Should a presidential candidate’s personal religious beliefs be fodder for a candidate forum?
Tonight Barak Obama and John McCain appear in conversation with Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of the 22,000 member
The event is being co-sponsored by “Faith in Public Life,” a liberal coalition whose Board President is Reverend Meg Riley, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister who headed the denomination’s Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, and whose members include a spectrum of Jews, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants.
But despite the wide base of religious leaders involved in planning Saturday’s event, it still seems odd to have the Democratic and Republican nominee hold their first post-primary public appearance in such an explicitly religious setting.
Reverend Warren says he wants to ask the candidates questions that aren’t usually discussed, like “What’s Your View of the Constitution?” But if he’s sticking to secular and legal questions, why is a spiritual leader especially qualified to ask them? Will
Perhaps the current nominees might take a cue from the founders in this regard. I am looking forward to watching tonight’s forum with Reverend Warren and the two senators. But I’d rather be watching McCain and Obama on PBS than in a sectarian place of worship.