Patterico's Pontifications

8/15/2008

Faith and Character in the Presidential Election

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:53 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Faith and religion will be the hot topic this weekend as Southern California Pastor Rick Warren interviews Obama and McCain in back-to-back interviews Saturday:

“Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County and best-selling author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” will interview the presidential hopefuls for an hour each, back to back Saturday night in a forum that will be broadcast live from 8 to 10 p.m. EDT on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.”

Warren was recently interviewed by ABC News’ Jake Tapper and they discussed John Edwards’ affair. Warren said he would have reservations about voting for any candidate who had been unfaithful to his wife:

“TAPPER: Would you have compunctions about voting for someone who had cheated on his wife?

WARREN: Absolutely I would. Absolutely I would. Because if you can’t keep your faith to your most sacred vow – “’til death do us part” — how in the world can I trust you to lead my family? My government? My nation?…Absolutely I would. I think people first need to ask forgiveness and then earn trust back over time. Can trust be re-earned? Absolutely but it takes time.”

Meanwhile, President Bush’s pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell and his wife Suzanne, who is also a Houston pastor, have endorsed Obama and appear to be using marital fidelity as a reason to support Obama and oppose McCain:

“The Matthew 25 Network, a liberal Christian group, is running an ad in support of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, that seems to be obliquely raising the issue of Sen. John McCain’s infidelities during his first marriage. (…) The ad begins with pastor Brian McLaren saying, “As a pastor, I know you can learn a lot about a man’s character by how he treats his family.”

That’s followed by Pastor KirbyJon Caldwell – one of President George W. Bush’s spiritual advisers — attesting that “Barack is a strong man of Christian faith who has been married to his wife Michelle for 16 years.”

Caldwell also says of Obama, “Throughout his entire career he’s stood by families.”

“Including his own,” notes his wife pastor Suzette Caldwell.

“Hmmmmph!” affirms her husband.”

I have no problem with this because I’ve always thought character counts. I’m glad some Obama supporters agree.

— DRJ

46 Responses to “Faith and Character in the Presidential Election”

  1. I think character counts too, though obviously not in the same way as Obama. And it’s why I find his participation in this dog and pony show so lamentable.

    David Ehrenstein (699cff)

  2. I believe Obama’s been faithful to his wife and family, and that’s a big thing wrt to his character. I don’t think it means he’s exhibited the qualifications required to be President. I also don’t think it exempts him from other legitimate character tests (McCain is of course being evaluated with the same tests) like keeping his word with supporters, sticking to principle despite opposition, etc.

    But it’s one of the big character tests, and it speaks well of Obama.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  3. McCain will say what he thinks. Obama will work from crib notes. At the worst he’ll do a manic re-read through “The Purpose Driven Life.”

    Drinking points for the number of times The One qualifies his answer with I think.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  4. Larry Sinclair would beg to disagree on Hussein O’s loyalty to his wife/family and agree with his ability to hide the truth. [Remainder of comment deleted by DRJ.]

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  5. Agree:

    I don’t think it means he’s exhibited the qualifications required to be President. I also don’t think it exempts him from other legitimate character tests […]

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  6. I strongly suggest that anyone wondering about Obama’s religious beliefs take a look at this interview.

    I’ve heard of “cafeteria Catholics” .. this make him look like a definite cafeteria goer, but I’m not so sure about whether or not it’s even Christian.

    Neo (cba5df)

  7. That’s how the Shrub fooled me.

    I’m not looking to elect either a husband or a wife. And I believe I’m the only father my daughter needs.

    I’m voting for a tough sonofabitch who told the Viet Minh to go fuck themselves, over five and a half years of torture, and recently said “I looked into Putin’s eyes and saw the letters K, G and B”.

    nk (e69fdd)

  8. Mccain did indeed mess up with his ex-wife, but that was decades ago. He’s been unfairly targeted in the NYT and other outlets for cheating with a lobbyist, but those stories turned out to be trash.

    But has Obama been faithful to his church? What kind of church? I seem to recall that church being led by a monster, and Obama leaving it when it became unpopular. I see no character there. Mccain is hated by many for his refusal to back down from his convictions (that I often disagree with), while Obama says a different thing depending on who is in the audience.

