John McCain raised the applause of the Saddleback attendees many times over as compared to Barack Obama; some who paid up to $2,000 for seats at the event. What's it all about?
Recently Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals said that "mega-churches comprise only about one percent of the churched in America." That means if it were not for the television coverage of the Saddleback Civil Forum the result would be nil.
Because evangelical churches that still use the Bible for all reference to politics or any aspect of life, largely outnumber the few existing mega-churches, Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren's repeated references to those who "demonize" the candidates or the political parties was directed to the majority in American Christianity. And although it looks like Warren is a healer of the breach to the main stream media, in fact he is on the fringe in the minds of millions of evangelicals and Catholics.
Pastor Warren's questions were as he said "non-confrontational" but some would say a few interrogatories were childish at best. Especially childish was the question of what each presumptive candidate would say to those who say Warren should not be using such a forum to question the candidates in the first place. Was it an answer for those in his diaconate who resisted the event or was it a need for some public absolution? We of course will never know.
Senator Obama waxed philosophical on most issues presenting himself as the post-modernist, appealing with deference and understanding to those on both sides of any particular issue. Barack showed that he is just as much at ease doing the double shuffle in the church as he is on national TV along side openly lesbian Ellen DeGeneres.
He professed his faith in Christ, his love for America and his commitment to protect our freedoms and interests. So what's the problem if any? It seemed so right until he quoted from the Bible.
Sen. Obama quoted Matthew 25:40 which reads, "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." He claimed this was the philosophy or theology that he ascribes to in all his dealings and it is what he believed all Americans should be doing.
Only minutes later he dodged the question of when life begins and how he thought abortions should be curbed but never disallowed by law. His position about abortion was instantly betrayed by the verse he had only moments before so confidently affirmed.
Are the voiceless, harmless and totally defenseless unborn not part of the "least" that Christ was referring to? To millions in this nation they are and always will be.
Senator McCain answered without hesitation that he thought life begins at conception. His answers for most questions were all instant and without equivocation. He elicited powerful applause and assent from the audience so often that if it were not for his decisive and rapid replies Rick Warren may have run out of time before the questions could be asked.
John McCain's answer to the question about his hardest decision was followed by an anecdotal about how he refused release from a Vietnam prison camp to remain in compliance with the rule of order of release. Those imprisoned first must be released first. He refused preferential treatment offered to him because of his father's naval admiralty.
The story nearly had members of the congregation in tears and if nothing else they knew they were in the presence of a true patriot. The rest of McCain's answers assured the crowd that they were also in the presence of an American statesman.
Copyright ©2008 Rev. Michael Bresciani