesus kill?”The question is, “Who should Jesus’s followers kill first?”I say Homos. Or maybe the poor, cause they’re all lazy anyway. But the Muslims are really getting to be a problem. I’d better go pray for some direction.

  • HearNoEvil

    Jodi in MI: You asked why people are concerned about the choice that other people make on abortion? It is because many people in this country believe that life begins at conception. If you were to grant that, then you would oppose abortin too. I am sure that you are not pro-murder. Most pro-lifers aren’t anti-choice.

  • Obamanation

    Hey PA — are you really Obama?You really enjoy spamming, don’t you?

  • Different Drummer

    First let me say, “I love the USA”. I have never been embarrassed to be an American until the MORON took office. It frightens me to think that people are voting on religious beliefs and not what our country needs. Good leadership, good decision making and the promise of a better economy. We want our constitution back! Keep religion in the churches and homes where they belong. I think being interviewed by a religious leader is weird!Obviously the dumbing down of America; is full speed ahead! Not everyone is a rocket scientist, but everyone has an opportunity to perceive and achieve wonderful things in this great country. If you live in a box that others have built for you and you never step outside; your world is small and shallow instead of endless and broad. I have studied different religions and have come to one conclusion… The bible is THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD!I would like to see an aethiest run for president, then I would know the leader’s head is not based on an invisible god.Jesus was a Jew who knew how to market himself and ya gotta give him credit for that. Jesus was on a cross along with thousands of other jews, yet he stands alone on a single cross all over the world. By the way… Religion means belief.

  • MixedViews

    In all honesty, I’ve voted both Liberal and Conservative in my 16 year voting record… and after all this, I can honestly say I’m voting for Obama, a lot of you are saying he won’t answer a question, when in fact, he answered it perfectly. Take the abortion question, he showed how open-minded he is by talking about different issues when he believes it should be choice(medical, rape, etc), while offering to better the adoption services for those who simply cannot afford a child. McCain responds Pro-Life to this, when I believe if his wife were to get raped, he wouldn’t go through life raising a kid that isn’t his, he is insanely close-minded. Answering a question with 1 firm answer isn’t always good, open-mindedness allows you to choose the best option from many options after weighing the outcomes, McCain isn’t the same as the 2000 election, he’s became far Right wing, and would act the exact same as Bush in office, firing anyone that disagreed with him.

  • PT

    Since the Saddleback Church has inserted themselves into the political process does that abrogate their tax exempt status? That is the real question we should be asking.

  • Peter Truong

    The questions need not to be brainy. The questions mostly reflects our daily life in which it forms an individual personality concept, thought, morality, and life. If the man who can’t give the straight answer(s) meaning he/she has never has any concept, or idea the above which is very bad to be a man of honesty, integrity and dignity id his/her life.

  • Anonymous

    Sylvia -You are exactly right. This is why Hillary objected to being first for every question. Because Obama doesn’t have original thoughts and just says ugh, ugh, ugh, for 15-20 seconds while trying to formulate an intelligent reply to a question he hasn’t heard before.

  • cecil nims

    Did I read someone cite Betty Grace Mccollum for a source? She endorsed Al Franken, if that gives you a clue concerning her mental health. Also she is a reverend in the Unitarian Unversalist Church which means she follows no creed nor scripture, and pagans as well as Christians are welcome. Truly, if there ever was a church for mindless liberals then this is the one. the name should be changes to The Relativist Moonbeam Coventry.

  • To all of you

    I love each and everyone of you….because I am commanded to. We will all be judged someday not on what Obama or Mccain believes but what we believe!!! Glory to Jesus and the Father.

  • MA

    To Stilton,Why do liberals and others such as yourself constantly refer to “separation of church and state” and the Bill of Rights? Show us where it says precisely that. The answer is YOU CAN’T. At this point, it is nothing more than a concept. Now, I’m not very religious, and tend to prefer to keep religion out of politics, but you cannot deny that Christianity is threaded into this country’s make up. Read OUR government documents. The Bill’s intent is to keep freedom from a STATE religion, of which the US doesn’t have. Quite perpetuating falsehoods and trying to rewrite our founding documents.

  • Ex-Pat Rick

    Dance you puppets! Dance!

  • EASY TO SEE

    Christian = Repubican = War = Lies = Higher Prices, eight years and you people can’t catch on ? Being a “so-called” Christian and a “so-called” Conservative is plain B.S.If you want four more years of the same, or you make $250,000, than vote McBush, no one will be any sorrier than you when you have nothing left to cry/wine over…..”take that to the Bank” !!

  • Anonymous

    PT:Gosh, I wouldn’t mind you questioning Saddleback’s tax exempt status, provided you question black churches which engage in political activities. Deal?

  • Brett

    To Hillman: Please tell me the specific verses you are referencing when you speak of raping widows of enemy soldiers?Actually the bible states that there is only one reason for divorce and that is infidelity. Understant that this does not mean that women or men should stay in abusive relationships. It absolutely does not say that.Please share the verses that state we should put children to death who do not obey their parents. I am not familiar with these passages.The bible never looked on approvingly of polygamy or incestuous marriages. The bible is simply telling a story. The bible is illustrating that we are a fallen people and need a saviour.Understand one thing, people who commit homosexual acts were created by God. They are loved by God. Homosexuality is a sin as is lieing, stealing, murder etc. They are in need of a saviour as everyone else who sins is in need of a saviour. I appreciate your response.

  • Reject the premise

    PT:Gosh, I wouldn’t mind you questioning Saddleback’s tax exempt status provided you similarly rejected the tax exempt status of all the black churches which engage in politics. Deal?

  • DCX2

    Better question: As a Christian, how do you feel about crimes committed against non-Christians? For instance, 14 year old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi is an Iraqi and a Muslim, and she was gang raped and murdered by US soldiers who also murdered the rest of her family and tried to cover it up by attempting to burn down their house in the Al-Mahmudiyah killings. Did Spc. James Barker, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, and Pfc. Steven D. Green commit a sin?(note: the first three were court-martialed and are serving prison terms of 90, 100, and 110 years, the fourth guy was a lookout and got about 2 years, the fifth guy was discharged and is being tried in federal court)

  • Nathan

    Since this forum allowed McCain to pander to his base, can we expect the 2 of them at an environmental forum or a human rights forum? Would McCain be up for putting himself in Obama’s shoes?

  • Former Republican

    I have never voted for a democrat, but I am going to vote for Obama. I have left the Republican party because, under Bush’s “leadership” it has lost its soul. Bush has made the party a travesty, has lied to the world, and has held our constitution in contempt in so many ways. McCain has said he supports most of what Bush had done. I live in a retirement community full of lifelong Republicans, and we are all voting for Obama because we cannot believe how Bush has sold the country out. We need a total about-face to become respectable again.

  • James Lagnese

    To Jodi:

  • EddieT

    This is ridiculous. The right is generally better off in this setting, but Obama is clearly the more religous candidate. He wears his religion on his sleeves, and talks about it all the time. John McCain will hear a question about religion, and change the topic. He has weaseled his way out of pretty much any question about religion he had gotten up until saddleback.Then things changed. Mr. Obama with all the good and the bad about his church life, was rambling and giving answers that most religous folks don’t agree with.And McCain finally loosened up, and talked about his faith. He joked, answered consicely, and generally did far better than he has done up until this point.You can’t blame anyone but Obama for that.Rick Warren? He asked the questions that he cared about. The questions that he wanted to hear answered. And that was his right. Freedom of Speech my friends extends to religion as well. If Obama didn’t want to answer those sort of questions, he should never have gone. You can’t blame anyone but Obama for that.

  • syzygy6

    Ha, ha, ha. Just me again. Wait until John Stewart gets a hold of Mr. Warren’s interview. I can’t wait…can you?P.S. Someone, please tell Mr. Warren to get a real job. A job that contains some useful purpose. A job that God can smile upon, instead of the trash that he and all the rest of ‘god’s” ministers spew out on a daily basis.P.P.S. Whoever listens to any of these guys, will earn what they receive!

  • PT

    Reject the premise,Deal! I’m for turning all churches out of tax exempt status if they are involved in political concerns, are you?

  • Michael

    Millon is exactly right. Both sides are playing for evangelicals. It’s sad that polititians are able to get us so worked up thinking one side or the other will actually represent our views…If you’re a Republican you think that Obama will tax you and allow more abortions than already, so you think the right thing to do is to vote McCain, but then you have to put aside your Christian beliefs which tell you to love your neighbor because McCain isn’t going to support health care for everyone. If you’re a Democrat you think that McCain is going to start another war and take away your rights with his control your neighbor philosophies, so you want to vote Obama. But then you have to accept that paying for Health Care and funding alternative fuel research will cost money. When you really think about it I bet you don’t agree 100% with either candidate. The good thing is that things really won’t change no matter who you vote for. That’s how are system is set up. Nothing changes. Politicians will still be picking up their pay checks. News networks will still have you tuning in. Corporations will still be running our country.

  • John the revealer

    The phrase “separation of church and state” is derived from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to a group identifying themselves as the Danbury Baptists. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:”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, & 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 & State.” [8]Another early user of the term was James Madison, the principal drafter of the United States Bill of Rights, who often wrote of “total separation of the church from the state.”[9] “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States,” Madison wrote,[10] and he declared, “practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.”[11] This attitude is further reflected in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, originally authored by Thomas Jefferson, but championed by Madison, and guaranteeing that no one may be compelled to finance any religion or denomination…. no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. [12]Under the United States Constitution, the treatment of religion by the government is broken into two clauses: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. While both are discussed in the context of the separation of church and state, it is more often discussed in regard to whether certain state actions would amount to an impermissible government establishment of religion.

  • Thomas in Santa Monica, CA

    I’m disappointed to see that many of my fellow conservative evangelicals are not speaking on this board with a loving and humble attitude. As Rick Warren said, we all have different worldviews. There is no such thing as a perfectly neutral question because the words we use reveal and create perspective. Mr. Waters apparently didn’t like the conservative framing of the quesitons, but I wonder what he expected from a conservative church. Perhaps he could submit his own questions to both campaigns? Neither left nor right positions are “dumb” or “stupid” depending on one’s philosophical premises – perhaps we should start trying to understand where our fellow citizens are coming from instead of yelling louder.May all of us find happiness and peace.

