Someone has to help me because I am truly confused.
Rick Warren said that “we believe in the separation of church and state but not separation of faith and politics.”
So, at the end of the forum at Saddleback Church, what was the verdict? Who has the “best” or most viable faith, Obama or McCain? I mean, whose faith makes the best politics?
Karen Armstrong has said that faith is not what one believes. In “The History of God,” she wrote that “beliefs are a set of propositions and faith enables us to put our trust in them.” It seems that the “set of propositions” that both McCain and Obama were asked were American policy, and at the end, we were to choose which American we believed was the better, which American had the set of beliefs that we trust more.
OK. At least the forum wasn’t about God.
McCain was truly “at home” with the Saddleback community, and Obama, noticeably less so. McCain was comfortable and conversational, while Obama was not. McCain pandered to the congregation, but Obama could not seem to connect. It was uncomfortable to watch.
It seemed that McCain “got it,” what this event was all about. McCain, speaking more to the congregation than to Pastor Rick, was making connections with the people, his people, I guess, who have not entirely trusted him.
He needed to let them know that he was truly an Evangelical, that he was right on the war question, on the abortion question, on the matter of judges that are too liberal. Any conservative worth his salt has to come down right on those issues, and McCain understood. He did very well.
Obama, on the other hand, really thought it was about God! He really thought the event was about his religious beliefs! He talked about “the least of these,” because any good Christian knows that Jesus mandates that we care about them. And he talked about the right of a woman to choose whether or not she will have an abortion …because women have brains and can make decisions.
McCain lifted up General Petraeus as one person he would listen to intently were he president, while Obama lifted up his wife and grandmother … That’s nice and all, but good Americans are not interested in what your wife and grandmother would say. This thing is about America, not your family…
Obama would not have nominated Clarence Thomas to be a United States Supreme Court judge. Well, Americans — that is, conservative Americans — don’t know why not! He’s a good one, that Clarence. He understands America and American’s values. You won’t find him voting for Affirmative Action and all that crazy stuff. Nope, can’t trust you, Mr. Obama.
When McCain said that he would put his country first, he said it with such passion that it brought tears to my eyes. By golly, he is a real American! God is nice and all of that but in the end … it’s about America!
I love America. Don’t get me wrong. But I was confused about this forum being in a church and the interrogator being a clergy person. That made me think that it was about God, and, because I am a Christian, Christian values. That concerned me, because I thought there was supposed to be separation between church and state, ala the Bill of Rights.
But Pastor RIck cleared it up when he said it was about faith and politics, and when remembered how Karen Armstrong defined the difference between “beliefs” and “faith,” well, I relaxed. I got it.
And at the end of the day, when the forum was over, I had to think about America, not God, and make a decision about which candidate had the beliefs I trust more.
Hmmmm. The jury is still out.