    But yeah, there’s no evidence that Obama has cheated on his wife.

    But for Kirbyjon to bring up something Mccain did wrong many many many years ago, when he was fresh from 5 years of torture and questioning his faith and everything around him, is the complete opposite of Christianity. Mccain has apologized for his mistake, and he deserves forgiveness and understanding. I don’t understand why Kirbyjon insists on making a personal attack on someone who hasn’t done anything she can complain about in over 20 years. It’s gutter politics, and a legitimate preacher would be above that.

    That said, Obama’s high point indeed is his clearly sincere love for his kids and wife. Mccain has that too… hell, he seems to have it more when you think about all the flack he’s taken for his Bangladeshi adoptive daughter.

    Kirbyjon is a horrible person.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  9. #2 +

    It’s easy to pluck out an O! idea within a story or article. He’s the one quoted as saying I think instead of ‘We need to…’ or ‘It’s important that…’

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  10. Drinking points for every time Warren uses “absolutely”.

    kaf (25a77b)

  11. Why not follow Bill Clinton’s example, he’s willing to play pattycake with pretty much anyone’s wife, except his.

    Ropelight (492db3)

  12. I’m not a practicing anything at the present time, but was raised in the Episcopal church, and consider myself a Christian. But after reading that book a few years ago, I’m not too big a fan of Pastor Warren – there’s more than a hint of the judge from on high in there as well. I didn’t have a big problem with WJC’s incident with the intern – we all knew what he was about before he took office, and it takes fairly weird people to run for the Presidency these days. What bothered me is how reckless he behaved in that manner, and how his people went out of their way to smear and defame her, once the word was out.

    Dmac (874677)

  13. “Drinking points for the number of times The One qualifies his answer with I think.”

    VN – How about for:

    As I have consistently said

    or

    As I have always said

    Both are indications he is about to lie about a prior position. Take it to the bank.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  14. “I’m voting for a tough sonofabitch who told the Viet Minh to go fuck themselves, over five and a half years of torture, and recently said “I looked into Putin’s eyes and saw the letters K, G and B”.”

    Exactly.

    Dmac (874677)

  15. Ditto. I loved that K-G-B comment. They should do an ad with that.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  16. Of course, it could only play in selected markets.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  17. I’m with nk. I also live near the Saddleback Church and have dealt a bit with them as a member of the local planning commission. That place is an industry. We seem to have more than our share of TV ministers in Orange County. There is one headquarters along the 405 freeway that looks like a wedding cake. I kind of think they are what Jesus had in mind when He went after the moneychangers in the temple.

    Mike K (155601)

  18. ScrapIron – That is a pretty distasteful, nay, vile accusation.

    JD (5f0e11)

  19. Larry Sinclair??!!!! Jeez you people are desperate.

    David Ehrenstein (699cff)

  20. #16, Absolutely. Its big business where the object is to keep the thousands of seats filled. There’s an enormous overhead to be maintained, along with the mega church mantra, bigger is better. Unfortunately, its often accompanied by a watered-down touchy-feely view of scripture and the inevitable compromise. Meh.

    How about for:

    As I have consistently said

    or

    As I have always said

    Both are indications he is about to lie about a prior position. Take it to the bank.

    and I would add,

    What I really meant to say…

    Dana (b4a26c)

  21. Youhit the nail right on the head about the moneychangers, Mike K.

    Matthew 25, people — Matthew 25.

    David Ehrenstein (699cff)

  22. I meant #17, not #16.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  23. Racists

    JD (5f0e11)

  24. I do not call them mega-churches. I prefer the phrase “6 Flags over Jesus”.

    JD (5f0e11)

  25. Okay, that was good.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  26. Isn’t counting being faithful as a good quality really lowering the bar? It seems to be a water is wet kind of thing to me. Maybe it is praiseworthy for a politician, but in the real world, it is simply what you should do.

    JD (5f0e11)

  27. Good? I would not stand too close to me. I feel some smiting coming on.

    I just sent you a pic.