  • Flint

    I’ve never voted for a Republican before, but there’s always a first time. And this is the year.Obama has shown himself to be an empty suit who will tax us to death and appease our enemies. No thanks.

  • Tongue-In-Cheek

    Q to McCain: Did you cheat by using a Blackberry?Q to McCain: Did you arrive an hour late to get an unfair advantage?Q to McCain: Did you know the questins in advance?Q to McCain: So you admit, you did cheat?Q to McCain: Please explain.

  • Obamanation

    Eddie ET:You had better tell CNN and Fox News that it was expected that McCain would do well in the setting Saturday night. Maybe they can get their $$ back because all of their pundits on Friday were predicting that Obama would shine in that setting. All of them!

  • Titus

    If you removed the tax exempt status for churches, only honest congregations would be left. The corrupt pastors would find other scams. This would be great for christians seeking moral clarity!

  • wendy

    PT…..It’s a Deal!!…..

  • PT

    Absolutely!

  • Ex-Pat Rick

    It’s so heart warming to read the smug and condescending comments from members of the conservative religious community. Especially the ones that flirt with slander, scorn and sarcasm. You all must be the pride of your respective ‘church’s’ (what a joke…).

  • Reject The Premise

    PT: Absolutely!

  • Kathy F.

    I have read every one of these comments. The most biased remarks that I see here are the remarks in the original article by Mr. Waters.

  • hierofalcon

    Wow. Much ado about the “pay grade” answer to abortion.What else do you say when there is a pot of boiling oil if you don’t give the right response? You try to defuse the situation. That might be a good quality to look for in a president than someone with off the cuff yes/no answers.Do you guys really know what the Bible says about the subject? Not much.Sure, Human life begins at conception. Is that the relevant question? What was the Old Testament penalty for murder? What was the Old Testament penalty for attempted murder? Look it up.Then check out what the penalty was if two men were fighting and injured a pregnant woman who subsequently lost her baby. Did the person who did the harm pay either of those penalties? No. The only penalty was a civil fine and that was only imposed if the father of the child to be chose to press the matter.So it sounds to me like the Jewish law held a significant distinction between before and after birth. Could it just be that the soul – the part that really matters – comes into being when the baby takes its first breath at birth, just like it did for Adam? That would sure throw a monkey wrench in the whole anti-abortion crowd if it turned out God really didn’t care. I am sure he cares more about what happens to the ones that are alive and don’t think most abortion foes have much place to complain as long as kids are in orphanages.I’m not a huge fan of either candidate, and as an evangelical don’t think that most of the questions that were asked dealt with the major problems the country is facing right now. If I can’t have someone like Ron Paul who really works hard at limiting the scope of government, I’d rather have someone who seems to be able to work with people than another Bush clone (who I sadly voted for as better than the opposition).

  • Hillman

    Amateur Theologian:A simple Google search will turn up all of those Biblical verses, with the possible exception of the one about raping widows of soldiers. That one is admittedly obscure, but it is there (some versions say ‘parent’s of the girl are killed, some say ‘husbands’. Dueteronomy 21:10Or, say, Leviticus 20:10, which required death for adulterers.

  • Flint

    I am disappointed to read such ugly remarks by my (formerly) fellow Democrats.Aren’t we supposed to be the party of tolerance and open mindedness? Apparently not.

  • Connie

    Watching the forum one question came into my mind,I feel there needs to be a forum from the Catholic, Jewish, athiest, agnostic and any other organazation that wishes to ask their questions in the same exact venue.

  • Nathan Proud

    People need to quit taking biblical verses out of context. For example, the fellow who said that commandment against killing also includes the death penalty and war, is not taking the entire Bible into account. Read Joshua and Judges: all kinds of wars and people being put to death, and that being the right thing to do.The fellow who quoted Hosea, do a little bit of research into the context of the book. It is near the end of the northern kingdom. They were destroyed and exiled until Christ returns because of their sins, the worst being child sacrifice. That is exactly what we are doing today in aborting children.May God have mercy on America. Let’s worry about Him blessing America after that.

  • The Happy Heretic

    I just love it when people quote “scripture” as if it were fact. What a laugh! It’s just a collection of writings by men whose goal was to gain power and wealth by deceiving others. The fact is that these writings are centuries old and have little or no value, with the exception of archeology and ancient sociology. Better to read a science book on evolutionary biology or geology.If you believe the bible, then I have some snake oil sell you. P.T. Barnum was both right — there’s a one sucker born every minute.

  • Mr. Workman

    Mr. Waters,Only had to read a couple of paragraphs to see where your coming from, its amazing how some can’t even use the organ between the ears, and not see through the forest to the tree’s.Not a fan of McCain by any means, but he knew how to answer questions in far more detail than Obama and less “drag the answer mode”, that Obama does, always playing the safe mode.Obama’s resume is pure anti-American since his beginnings, so many “ifs and unknowns” about the man, my feeling he is a very dangerous person, and amazed so many captivated to such an empty suit. Rick was very fair as the host, mainstream media such as yourself just jealous of fairness, pure and simple.

  • FlyDIesel

    Let’s assume for a moment that every liberal critic of this forum is correct: McCain is a senile old fool; Rick Warren is a fat, mind-numbed conservative Christian. Christians as a group are idiots who believe in fairy tales. Between them, they outsmarted Obama and made him look bad. Your words, not mine.Well then, how will he do against the truly evil, machiavellian leaders in this world? Vladmir Putin, for example? Woud we not be better off being championed by the winners, senile and dumb as they may be, if they can ousmart Obama?

  • bob d

    I know this is a little off the topic, but is probably relavent…Jerome Corsi recently chastiszed Obama for being a Muslim for attending a Masque with his father prior to the age of seven and therefore aligning him with Islamic Fundamentalists/terrorists.

  • MLW

    I am a practicing Christian. That is to say I do more than proclaim my Christianity or attend church on Sundays. While I do that as well, I try to act on it in all ways, every day. I say that in hopes of some defense from the obvious haters on both sides that have posted here. I am also a conservative and unfortunately embarrassed to say I voted for a belief system instead of the quality of a man. If you travel to Europe as I do for business, you realize the severe damage the current administration has caused us as Americans. This damage is made worse when you add to it the 1000′s who have died for what I can only rationalize as the pursuit of greed. Looking back on history, so many wars and conflicts have been created for personal or country gain of money or power – perpetrated on individuals, all in the name of God. We are in the middle of such a war today.While I am personally against abortion, I don’t think it is any more evil than any other type of killing. It is not what you rationalize it to be for your own conscience or for convenience sake. Killing is killing. Those that attack doctors at abortion clinics are no less participants of evil then those they attack. Those that send young men and women into war on a foreign land in hopes they would discover a justification later, are no less evil than those they pursued to dethrown from tyranny. Thou shalt not kill covers much more than abortion and more than any of us are willing to admit or feel responsible for.It is an interesting irony that while this country was founded on religious freedom and opportunity…on one side speaking in a religious/politico forum is considered wrong and a conflict of church & state. On the other side, it is considered wrong, unless you are touting “my” religious perspective. I believe religion, as well as atheism and agnosticism has an important voice and contribution to the greater good. Atheist are no more evil wrong-doers in society, anymore than all Christians are pius and do only good. It is not the religion or the religious beliefs of a person, but how they act and contribute from their soul. The forum to me was an interesting opportunity for the canidates to speak from the soul, while using (hopefully) both their minds and their hearts. In some ways both candidates did and did not accomplish that end. I believe either would be a solid leader and do a far better job then what has been done the last 20 years. To the haters on these postings. Life is neither black nor white (left or right, conservative or progressive, young or old, rich or poor, atheist or religious). I realize it is easier to blindly support and uphold such a contrast, but it is far more courageous, requires far more effort and thought, and dare I say is much more “Christian” to work at understanding the differences, the opportunities, the challenges, the benefits and the dreams that come from many shades of gray and being a channel of peace, instead of not justifying oneself as a syragate for God.

  • Joana

    The main topic here should not be how either candidate answered the questions but why are Christians so fired up by politics as if any man we elect, either black or white, republican or democrat, could ever make this a truly Christian country and put an end to all the sin we see around us. If that was possible, we wouldn’t need Jesus to come back.

  • Amateur Theologian

    Hillman — so if it’s that easy to find the specific verses, and you already know what they are, please cite them for me. Thank you.

  • William

    To KATHY F.:I actually think Obama did a much better job of answering those questions. McCain’s responses were to say the least. Trite.

  • keith alfulman

    I was completely undecided before the forum.If listening as a indepedent, non- political indivual you realize that one side was reading from a political pay book. I repect both canidates and believe they can serve our country. One as a senator , gaining needed experience in forein affair,becoming the complete person,then could lead our country.

  • MWF 3kids midwest voter

    I have always considered the best candidate for every vote I have ever cast. The Saddleback event was interesting to me because I REALLY tried to just listen and not think outside each question. Many times, Obama was asked a question but instead of answering it he would say something completely off point first and then maybe get around to answering the original question. It was hard for me to follow his thought process and I finally frustratingly decided that he just does not have what I need in a president. The reviews afterward made a point that I agreed with in hind sight…Obama said he would not have had Thomas on Supreme Court due to his inexperience…that is exactly what I see from Obama in this instance. Inexperience. It is scary to think someone with so little experience may end up leading our nation. I plan to keep comparing and contrasting both candidates before I vote but so far McCain was easy to understand and Obama was much less concrete. Everyone should just pray about these two candidates…and pray earnestly. We need a strong president who can get in there and get us all back on track.

  • Obamanation

    Has anyone else noticed that when liberal politicians don’t win an election or don’t do well in a debate, it’s because:1) The machines are rigged;

  • Anonymous in VA

    If Christians hold the moral high ground in America, then why did they practice slavery for hundreds of years, why are so many Christian churches segregated by race? Why do Christians choose divorce? Why did Christians commit genocide on the American Indians? Seems like over time religion has driven people to commit crimes against humanity?

