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August 7, 2008

Toward Saddleback

Over at God-O-Meter, Dan Gilgoff has a nice dissection of Barack Obama's short pre-Saddleback "on Faith" essay for Time, showing how well calculated it is to appeal to evangelicals. I agree that it hits a lot of evangelical buttons, though not, perhaps, the most important one. It says nothing about his personal born-again experience--something he has written and talked about elsewhere. Perhaps that would remind people too much of that pesky Trinity church he used to belong to. Or perhaps it would strike non-evangelicals as, well, just a little too evangelical. And then there's this remark: "The next President will have to lead Americans of all religious and secular backgrounds and will navigate a range of tough values issues." The evangelicals Dan thinks Obama is directing his appeal to don't tend to regard the values issues as in themselves tough, but rather see the tough part as actually treading the straight and narrow. So I think we should at least entertain the possibility that this is what Obama actually believes.

As for John McCain, his essay sticks almost exclusively to a vision of faith as something that sustains a person in extremis. He tells the story he always tells about the Christian guard who loosened his bonds when he was a prisoner of war, and throws in one about his father praying for him at the time. There's a short paragraph about caring for the least among us (with a little pro-life pitch), but it's sandwiched in, in a kind of obligatory way. Then he returns to the importance of religion in the "dark" and "solitary" places. I'm inclined to think that that's the real deal when it comes to McCain and religion, and why shouldn't it be? Being a prisoner of war seems to have been the defining experience of his life. That the McCain faith has real resonance for many people I don't doubt. But it's far from the guiding of one's choices in daily affairs that tends to be what Americans are looking for when they seek to know how a candidate's faith will inform his conduct in office. The contrast with Obama couldn't be greater.

(This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.)

Comments

Obama should read his Bible along a few of you who think you know what you are talking about. Being pro choice and pro gay is is direct opposition to God's desogn for mankind. The fact that Christians who get their traiing out of this web sight and the main stream press belive God is god, doesn't change that fact that He is GOd and looks at the gay lifestyle as an abomination. Just because American and much of the world now believes its the right thing to do, doesn't mean its right and won't keep them from a well deserved judgment.

Here go again. What does God actually say.
God says"Do not judge anybody for i alone know everything about them and you do not.
We need a president who says the Truth and not tries to appeal to our "Americans"s, "biased" believes and tell us to stop believing the people that just talk about our Guns and abortion. Tell us to spend less be and less materialistic and not complain about the price of Gas and look at other countries of the World. Jesus did not just come for Americans but for all people in this World be we American we think are the chosen people.