September 25, 2008
Obama Religious Reps Bow Out of Debate with McCain Team
Family Research Council Action is alerting constituents that a senior Barack Obama advisor on religious issues bowed out of a high-profile debate with a counterpart from the McCain campaign yesterday:
People hoping for a lively discussion on faith and values from Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) campaign were surprised yesterday when Team Obama failed to show for a media-heavy debate. The capacity crowd that gathered at the Capitol Hill Club had expected Obama's Senior Advisor for Religious Affairs, Rev. Evna Terri La Velle, to square off with Bob Heckman, a representative from Sen. John McCain's campaign. Just hours before the lunchtime event began, members of the sponsoring organizations, the National Clergy Council and Evangelical Church Alliance, received word that Obama's delegation of 11 had backed out. Rev. Rob Schenck, who was scheduled to moderate the debate, released a statement questioning the Obama campaign's genuine commitment to issues of concern to social conservatives. "Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean assured me...that his party would do everything possible to constructively engage Evangelicals, traditional Catholics, and other moral conservatives... Barack Obama has made similar promises. They did a couple of high-profile media events, but it appears they were not serious at a grassroots level." While the Illinois senator and his campaign never shy away from talking about faith, they have missed opportunities to let that faith be examined up close to determine how it would impact their public policy positions.
The Obama campaign had no comment, but didn't contest FRC Action's version of events. For conservative Christian groups that are eager to prove that Obama's religious outreach is empty talk, the Obama team just made their job a little easier.
(Originally posted at Beliefnet's God-o-Meter)