  • Titus

    If you have to be commanded to love, then it ain’t love and you don’t have the holy spirit.Try gnostic true christianity. The Father is in all of us. The kingdom is within. What you do unto others, you do unto Jesus. So if you kill, you kill Jesus. Why don’t evangelicals understand this?

  • Anonymous

    PA -Still spamming the thread I see. And with such a good source. The Daily Kos. LOL

  • Dave from SA

    I am sure that every comment made here was made by a person whose mother was pro life.

  • Anonymous

    Good points, FlyDiesel.How can Obama deal with our nation’s enemies if he can’t even swat away the evil John McCain (old) and the supposedly stupid Christian guy?Someone else was asking -No matter what happened that night, how is it that the supposedly so smart Obama did so poorly with softball questions? These were NOT hard questions.

  • Mark

    I wish there were no democrats or republicans or independents or electors or activist judges. I’m tired of the different parties arguing about this and that and blocking votes on this or that because their party didn’t think of it first. Just tell me what each candidate stands for and how they have voted in the past and I can make my own choices about who I want representing me. It seems to me that this forum di accomplish that. They discussed and got the candidates views on issues that were important to me.

  • Hillman

    Brett:Your post is incorrect.The Bible points out repeatedly that Jacob was a blessed and swell dude. This is even after his incestuous polygamous marriage. And no where does God say he can’t have the sisters he married.As for children obeying their parents, how about Exodus 21:17 21:17 “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”You are dealing with the gay son of Pentecostal preachers. Believe me, I know the Bible. And I know how it is cherry-picked by some (but not all) Christians to justify their hate. And I’m sick of it.As for homosexuals being sinners, let’s say for a minute that is true. Does that justify you persecuting them, making life hard for them? Is that really what Jesus would do?

  • cholliea

    The premise of your article is great — why not stage your own interviews? Adding to the discourse is just, but dismissing the efforts of those who walked to the table initially is presumptive, at best. You state that the Pastor ‘had an opportunity to go beyond’ certain talking points — it seemed to me that he was acting ‘the Pastor’, nothing more.My wife tells me that when I comment on(read: criticize)her dinner recipes that I can just as easily prepare dinner for her.

  • Soon2bRaptured

    i dont understand what the big deal is… so 2 canidates talked (on TV) to a “pastor”, answering questions about their ideals. it was done by choice– neither candidate had to show up or say anything if they didnt want to. so, they chose to, big deal.i could sit here and– like so many others– type quotes from the Bible, or people who are far more brilliant than i am, and those who believe it/agree with it will love it, and those who dont will not believe it– and will probably post emotional responses that i will never read.to those who feel the need to post the Bible quotes, and hammer people over the head with it, i do have one thought– a completely rhetorical question. do you really think you are proving anything? are you really convincing anyone else that YOU are right? probably not. people are not convinced by how well you quote other people’s brilliance– they are convinced by how well you live it yourself.

  • John

    So to some it’s now about calling Rick a liar, simply when he’s offering to put the two future leaders in front of the world to see. I admire the guts Rick has to make a difference, to let people know people for who they really are. Some people may not like that, and they would rather start accusing the Church for screwing with the political scenario. That’s always easy to do.For all you who choose to try to stomp on the Bible, the Church or on the belief of Christians. Say all you want to feel better…that’s it, let it out. But just remember that after your last breath, whether you believe it or not, you’ll be in front of your Maker, speechless.When all is said and done, after all the attacks cease and the accusations stop, I hope God may continue to pour out His blessings on America.

  • INPEACH BUSH NOW

    Don’t forget the Christian community got Bush re-elected and still believe in “the talking snake”,

  • Anonymous in VA

    John,God only cares about America?

  • dave, please think before you blurt it out

    Dave from SA: You are wrong – my mom was/is definitely pro-choice, for example. I am sure you will realize that you already know this, if you think about it, but women who are pro-choice also have children. It is about being smart enought to know when you can give a child what you know what it deserves. Knowing that makes for a much more compassionate person, sometimes.

  • Chris

    When it comes to a choice for President, I am most concerned with reduced government spending, economic prosperity and safety. I truly believe that we always have to act in the best interest of the US first. A healthy and prosperous America serves the world as a whole. France and Germany have nominated Prime Ministers with capitalist prespectives because as much as they dislike us, French and German citizens are truly disgusted with the situation in their countries ploitically and economically. If you talk to one who says they don’t, they are lying to save face.

  • Anonymous

    MWF 3kids midwest voter: McCain has said he AGREES with most of Bush’s policies. Obama want to completely reverse course (i.e. get us back on track). He has been doing all of the required homework to be in a position to do that. This election is a total NO-BRAINER. Obama is the only worthy candidate. Unless you truly like the way things are going. Remember, Ronald Reagan said, “if you’re not for ‘em, you’re agin’ em.” In other words, if you are sincere about wanting stark change, you cannot vote for McCain. If you vote for McCain, that means you are happy enough with how things are. No brainer.

  • Cesar Heckler

    I’m just glad I’m not stuck in a system of two-party tripe where one has to constantly decide between who is the more ‘Jesus-ier.’ I enjoy living in a system where the candidates regularly DO NOT mention their religion, but DO mention what they will do with the nation’s economy and jobs and rights and international reputation and trade, etc. I won’t bother mentioning which country that is, since Americans generally can’t find such places on a map, even 16% can’t find their own. For Obama to have allowed himself into a one-sided farce-gallery is brave, but not a good use of his time. The thing that perplexes me the greatest is this impression that the evangelical right has that the Republicans are ‘Jesus-ier.’ Nixon was impeached, Reagan missed being so because Olly North took the rap, Bush Sr. wasn’t too bad, but Jr. is a liar, ruined the economy, trampled the constitution, not to mention an alcoholic and drug user. One Democratic president is caught with his intern and suddenly that’s the party of evil? Considering the number of evangelical pastors caught doing the same, and GOP candidates having gay sex, hypocrisy, thy name is the evangelical right.

  • I watched the program – I don’t know about any of you.

    What I saw and heard was Mr. Obama responding to the questions Rick posed by apparently thinking before he answered and doing his best to be responsive to the questions. This was what Rick asked of the candidates. By constrast, Mr. Mc Cain simply launched into the same stuff he has been spouting on the campaign trail for months. His answers were mostly sound bites loaded with key words and phrases that were calculated to resonate with the audience. Although there was obviously not much thought (or genuine substance)to his answers, I’m afraid they were effective. To bad he couldn’t let his guard down and be a little more human. Most of my Christian friends will undoubtedly disagree with me but I think the guy is an empty suit. And I’m disappointed**So basically you will be voting for Obama**

  • Brett

    Yes, Jacob was blessed. However, as the son of a Pentacostal preacher, you should know that Jacob was around before “The Law.” It is my understanding that people lived by “Faith” before “The Law.” I don’t completely understand how you would equivocate “curseth his father,” as disobedience. I am not understanding.There is never any justification for persecution. In fact, I would challenge any Christian who does not look at the log in their own eye. Jesus hung out with sinners. Sinners like you and me. We are no different. I am a sinner as well and I thank God for Jesus who has given me and anyone who wishes to accept Him eternal life.

  • Steve_in_Texas

    Well Mr. Waters, I think your presumption is pretty huge, possibly massive; and I take issue with your assertion that “a clergy person has no business posing as political moderator” (any citizen has this right, and some do it better than the self-appointed moderators from the media ranks). STILL, I liked your questions. I would not want them substituted for Mr. Warren’s questions, as I found them interesting as well. It would be great if you would submit these to the respective camps for further response. Too bad we (the voters) can’t require the candidates to field such follow-up questions as those you have proposed. How about it fellas; could you answer Mr. Water’s questions for us?

  • Hillman

    Amateur:Are you really saying I’m lying?I’ve already posted links to verses supporting the killing of children that are disobedient, the forced marriage/rape of women of those you’ve killed.Do I really need to list them all?And then what? Divorce: Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. From Jesus Himself. And, as we know, adultery in the Bible was punishable by death.I’m beginning to doubt your sincerity here.But now that I’ve posted quite a few, how about responding and supporting these verses?Or the ones condoning, say, slavery?

  • Hillman

    “Yes, Jacob was blessed. However, as the son of a Pentacostal preacher, you should know that Jacob was around before “The Law.” It is my understanding that people lived by “Faith” before “The Law.”"Nonsense. Either you believe all of the Bible or you don’t. Period. After all, those that are cherry-picking verses condemning homosexuality certainly aren’t limiting their choices to only parts of the Bible.As for persecuting homosexuals, many (but not all) Christians do it literally every day.As for disobedience of parents, most scholars interpret ‘cursing’ to be a catch-all phrase for general disobedience.But let’s just limit it to actual cursing.If you think we must use Scripture to denigrate gays, then do you also think we must use scripture to punish those that curse their parents, according to Scripture.If not, why not?Incidentally, beyond calling gays ‘sinners’, what else do you think? Do you think they should be denied health care coverage, marriage rights, property rights, jobs or housing, etc? Please, be specific.

  • Marc Edward

    Great post!

  • Tibi

    Kathy,A president shouldn’t be one to react too fast. Maybe Obama needs to rely on speeches and doesn’t say much in “real time”; I’d say that’s a plus for him. I wouldn’t want the president of the United States to take decisions on very important and delicate issues without consulting with experts in the relevant subjects.Take, for instance, the question of when a baby starts having full human rights. As was discussed on this forum, this is obviously a difficult question — it’s hard for scientists to answer, it’s hard for theologians to answer. Sometimes trying to keep the baby endangers the mother, which is quite definitely a human life: what is the answer then? Who gives Obama or McCain even the right to answer such a question? I *want* the president to talk to scientists and theologians before answering such questions, not just veto the next abortion law because he thinks he had it all figured out.

  • Abolhassan Bani Sadr

    God:You are imaginary and thus do not exist.

  • Mike

    Why would McCain have any problem with the same questions that he had in the primary election. Why weren’t the democrats asked this kind of question? A matter of priorities?

  • Superguy

    Please Neo if its the conservatives that are the loivers of money then explain why the wealthiest 50% of congress are Dems. Please we all want to hear it.

  • Eddie Matthews

    As a born again Christian and conservative I too have issues with Mr. McCain, but when it comes down to the life and death issues we all will be asked about when we stand before God, and our patriotism and fight for freedom issues we deal with while on earth, its a no-brainer, I’m for McCain. Sadly Mr Rick Warren is a “progressive” Christian, which is why his congregation and his “if it feels good” church is so big. Mr. Warren’s inability to publically endorse either, veiled in his nuetrality shows the same political correctness,lack of biblical or principled decisiveness that his buddy Obama displayed on most answers. Allowing Obama’s answers on abortion etc. to go unrebutted after the forum gives his congregation and others no alternative then to believe he, like Obama can over look the big ticket biblical issues and sadly rationalize that Obama has a much greater care and concern for the “greater cause” then Mccain. Mr. Warren and obama like most liberals don’t want to offend anyone or declare there may be right or wrong, eg. gay marriage is sinful and destructive,(although God loves all gays) Or making late term abortion morally equivalent to polluting , poverty or global warming!Mr. Warren has also obviously fell victim and been seduced like so many by the flowery, spin and speeches on the enviroment, health care and of course “hope and change”.Mr. Warren, I admire the fact you now have a desire to give your money to charitable causes, sadly if Obama gets in much more of your money will go to planned parenthood and polar bear research but the hollyweird crowd will flock to your church. I know I have worked in the movie biz for 25 yrs, and we like those non-judgemental and non-principled churches with good music of course.Please have someone in your church call me and tell me I’m wrong.God bless America

  • John

    Anonymous in VA: God obviously cares about the people of America and of the entire World. In spite of so many wrong decisions, He is a merciful God. No need to go there, trust me.To PA:If you’re gonna continue your quest to call someone a liar, you should listen to the whole conversation and, even though it may seem hard for you, learn to believe in the credibility of those you don’t really know, instead of looking for “ghosts” to feel good about yourself.Rick stated, “I trust the integrity of both John McCain and Barak Obama…that they said they would abide by the rules…they knew the rules way in advance…that I would not give them the questions…” Can’t you handle that?

  • Godsown1

    Is Obama running for President of his first-grade class??? After a long soliloquy Barak answered ‘confront it’ when asked the “evil” question. What does that make him??

  • Daren W

    Here’s a Canadian opinion:Then McCain came on, and I was stunned by how well he did. Certainly he was working the Christian crowd and viewers, but he appeared a lot more intelligent than much of the coverage I have seen of him indicates. I did appreciate the comments from both that seemed to indicate there were values other than short term American self interest by which decisions would be made. This is, in my view, critical in addressign issues of terrorism and anit-Americanism. Wisdom to you all in the vote!Now I’ve gotta catch Stewart and Colbert to get my head clear…

  • Dana

    Amen! I thought Warren’s questions were ridiculous and played right into McCain’s talking points. I can’t believe I actually hoped that there would be real spiritual and moral issues dealt with. And, where was the “what is your view of infedility” question… Oh, I guess that would have been hard for McCain to answer, so Rev. Warren wouldn’t want to ask that.

  • Brett

    Hillman: God loves you. You are forgiven. It all stems from there. Brett

  • STILTON

    @MA: The First Amendment, Bill of Rights (READ IT):Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…That’s pretty clear to me.@OOPS you forgot a few…:

  • DCX2

    John McCain uses “joking” to cover up his gaffes now. Like how he was “joking” when he said that it’s good to export cigarettes to Iran, so that we can kill them.If McCain was in fact joking, he dodged the question. Warren was fielding guesses of 50k, 100k, 200k – clearly Warren was interested in a salary-type answer.I’m inclined to think McCain wasn’t joking, and just realized after-the-fact that he said something foolish

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

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

  • Marc Edward

    Crying foul: Howdy Mr. Foul -

  • Peach

    You libs crack me up.If McCain pauses before an answer, it’s because he’s old and senile.If he’s quick with his answers, it’s because he was given them in advance.If there’s bigger group of whiners in the country than liberals, I’d like to meet them.

  • Joseph

    You people are just like the Taliban… looking into some old fairy tale book and expecting answers for todays complex reality. Why don’t you grow up and join the 21st Century? The next thing you know, you will be calling for international boundaries based on Biblical descriptions… oh, yeah, you did that already in Palestine… sorry. Next thing you know, you’ll be dropping weapons of mass destruction on civilians. Oh, yeah. Sorry again… maybe you should find a nation with a moral leadership and destroy it… whoops again… damn. Maybe you could committ other nations forces to go and do your dirty work in Afghanistan. Dang, I just don’t seem able to come up with any dawgone thing that would be original… Hey, I’ve got an idea: why don’t you elect a guy who understands justice and democracy. Make it a black man. Or a woman. It might be the best thing you’ve done since that band of atheists penned your constitution!

  • Kathy

    Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t it state in the Bible that in the end times Christians will be persecuted?

  • EJLima

    Got money? Worship money? It is just a paper house backed by a debt some one will pay. A person not in debt is rich.

  • you again

    Dave from SA-My mother was and is pro-choice. You see, CHOICE is the key word.

  • joe

    Dear Kathy-Gee… I guess dislike for a christian must be proof its the ‘end times.’ Makes sense..

  • to peach

    There is a bigger group of whiners. Why, it’s right here- on this message board! They’re called right-wing conservatives. And they whine and b*tch every time they’re inconvenienced by another person who has the gall to take up room on this planet.

  • Tibi

    By the way, doesn’t it seem a little wrong to ask religious questions to the candidates? I think the constitution prohibits the election of a president based on his religious beliefs… and actually I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, except for a few obsessed people who’d be willing to run planes into buildings, most understand that there is no proof that God even exists. Yes, lots of people believe in a lot of different Gods, but nobody has been able to show that any one of them exists. On the other hand, there are so many real problems that we can observe every single day: there’s poverty, famine, violence, desperation, hate etc. etc. etc.Are we really out of all the real questions, and all we’re left with is asking about the relation between the candidates and their imaginary friends?…

  • Captain Canada

    Hey, Peach: Ever been to Canada? Up here, Whining is our national sport. Heck, we even elected a smirking puppet of the Bush regime just so that we could whine about him. And he’s doing a great job. Bush can’t remember his name half the time (neither can I, the other half), but at least he gives us plenty to whine about! If you ever want to see the Olympics of Whining, come on up to Canada, where with think liberal, and elect conservative!

  • For Jesus Sake

    KathyMy dearest Kathy,

  • AG

    I wonder why Obama does so well with the liberal media? Is it becuase he is preaching to the liberal media choir?

  • Peter Baran age 81

    I just watched the two personal interviews held by Rev. Warren with Barak Obama and John McCain and I believe it is a great way for the American public to view the candidates and to have the opportunity to determine their characters…..Ibelieve we should have another such meeting, only this time have the two men ask each other three questions each unscripted and unknown to each other and let the American people examine their answers and determine for ourselves their character…

  • koko

    We are more intelligent and well above bonobo chimps. Wake up and do not compare mankind to bonobo chimps.Oh by the way- Republicans have been in the WH for now close to 8 yrs. Pro-life sure, any change in abortion rates in the country – not.Keep talking – it good for reading.

  • Kathy

    Dear Joe, I’d call what I’ve read on this and other blogs a little more than dislike and it seems to be growing rapidly. I know some hard core fundamentalists and yes, they can be abrasive and insensitive in pushing their form of faith but they really don’t have any control over my life. Liberals on the other hand seem to want and get more of my money as time goes on and are not happy until they pass various laws that do apply to and do affect me in my day to day life. Therefor I truly do believe that when it comes being control freaks, libs win hands down.

  • For Humanities Sake

    Excuse me but every religion has been persecuted by one group or another. And every religion claims it is being persecuted and is perhaps part of a bigger plan. It’s a way of explaining the inevitable and keeping the sheep in the fold. So there ain’t no silly prophecy.

  • EJLima

    Bill I see it like it is written in the bible… JOHN CH 1 v 5

  • kraigah

    Grandpa McBush offered anecdotes and talking points from the stump. Obama offered thoughtful reflection on complex issues that have complex answers. I, for one, do not want a president who sees issues as profound as war or abortion or stem-cell research in simplistic black and white terms. McCain answered quickly and “decisively” because he was willing to say what he knew the Evangelical Christian audience wanted to hear. Obama took risks and spoke his authentic personal views. I agree with many above that this was an odd venue with a questionable moderator, but it was fascinating to see the stark constrast in style and composure of the two men. I hope that the USA voting public is willing to step back, take a deep breath, and make a thoughtful decision about what they want the future of the US to look like. Four more years of a Bush style war machine and cowboy antics or a sincere and concerted effort to rebuild the USA’s reputation and standing on the world stage???

  • yukon cornelius

    I’m still going to vote for Obama, but I was a little put off by the whole thing. I know you can’t get elected in this country unless you’ve found Jesus, but still it reminded me a little too much of the baptism scene from “There Will Be Blood”. Maybe next they will have a Christ-off, some sort of obstacle course or trivia contest to prove who is the bigger Christian.

  • Anonymous

    Reading through some of these comments makes me thankful to live in a country where free speech is protected, whether or not I agree with those doing the talking. I watched the entire forum at Saddleback Church and found that Obama stumbled his way through many answers because he didn’t stick to his core convictions on issues such as abortion. Based on his voting record, his core position is abortion on demand, abortion without a waiting period, abortion across state lines for minors, no parental agreement for minors, and my all time favorite a vote against the born alive bill. Instead of sticking to his core, he pandered, as best as he could, not to alienate his audience by saying that he didn’t know when life started, that it was “above his pay grade”. Classic Washington poliitics. I shouldn’t be surprised because this is the guy who voted “present” 128+ times in the state senate because he didnt’ want to go agains any of his voting blocs when they were in disagreement with eachother (I’m referening issues between NOW and Planned Parenthood). I wish Barak Obama would decide who he really is so that people can vote for or against him based on his core beliefs. John McCain will be the next President.

  • looking in the mirror

    Hey Kathy, maybe you’re less offended by conservatives than liberals because you are a conservative… This is the second time I’ve asked this question today: What dictionary defines “Liberal” as “less free”? Exactly which laws are “liberals” forcing on you? Anti-abortion? Marriage restrictions? A national ID? Stronger drug laws? The death penalty? Oh, crap, those are all laws the conservatives are pushing. At least they don’t have any intention of telling me how to live… Damn Liberals.

  • Bipolar

    While our country’s lead continues to drop in most everything, it is growing strongly in the areas of hatred and close-mindedness. After living overseas for 10 years, it is a shock to return to a discourse of just plain shouting (not just this discourse, all of them).Polarized is an understatement. As much or more than ever, Americans seem to see the world through a black and white prism. “You’re either with us or against us.”Frankly, this born/raised non-practicing Catholic ex-conservative non-liberal is not with you or against you. I’m not on one side or the other. I’m on the side of reason, respect, consensus and compromise. This may come as news to many, but the world is not black and white — it’s many shades of grey. There is no one right viewpoint on God, religion, government, marriage, fidelity, abortion, education, immigration, trade, health care, taxes, gun laws, gas prices, inflation, the Beijing Olympics, the strength of the dollar, etc etc. Not to mention China, Iraq, Iran, Russia, N. Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and so on.Arrogant, hubristic and naive are 3 of the most common terms used around the world to explain resentment of the USA. In hindsight, those terms have been used by many historians to describe significant America foreign policy blunders in the last half century. Those same charactaristics are quite evident in the political dialogue. In the ugly, tragically flawed “system” we want to export around the world by force.You have to live outside this country to realize that Americans are as victimized by brainwashing as any culture we look down on. This will be evident by the amount of people who call me unpatriotic. (See how many google results you get when you combine nationalism and war. It’s too bad our leaders have consistently failed to understand the forces of provoked nationalism, anywhere, at any time.)It’s a sad reflection that our polical process makes it suicidal for a leader to stand up and say what we need but don’t want to hear: As a country, we need to learn adaptation skills in a hurry — in education, business, infrastructure, self-motivation, parenting, community, government. We need to regain personal drive and ambition. If we don’t, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. If we’d turn off the TV, we might be able to get out of the race to the bottom. But it may be too late. We’re almost there in a culture that celebrates buffoons and does jack all to promote self-excellence.There are 5 billion people on this planet who are willing to do everything it takes — sacrifice, selflessness and self-improvement — to get ahead. Along the way they won’t utter one complaint, whine or argument; they will play by the rules and save every nickel until they can say they “made it.” While America plays the victim and looks for a scapegoat.McCain is seasoned, qaulified and smart. Fairly or not, he also represents the old guard of stubborn old white men with “gut instinct” on how to make sure right and good triumph over wrong and evil. I’ve seen enough of that. Bring on eloquence and IQ, experienced or not. We need to be shaken to our core. We deserve no less after W.

  • Kathy

    Liberals want more than my 5 grand a month in taxes- that’s enough for me.

  • looking in the mirror

    Kathy,$5000/month just in taxes and you’re still complaining. You are truly American. Get over yourself. Do some good with all that money.

  • STILTON

    @KATHY: Liberals want your pocketbook AND they want to be control freaks? Have you been living in the US for the past 8 years? The party in power has been the GOP for 6 of those years (8 in the WH). And while they haven’t directly reached into your pocketbook via taxes, they certainly have made up for it in an unnecessary 5 year old war in Iraq (COST $500 BILLION AND RISING), which stirred up the oil markets, which is the reason we have high gas prices, the failed housing market due to predatory lending, a weak dollar, and resultant inflation. Yeah they haven’t raised your taxes but they are still laughing all the way to the bank!Oh and the control freak thing. The federal government has expanded 60% in 8 years. It is *THE* largest expansion of the government of all time.So when you want to talk about control freaks and your pocketbook, you need only look at the party that currently occupies the White House. It’s the same party that controlled Congress for 6 years, and vowed to be obstructionist to any legislation put forward by a Democratically-controlled Congress, which they’ve also succeeded in doing.You say liberal like it’s a dirty word. I’ll take “liberal” over “lying, conniving, thieving conservative” any day.

  • Jon

    NEWSFLASH: Those of you who believe that “Our Founding Fathers” intended to keep religion out of politics need to brush up on your history (try starting with the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, etc). As was the case back in 1776 and the years that followed, various religious views inform the vast majority of Americans today, public steward or otherwise (see recent PEW poll). Given this historical and present day reality, along with the fact that the religious clause of the 1st Amendment was crafted to PROTECT religious freedoms by preventing the government from ESTABLISHING a state religion, it is clear that the founding fathers never endeavored to keep religion out of politics. The idea that it is off limits for citizens of any religious bend (which characterizes a vast majority of the population) to seek clarification on issues dear to them from those civil servants who, in turn, seek their support, is foolish and absolutely ignores every other aspect of the 1st Amendment. And I’m still trying to figure out who put the gun to either candidate’s head to participate in Warren church forum. If you’re an Obama fan, you know that taking him off the teleprompter/scripted speech is always an adventure (which is why he has yet to sit down and debate someone outside the party lines along which he has so heroically stayed in lock step). Seriously, who convinced him that this was a winning situation for him? If it was Rick Warren, than this provides a little insight into Obama’s judgment. If not, save your breath for the campaign manager who thought this would be a great idea. And then ask him why it was a good idea for Obama to visit the Warren church a few months ago.PS – Mr. Waters, this is a bit off topic, but since it was brought up and both candidates addressed the issue, it fits with the current discussion. I know it’s easy to stereotype evangelicals (or most Christians for that matter), but abortion isn’t simply an issue that only resonates within these groups. The fact that supporters of a ban on any aspect of abortion span the gamut of religious convictions (to include agnostics and atheists) highlights the fact that it is an issue of civil and human rights, not just some religious tenet that can be relegated to “the church” as those who take issue with this post will claim. Most abortion clinics can be found in the midst of or near low-income minority communities, areas with which Senator Obama is quite familiar. Given this, and the fact that neither candidate has really been pressed on the issue, the question wasn’t inappropriate as you have implied, rather it should have been more fully explored. (And true, Jesus didn’t speak directly on abortion, but neither did He suggest we aid the impoverished by “relieving” them of their responsibilities. Rather, He commanded we all to take responsibility for our actions and care for the most vulnerable in our midst as we would ourselves and those we cherish most. This runs in stark contrast to the positions advocated by early eugenics proponents, the “founding parents” of the “reproduction rights” movement that aggregated in the late 60s.)

  • Jacie – San Leandro, Ca

    I think religion and politics clash and that the questions were designed to benefit Senator McCain. I think that Senator Obama addressed his faith when he was asked the same sort of questions in the primaries with Senator Hillary Clinton. I think this was a waste of time and was pointless. As being christian myself I think Senator McCain never gave a clear answered to the question and he seem to avoid answering it directly and changed the subject.It’s easy to give answers right away when your coached and know ahead of time what the questions are.two thumbs down for this event I’m very disappointed in Pastor Rick Warren.

  • Titus

    All of you are correct. Conservatives and Liberals are both scum. I agree with you.

  • Dave

    What an interesting discussion. I am hearing some good arguements on both sides. Too bad we can’t just eliminate people who just quote talking points from their party cause they are very boring to read. As a Christian pro life Democrat I have some pro’s and cons. The con is I vote for a party I disagree with on a fundamental issue. The problem to me is it is hard to convince a non believer of a position that appears pretty clear cut once you are a prayerful, reflective, spirit filled person. That doesn’t mean because Religion inspires a belief you shuldn’t try to convince a non belever of its merits. It also doesn’t lead me to believe that since “choice” allows non believers position equal value with believers it is somehow a better democratic view. So when it comes to voting I have to choose a party that is wrong on a fundamental issue but more Christian than the Republican Party on almost all other issues I feel are important to a Christian Patriot/World CItizen. It, of course, bothers me that the Republican party seems to accomplish nothing regarding life but seems to just string the Christians along saying “soon, soon” but their other policies that make people poorer and make a single income household nearly impossible give incentives for more abortions.

  • Yukon cornelius

    Kathy-What your saying is that even if you were paying fifty percent of your income in taxes, (which I doubt) your yearly take home would still be sixty thousand dollars. A majority of americans would be overjoyed to make five thousand dollars a month, let alone enough money that five thousand is what you pay in taxes. Why don’t you realize that you are very lucky, appreciate the wonderful country that has allowed you such success, and admit that someone in your income tax bracket has a responsibility to shoulder a greater percentage of the tax burden than those who have to make choices about whether to eat, pay rent, or put gas in their car?

  • Kathy

    Oh goody, with Obama I’ll get to pay even more taxes and pay more because of Bush’s war. By the way, I never said that I like Bush.

  • Obamanation

    John McCainBarack Obama

  • Bill

    I love how conservatives used to use the phrase ‘tax and spend’ liberals as a way of trying to intimate how bad the left is with handling the economy. Has anyone noticed lately the conservatives ‘borrow and spend’ policies from the last 8 years affecting America… in a really bad… way. 10 Billion a month and counting. My grand children thank you. And Iraq too. Oh and China too…

  • Dave Jennings

    SADDLEBACK CIVIL FORUM: AN ALTERNATE VIEWIs it appropriate for Bible believers to create a public political debate, such as the Saddleback Civil Forum? Should Bible believers be involved in carefully weighing out the views of each candidate to determine which is a more appropriate leader for this country?Many have applauded the Saddleback Church and its pastor, Rick Warren, for the leadership exhibited this past weekend in Lake Forest. Indeed, millions were able to watch the candidates discuss a number of issues that might not otherwise have been raised during the normal course of the campaign. However, with all due respect, connecting church members to the political process is inconsistent with Bible teaching and misleading to those who are seeking God.If those feel like tough words, please take a moment to consider what the Bible actually teaches on this matter. Political leaders are appointed by God. They are put into these leadership positions, not because they are the most qualified or of most outstanding character, but because they are the candidate that can best be used by God to fulfill His will on earth. The Bible tells us that “…the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17) God’s selection is not based on our limited perspective, but on a Divine perspective that has His plan with the earth in full view. In many cases, the worst character, not the best, was Divinely selected.For believers, there’s only one candidate that we could “vote” for – the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is capable of leading our land, even the whole of the earth, in the way God intended. You might say, yes, but he’s not running in this election! True. But the Bible teaches beleivers to be apolitical – to be uninvolved in the political process of the land we live. The Bible does not encourage us to campaign for “public good” or “quality of life.” The Bible does not follow nationalistic or secular “causes.” In fact, the Bible’s message is not about social change, but instead about changing ourselves to be more like the character of Jesus. Jesus himself was in no way a political activist – though he clearly had ample opportunities to do so. Instead, he told us that his kingdom was not of this world, that we needed to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Regardless of who is elected in November, we are to pray for that leader and to respect the laws of the land, so long as they are not in conflict with God’s laws. To vote for a candidate to govern us is to publically acknowledge that we endorse this man or woman to rule over us and lead us properly. In fact, no man can do this. As the prophet Jeremiah said, “…it is not for man to direct his steps.” (Jer. 10:23)Mr. Warren has made many nice contributions, to include his fine book, The Purpose Driven Life. However, we believe that the Saddleback Church truly missed an important Bible teaching when it chose to focus its membership on the candidacy of two men rather than the salvation that is available only through the return of Jesus Christ. We are truly blessed to enjoy the freedoms of this land. But for Bible believers, our citizenship is “…is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:20).

  • NotSoGreatScot

    @Jon Newsflash:Jon – If “it is clear that the founding fathers never endeavored to keep religion out of politics” – how do you explain Article VI of the Constitution? (e.g. – no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States)Didn’t the eugenics proponents want to decide who was free to reproduce – rather than leave that choice to women?

  • Seth Goldstein

    What’s with McCain’s secondary position in the Q&A lineup? Wouldn’t it have been more fair to have them in the room at the same time, responding immediately?

  • NKirv

    McCain won only on style, but Obama won on substance.

  • uuuhhh…..

    George BushCongress: 0 days

  • Anonymous

    UUUHHH:George W. Bush was a popular and successful governor of one of our largest states. But carry on. The buyer’s remorse is setting in and there’s still Hillary to save the party next week.

  • Yukon cornelius

    It’s true that all the founding fathers were Christians, and despite that (in fact because of that) they decided to build a wall between church and state. The constitution, in the words of a character in a novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, is a “document based upon mutual distrust.” The founding fathers were Christians of many different denominations, and none of those denominations trusted any of the others to not abuse their power.

  • HemiHead

    Where do you people get off talking about liberals burning a hole in your pocket. In case you haven’t noticed, our country is bankrupt. We get better growth under republicans because they hock everything and the kitchen sink. Look at McCain’s tax plan. Yesterday he lied again. Rob from the poor and give to the rich. How do ya like all that republican deregulation that has people living in their cars. That God it’s not cold out because that same deregulation has gas prices over 4 bucks a gallon. What about those tax cuts for the rich that has Social Security going under. I could keep going but I don’t have all year to sit here typing.

  • anonymouser

    anonymous:you seriously just tried to defend George Bush. You even tried to call him successful. And popular. But carry on. You’re right about Texas being one of our largest states.

  • Michelle

    To Dave Jennings:

  • NotSoGreatScot

    Mr. Waters – nice job – almost 600 comments in ~6 hours. You got people talking, maybe a few are even reading with an open mind!

  • Elite Liberal

    Any of you who are defending Bush, let’s see you do that and put your real name to it. I won’t hold my breath. I understand you don’t want to embarrass yourself.

  • McCain’s great grandchild

    I will happily pay more taxes to have Obama as president. At least he’ll put it to good use. Right now, we have the biggest deficit in the history of the universe (probably by a factor of 100), and it’s all been wasted. It’s worth paying more to get Bush out, and to keep John W. Bush out of the White House.

  • Jon, CA

    For the Left to be condemning a political forum at a church is a ridiculous. It seems to me that Christians make up a major portion of the american populous. Do they not have an interest in who is elected. Nobody said anything when McCain and Obama spoke with the NAACP. The Christian movement has every right to hold a political forum, as much as any other special interest group including NAACP or AARP. Why is it the left in our country is so quick to discount the Christian church when it comes to politics. Both McCain and Obama profess to be Christians. If neither of them have issues with attending a political forum at a church then no one else should have a problem with it. In 2001 79% of the nation was Christian. It seems like a good idea to me, if I were McCain or Obama, that i should take every opportunity to reach out to the Christian base. You would be foolish not to.

  • Amateur Theologian

    Hillman — you presented quotes you said were in the bible. My simple question: exactly where are those quotes. Why won’t you say? Your playing games I think. If they weren’t quotes, but instead your own interpretation, then say so, but don’t attribute your interpretations to Bible writers.

  • Heath

    The contention that Jesus was not a political activist applies only in the context of the Roman government. In terms of the Jewish hierarchy – under which he also lived – he was profoundly and inarguably active. Whether or not it was theocratically based, it was still a situation where politics very much applied.

  • BV

    So many are that identify as christian attend church and say grace, but it seems so many do not hear the message. Too many are quick to do the exact opposite of the message in the name of god. They justify war to spread the teachings disregarding that Jesus abhorred violence. Violence is against Jesus’ teachings and he would never use violence even if it would guarantee spreading his teachings. Yet in the name of god wars from the crusades to Iraq have been justified to many.Some Christians now complain about taxes and welfare, as if the money was for the coffers of the roman emperor. But are not taxes and welfare, (abuse of these systems aside) a way of transferring comfort from those who have and giving to those who are poor, sick, and have not. Works such as public transportation and schools are to service those with less, Christians should feel blessed to pay taxes for good causes such as public transportation and schools, services that help those with less. Furthermore they should abhor tax monies used for offensive weapons weapons and to fund wars.Now many use their congregations to network wealth, yet few share that wealth with the needy unless they will acknowledge their churches values. Jesus aided prostitutes, criminals, and those of other faiths, never would his aid be limited to only those that were ‘judged’ as worthy.Reading this forum I feel too many who call themselves christian desire to be the hand of god exercising power and judgment without truly listening to god.

  • Earl

    Liberals doing what they do best. Crying and whining. WAAAAHHHHHH!

  • Pat

    What bothers me about the tax issue is that cutting the tax rate for the richest people by just 3%, reulted in an additional debt of $187 billion a year. In other words, a shift in future tax burden to the middle class, and a conemporary cut in investment in our future, such as by grants for education.I remember McCain and Bush saying “It’s your money. Why should you pay it to the government?” Well, maybe beause it is our devbt and we should pay it?

  • NotSoGreatScot

    @Pat – Hear, hear – “cutting” taxes while we have a public deficit is simply refinancing the mortgage to extend the term. Unfortunately – there are too many people in this country who know how badly that can work out.

  • Hillman

    Amateur:I gave you exact Bible verses, as you requested.Yet you still won’t answer the question.Stated again, if you are going to use Bible verses to condemn gays, why aren’t you willing to recognize the validity of Bible verses that condone slavery, that condone polygamous incestuous marriage, that require disobedient children to be killed, etc?It’s a serious question that gets to the heart of your argument. Christians claim they ‘must’ persecute gays because the Bible requires it. Yet the Bible requires all these other things, and I don’t see you all upset because American laws don’t reflect those Biblical principals.Why not?

  • Like it but Disagree

    Your questions are not very good. You kept sticking “As a Christian…” in there. I think I would prefer to know what they would do “As President…”. If you could sneak in stuff like that it would really help.Christians are defined by actions and not words. For instance George Washington, whom I believe would not have answered any of your questions given the way you phrased them.—Off Subject—Before they started activily campaigning I would have voted for either of them, I’ve leaned both ways since but now no way I will vote for either of these corrupt pandering sell outs.Guess I’ll wait to see if any real debates occur before declaring this whole election a debacle. Then I’m going Thomas Jefferson. Cause someone needs to slap Nancy Pelosi in the mouth, fire all of Congress, and have Karl Rove exiled to Dubai. 12 months ago these canidates looked ready. What the hell happened?Anyways I really enjoyed reading this article and all the comments. So keep up the good work!

  • NotSoGreatScot

    @JON, CA:If “Jesus does not condemn violence” what did he mean by “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”? (Matthew 26:52, New International Version)

  • Hillman

    “Hillman: God loves you. You are forgiven. It all stems from there. Brett”That’s not really an answer.But, then, you can’t really answer. Because we both know that there are hundreds of verses in the Bible that demand we do things that modern man finds abhorrent (like requiring that all children that ‘curse’ their parents be killed).I’m simply pointing out that you are being disingenous and allowing a selective cherrypicking of Bible verses to justify your hatred and justify your ability to make life difficult for gays.Stop using Jesus to justify persecution. It’s simply un-Christlike.

  • LIKE IT BUT DISAGREE

    HILLMANNormally I would probably be on your side, but our country was founded on “cherry picking” the bible.Cause lets face it taking the bible literally would be stupid as hell. I think thats a Thomas Jefferson misquote.I don’t like gays because mansex greatly displeases me.

  • Hillman

    “when the Gov’t takes that money away from me for unaccounted spending to “help” the needy, i no longer have the money to help those in my direct community in which i as a Christian are responsible for.”Does that include helping indigent gay couples, or indigent atheist couples?It’s worth noting that many major Christian charities discriminate against gays, atheists, and others. Care to justify that?It’s also worth noting that less than 10% of federal taxes go to social programs. The vast majority is military, infrastructure, etc.Given that, your post is fairly silly.

  • Hillman

    Like It:You are forgetting that half of all gays are lesbians. And they have very little if any man butt sex.But beyond that – do you think your dislike of gay sex gives you the moral or legal right to make life difficult for gay people, and do you think that they are somehow less than full American citizens?

  • Malie

    The readers consider Pastor Warren’s congregation as conservative christians, therefore they must be bias. howabout the NAACP right or wrong the members only vote democrats,and now they’re 100% behind Obama, the readers never complain about that. The obamanation are whinning because their man (Obama) didnot perform well during Pastor Warren’s forum , no wonder Obama does not want to face McCain in the Town Hall meeting format, because Obama is an empty shell, without teleprompter his brain just cannot function. Basically he is just a puppet of his promoters or advisers. God help us all.

  • LIKE IT BUT DISAGREE

    This is way off topic.It is my belief that as an individual or business entity I should be able to discriminate against whomever I so choose. Goverment institutions however should never do so regardless of the situation assuming we all give equally as we are capable towards the success of our goverment. This can be achieved by bureaucracy.To clarify, no one should get a privilage for bumming another guys rump that I can’t get for playing Xbox and wacking one off before bed. However if “they” want to adopt then go for it, can’t be worse than the alternative.This conversation is futile. I believe in the freedom to choose what is right or what is wrong. When liberty is removed so is virtue.

  • B. Joyner

    Rev. Warren & the Evangelicals are so concerned about when does conception starts; I wonder who appointed them God. Why not take the same zeal you have with pro-life and apply it to Adultery,As for the comment that most people are Christians, GO BACK AND DO YOUR RESEACH. The same people are going from Church to Church again and again. Membership is not increasing that much from the unsaved. When the Church can become Inclusive and not Exclusive, Compassionate and not Comdeming, Apply Grace and Mercy instead of Convicting and stop being Hypocritical that is turning a blind eye to sin in its’ own facility; When McCain said that he would go to the pit of Hell to find Bin Laden, that means he will take everything and everyone with him. And also that he wants to be President so American can have a cause greater than themselves; that is another war.

  • Heath

    @B. Joyner:If you think that Christians, writ large, are either unaware of, or idle in addressing, the problem of sin within the church, then I can only tell you, as an insider, that you are very, very far from the mark. Not every Christian is a self-unaware hypocrite, as you seem to be implying with an unfortunate and inaccurate stereotype. Not even close.

  • mark

    It makes me kinda squeamish having political forum in a Church. The danger of mixing Church and State isn’t the danger it poses to politics, it’s the danger it poses to beliefs.Think of your religion as a big ice cream cone, and politics as a pile of manure. Mixing them isn’t going to hurt the manure, but it’ll ruin your ice cram cone,

  • Anonymous

    Difference between gay and abortion —Gays cannot help their sexual orientation.A sexual relationship between two consenting gays is by mutual consent and does not hurt anyone, neither themselves nor another.Abortion is about killing an unborn child an innocent third party who does not give consent. Psalm 139 and Luke chapter 1 describes a child in the womb.Thou shalt NOT KILL, includes unborn children.Human embryology is empirical science which needs no philosophy or faith article to confirm that a human embryo is the womb is a growing child.

  • Will D.

    ‘My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.’Just image that being said at this forum. Oh horror of horrors! With todays conservative media, it would be beyond scandalous. A genius such as Lincoln would be so out of place in this new and dumber america. May what’s left of the age of enlightenment save us from these insidious christians!

  • BG

    How nice it is to be Canadian and read this. I’m not gonna lie, it was very entertaining for a while. But then theres the realization every person here in some way or another is on one of two sides of a fence. Then whatever side they are on, well all those people say the same thing, and the ones on the other side all say the same thing. So I thought I’d mix it up for my own entertainment and found some real good quotes on the topics that seem very important/very unimportant, that will probably make one side laugh and maybe the other a little angry. “Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money.”"Catholic — which I was until I reached the age of reason.”"Have you noticed that most of the women who are against abortion are women you wouldn’t want to !@$% in the first place? There’s such balance in nature.”"Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer in their communities? It’s because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time.”"Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers.”"I think everyone should treat one another in a Christian manner. I will not, however, be responsible for the consequences. “”Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.”"Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”Now for the one that best represents this entire forum thats going.As I said earlier on this, pick the man best suited for the job. Hope there was some laughs from those. At least get some different ideas going, this is getting boring.

  • NotSoGreatScot

    I suppose Mr. Warren should have asked the candidates if they would draw their immigration policies from Leviticus 19:34 “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (KJV)

  • Paganplace

    All I can say right now about *that* little circus is …it’s made to make the desires of conservative Evangelicals seem relevant to what’s actually good for the country. Look who they picked the *last* two times. Say no more.

  • Pete Porzitski

    I’m still for Obama (can I get an Amen?)Hey a small point in this conversation, and I apologize for “picking on” one poster. However, I can not get past the poster’s mistaken notion that he is somehow more humble or honest than someone else – the facts tell a different story. Neo the Agnostic admits he knows nothing about the Creator or what He is thinking. What Neo does not admit is that he apparently has no interest in knowing God or what He is thinking. At that point, Neo’s honesty and humility is exposed as self-absorption and ignorance. The USA is a hot bed of finger-pointing and blame-making, starting with our current President and continuing all through the culture. Advertisers in particular like to encourage people to blame others for their own faults, since contented consumers buy more stuff than people who are even temporarily down on themselves.

  • Mitch

    @ Anonymous 12:57You say, “To those that claim that the Bible has nothing to say about homosexuality, you are wrong.”Ok, you’ve quoted Bible verses and claim the they clearly show God is against homosexuality.My answer to that is a question: Why should we follow the rules of a God who has proven himself to be such a bigot?

  • JoeT

    Warren should have asked, not when a fetus has rights, but “If my daughter ignores my pastoral and fatherly advice and runs away for an abortion, should she be convicted of capital murder, manslaughter, misdemeanor child abuse, or what?” that’s the real question. 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.

  • Mike in Philly

    BG — pretty funny. Reminds me of Ghandi’s response when asked what he thought of Western civilazation: “I think it would be a good idea.”

  • Mike in Philly

    JOET — right on the mark! Amen!

  • Freestinker

    Angela,I’d like to hear your responses to Mr. Water’s alternative questions … in fact, I dare you!

  • Angela

    Mitch, The difference between a person who can quote scripture, then do the opposite and someone who has repented, put their faith and trust in Christ, have His laws and commands written on their hearts and live out His laws by His power and Grace is the first is a hypocrite and the latter is a christian. There’s some who read the Bible like a regular book and can quote it. Demons are those who disguise themselves as light (God’s children), play church very well and it can be hard to tell but know this by their actions to God’s word, you’ll know if their His or not. Those who call evil good and good evil are not christians which means they don’t belong to God.Also to FreeStinker: I’m not here to have an intellectual argument with Mr. Waters nor will I gratify you with a response to his social gospel questions. Yes, I believe we are all called to help those who are less fortunate and not only in this country, and to condone and fight evil (God’s way) wherever it’s found but I cannot argue with those who believe that the Bible is just a book. It won’t go anywhere. Also, what the media and most secularist, liberals have turned the word “evangelical” into is a political word: Evangelical is defined as the gospel (“The Good News”) How to have peace with God. How can we have a decent, meaningful conversation with those who don’t want to hear what you have to say, they just want to mock you; it’s a waste of time. When I’m making any decision whether it’s voting for a political candidate or picking a school for my children, I don’t go on what society believes is ok but what God’s word says which is always the opposite of what the world is doing. Rick Warren did a wonderful job and there are millions of christians in the us AND IF WE ALL voted by God’s word, and prayed, you’d see a mighty change. That’s A CALL…!

  • Freestinker

    “Also to FreeStinker: I’m not here to have an intellectual argument with Mr. Waters nor will I gratify you with a response to his social gospel questions. “Angela,That’s because your narrow-minded version of Christianty, is well, narrow-minded! You prefer to completely ignore a rather large portion of Jesus’ teachings while condemning the rest of us with your selective reading of the gospels.That’s why I usually ignore your posts. I just thought, on the off chance, that you might like to address the questions that you chide Mr. Waters’ for asking. Silly me for asking a self-professed Christian like yourself to actually respond to a few reasonable questions about the teachings of your savior.

  • Gnostic

    The world is a mistake. An ugly plane of existance created by a foolish being called Yaldaboath, Saklas, Satan. We should be in bodies of light, not these silly looking ugly animals. These hideous candidates want us to worship flesh, and this disgusting material plane and the Sadistic god who created it. Sinners? Most people are too busy suffering to sin against Satan-Jehovah. Damn the Demiurge!!

  • Gnostic

    Christians are pornographers. They want hollywood to give us botox fake examples of a fake beauty in an ugly world.This world of flesh is evil as is the Kosmocrator that created it. Damn the Jehovah Sadist. This world is pain, and christians worship a god of pain. Suffering is everywhere and children are abused and christians worship this abuse of flesh, because they are animals worshipping their animal flesh and the materialist values. Morals with no ethics. And money. The love of money. Christians are Satan worshippers. Satan-Yaldaboath-Yaweh-Allah. The God of Evil.

  • Anonymous

    Mitch, “My answer to that is a question: Why should we follow the rules of a God who has proven himself to be such a bigot?”God is only a “bigot” in your eyes, others, Christians believe that God had determined the way for humanity as he sees fit for our good.Yes, we, people do suffer at the evil hands of others, which is unfortunate. But suffering in this world is inevitable, if you can show me a religion, belief, or another God that offers life without any suffering then why isn’t that God superseding the God of Heaven?There is no such thing as a “perfect” life for anyone, non-believer and believer alike. However, what we can do is share and show Christ’s love to others and hopefully make life a little easier, happier, and better for them.This is a hard task though when others cause us great pain. Evil-minded and evil-hearted people do not care about you, me, or anyone but themselves. We all should try to protect each other from them and not cause others pain if it is at all possible. I speak for myself as well.

  • syzygy6

    Yes, Mr. McCain, you gave everyone the “right” answer on the abortion issue…”Life begins at conception”. But that wasn’t the question. It’s funny how politicians never answer the question they are asked, but instead misdirect you to some other idea. If you don’t know what I just said, then you are one of their victims, and the laugh is on you…just as they planed it.

  • Titus

    Beware the Demiurge. Satan is worshipped by christians who make human sacrifices to Yaldaboath who drinks the savor of war. He loved Abel because he sacrificed flesh. He loves flesh. He pardoned Cain with a minor curse because he loved the smell of dead Abel.Read Numbers 31:18-40. Moses commanded to use girl children as concubines, and 32 human sacrifices. The Spirit of Yaldaboath on Jephthah who sacrificed his daughter to Yahweh in Judges 11.Christians worship and Evil God.

  • Gnostic

    The Gnostics were right, the orthodox worship Satan. Thats why everyone sees their evil.Exodus 20:21 (King James Version) “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.”And yet…1 John 1:5 (King James Version) “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

  • AMAZED

    It is laughable to read some of these responses. How bitter and nasty some of you seem. And the excuses for the poor performance by Obama, incredible! If you’ve followed Obama up to this point, you would have expected this from him. He is captivating as a speaker but that’s where it ends. Beyond that, he has consistantly struggled in interviews with answers to questions and will continue throughout debates to come. He is all over the place with his answers. A gut-wrenching decision of voting on the Irag War? He wasn’t even a senator! He did NOT vote! He is continually untruthful with his answers. McCain undoubtedly, speaks from the heart. I think Pastor Warren did an excellent job and it would not have mattered who was the moderator. McCain cheated and the forum was unfair…give me a break!

  • Roy

    AMAZED:. McCain undoubtedly, speaks from the heart. I think Pastor Warren did an excellent job and it would not have mattered who was the moderator. McCain cheated and the forum was unfair…give me a break!McCain doesn’t speak from the heart – he shoots memorized Cheney lines from the hip and he’s not even very good at it. McCain did cheat. Why would we have expected anything else?

  • Dave L

    “A gut-wrenching decision of voting on the Irag War? He wasn’t even a senator!”He didn’t say that he voted against; he said that he was opposing the war while he was running for the senate and was told that it could hurt his chances for election.Cheers,

  • BuckFush

    Dave L. — it’s very simple. If you didn’t vote for it (regardless of why or whether you could have), it’s not your fault. If you voted for it, you’re at fault. All those who voted for it knew that the evidence wasn’t there. That’s why we got laughed out of the UN Security Council (with Colin Powell pretending to believe the B.S. he was peddling). Those who voted for it did so because they lack backbone and are such panderers they thought their nationalistic/idiot-American constituents would vote them out next time if they looked “weak” and failed to go along with the herd mentality. They supported the idiot in the White House with their eyes wide open, and they are absolutely blameworthy.

  • NotSoGreatScot

    My concern is with those who conflate faith with values. Imagine if either candidate had come into the forum and said that he believed abortion should be illegal, that marriage is only between one man and one woman, that faith based organizations should be allow to hire and help only only those who adhere to their version of faith, and private schools should be allowed to ignore aspects of science education that don’t fit their beliefs. However, said candidate also openly admitted that he does NOT have a personal relationship with Jesus, and isn’t even sure if there is a god. How would that have been received? Would you vote for that candidate?

  • NotSoGreatScot

    @Will D:I couldn’t find that Lincoln quote at the Collected Works of Lincoln site. Do you have a reference to when and where he might have said or written it?

  • Heath

    @Will D:I’d rather be saved from the Christian-hating bigots than the Christians themselves. It’s the new chic bigotry – as insidious as all the others we’ve slowly grown out of over the years, and the irony of it is that most of the folks who do it, such as yourself, speak in terms of being somehow above the fray, enlightened and wiser, when deep down, you’re just stereotyping, pigeonholing, misrepresenting, and condescending to a group who, for the most part, just try to go live good lives. We are doctors, teachers, professors and academics, and span every profession, class, and race. And, frankly, we’re undeserving of your sweeping insults. It takes both sides to heal divisions. Many, many Christians are ready to meet you halfway; we’ll be here when you grow into a kinder, wiser, more realistic, and less harsh world view.

  • Amateur Theologian

    Hillman, you have misread me, or me you. I condemn noone. I am supportive of gay rights. Everyone should be treated as Jesus would have treated them, with the lovingkindness that is the hallmark of his father and ours.

  • Amateur Theologian

    George Gershwin said it best in Porgy & Bess: “It ain’t necessarily so. The things that you’re liable to read in that Bible, it aint’ necessarily so!”

  • XY

    “Does evil exist, and if it does, do we ignore it, do we negotiate with it, do we contain it or do we defeat it.?”How are we so sure that we are on the other side agaist the evil? How are we so confident that we are not THE EVIL ourselves?!

  • Anonymous

    >>>Gays cannot help their sexual orientation.A sexual relationship between two consenting gays is by mutual consent and does not hurt anyone, neither themselves nor another.To those that claim that the Bible has nothing to say about homosexuality, you are wrong.Leviticus 18:22 reads: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”…and 1 Corintians 6:9 reads: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Be NOT DECEIVED: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor EFFEMINATE, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…”These verses are coming from the King James version. “Abusers of themselves with mankind”, coming from the original greek means those who lie with, or have sexual relationships with others of the same sex.Another verse can be found in Romans 1:26-27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is AGAINST NATURE: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in THEIR LUST TOWARD ANOTHER, MEN WITH MEN working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their ERROR which was meet.”So, for those that want to ignore this point, yes, the Bible (not me) condemns homosexuality. If you claim to be a Christian, please do not conveniently sweep under the rug those passages of the Word of God which condemn this practice (homosexuality).And if God states clearly in His Word that homosexuality is wrong you have two choices: accept it or reject it, but either way you will have to stand before God and give account, whether you like it or not. (Romans 14:11, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”)Now, the discussion on whether state and religion should be separate, the “rights” of those that do not hold to our own beliefs and convictions but are also part of the “democratic society” we live in… that is a much broader topic that merits is own discussion. But don’t justify politics with false religion, and vice-versa, if you don’t know one from the other.

  • deb schmer

    I liked the forum, we got to hear what each canidate believed. Most forums we hear them discredit the other’s answers.

  • Youngj1

    excellent questions! I agree this was not the forum for a discussion of political issues. And it wasn’t a discussion of true religious issues.!

  • Neo

    I would LOVE to know what “God” is thinking. but i’m only human, just like YOU, and i don’t presume or have the arrogance to even believe that i have the brainpower to comprehend what “God” is thinking. Albert Einstein spent his entire life trying to figure out “God’s” Universe and he failed. what makes YOU think that YOU could know what “God” is thinking?? sounds VERY arrogant to me. why don’t you be truthful and admit that you are only human and that you or I will never know what “God” is thinking unless HE (or IT) decides to let us know. you all are going to drive yourselves crazy trying to figure out what the Creater of the Universe is thinking. IF HE(IT) wants you to know, you will know.

  • Neo

    and about the tax question. WHY is the wealth gap between the top 5% and the other 95% greater now than it has been since the turn of the century??? look it up if you think that’s hogwash. its a FACT, whether you are Rep. or Dem. WHY has middle class wages been stagnant for the last 20 years, yet PRODUCTIVITY had consistantly gone up??? answer that one. WHY is the cost of a college education going up 4 times the rate of inflation??? I’ll tell you why. because BIG Business/The Rich OWN this country and its Government. and when THEY want their taxes cut, they get their taxes cut. see, that what OWNERS do, the make their own decisions at YOUR expense. welcome to the New America, my friend.

  • GeorgiaSon

    Bravo and kudos to Mr. Waters. He has hit all the right nails right on the head. Excellent alternative questions.

  • Susan

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Had your alternative questions been asked instead of the ones that were, the forum might have had some real value! Thank you!!

  • David

    Thank you David Waters. Warren cannot ask the questions of the prophets because his “Purpose Driven Life” is not rooted in them, but rather civil religion. Bigger does not necessarily equal better. Maybe we should ask why at a time when mega churches like Saddleback flourished, our national direction is also at an all time low….David

  • Daniel in the Lion’s Den

    AngelaWhy do you hate Methodists?

  • Bill G

    Well David, what can you say? It is not Rick’s fault. Our religous and polictical leaders are trained to use left half of their brains. Through progressive evolution, the right half is no more functional.Well, what can you say? Efficiency has a price tag, as they say.

  • smarter than you

    I heard that McCain wrote the questions for Warren to ask. Cheater!

  • whitehead

    David, a very good review of the Saddleback forum. As a non-American watching this process, I am glad to see reviews such as this on some aspects of the election process which people outside the US find absolutely laughable. But what did people expect a right-wing religious leader to ask and who did they think would come out on top? Obama should have boycotted it. Next they will be holding election speeches in a Mosque challenging the candidates to outbid each other in their love of Islam, or making a pilgrimage to the Taj Mahal. Keep religion out of politics and just focus on using a little more common sense (oh, and living these ‘Christian’ values, not just sprouting them).

  • dj davo

    Having grown up in right wing churches, I can tell you what percentage of time is spent bending Christ’s words or simply ignoring them, and the amount of time spent using obscure verses from Deuteronomy and Leviticus to justify the pursuit of worldly treasures. Are Christ’s words truth? Those who would say yes are the first to ignore them or ‘reinterpret’ them. He never mentioned homosexuality or abortion, yet said plenty about wealth and looking after the needy. If only the preachers themselves believed Christ’s words were truth. But that wont happen… otherwise they would have to abort the treasures they have stored up on earth and give to those who have need. And lets face it, we all know churches pride themselves on how big and expensive they are. What were Christ’s words on that topic? I bet the parishiners couldn’t tell you (Or wouldn’t).

  • Rick W

    When I heard about the Saddleback event I was excited because I had the impression this was going to be a serious discussion. I honestly wanted to hear a real discussion about what was on the hearts and minds of both candidates. I felt like Obama did this but was a little shifty about it (and kinda boring). When McCain came on I didnt feel like he talked about his personal beliefs at all, just a bunch of political slogans.Now I wonder if the whole thing was a setup by Rick Warren to try and energize his church for McCain. It sure looked that way and there are all those questions about McCain having the answers before hand.

  • Cal

    The real question is why Christians think the Bible should have anything to do with me at all. The Bible is a rulebook for CHRISTIANS that they CHOOSE to follow. I am not a Christian so it really doesnt have anything to do with me. So why do you think quoting a bunch of verses at people means anything at all? It is YOUR RELIGION, YOUR CHOICE, go be happy but quit pretending anyone else is supposed to care.

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.