    JD (5f0e11)

  28. It’s raining and lightening here so I’ll be the first to go. The ones who laugh always get caught first.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  29. You do understand that I intend no disrespect. One of my buddies attends 6 Flags, and I have gone to their services just to see what it is like.

    JD (5f0e11)

  30. When President Bush did something like this, the cries of THEOCRACY were deafening. Interesting, that.

    JD (5f0e11)

  31. JD, I’m a believer (albeit one who probably makes God shake His head one too many times during a 24 hour cycle…) but I love Six Flags Over Jesus. LMAO! So appropos.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  32. Better!

    How about for:

    As I have consistently said

    or

    As I have always said

    Both are indications he is about to lie about a prior position. Take it to the bank.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  33. More, more-

    What I really meant to say

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  34. This is proof that this campaign…

    This just underscores that this candidate… the supporters… Never mind. That’s how the other thread hit #500.

    When President Bush did something like this, the cries of THEOCRACY were deafening. Interesting, that.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  35. JD,

    How adorable and what a knowing gaze. That means she’s smart, too. How old is she now?

    DRJ (a5243f)

  36. 4 months and a couple days, DRJ. If she is smart, that is Better Half’s part of the gene pool.

    JD (5f0e11)

  37. I’ll take your word for it. She clearly has her mother’s beauty but I think you’re pretty clever.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  38. I have my moments. Better Half would question the frequency of the moments. I learn from all y’all racists.

    I have to admit, 6 Flags Over Jesus makes me chuckle every time.

    Better Half’s intelligence, and sanity, can be validly questioned by the mere fact that she married me. She clearly has issues.

    JD (5f0e11)

  39. A man was wandering around in a field, thinking about how good his wife had been to him and how fortunate he was to have her.

    He asked God, “Why did you make her so kind-hearted?”
    The Lord responded, “So you could love her, my son.”
    “Why did you make her so good-looking?”
    “So you could love her, my son.”
    “Why did you make her such a good cook?”
    “So you could love her, my son.”

    The man thought about this. Then he said, “I don’t mean to seem ungrateful or anything, but … why did you make her so stupid?”

    “So she could love you, my son.”

    nk (e69fdd)

  40. Brilliant, nk. Spot on.

    JD (5f0e11)

  41. Obama: Uh, um, ah, uh, I have always, uh, uh, let me be as clear as I, uh, can be . . . I, uh, uh, uh, what I believe to be true [dramatic pause for emphasis] and what I have always believed, uh, and have always said [pause] is, uh, uh, uh, uh, what I mean is, um, um, uh, uh —

    Icy Truth (824779)

  42. For those familiar with the account of David in the Old Testament, you’ll recall that David stumbled greatly. He ultimately came clean, his suffered accordingly, but he finished his life strong, and he is known as “a man after God’s own heart.”

    I would submit that McCain has led a pretty fair life in the 28 years or so since his failing.

    In contrast, Obama told us in March that he wants to lead a national conversation on race. However, after noting his silence for 20 years in his racist church, I don’t see where Obama has the moral authority to lead that conversation. Indeed, Obama needs to explain how he remained silent as Wright planted hate and lies in the hearts and minds of his congregants. Obama wants a free pass NOW because he claims that he doesn’t agree with Wright’s sentiments. But what about Obama’s silence all those years?

    Obama didn’t have the resolve to stand up to Wright. We’re supposed to expect that he’ll stand up to Putin?

    I’ll mention only in passing Obama’s disgraceful position on partial-birth abortion.

    Spare me.

    SAM (c36902)

  43. My question is why are all these Christian “liberals” (Brian Mclaren is a leader of the Emerging Church) endorsing Obama? Okay, so they are, well Mr. Rick Warren aligns himself with these Pastors and so the question to me arises, while Rick Warren is not officially endorsing a candidate, is he going to use his slick used car sales chuckle to quietly endorse Obama at his church? He is sly that one. This is indeed a controversial event and I think this forum should not be held on a church campus where the week’s services are canceled so it can be held.

    Sam (8ef444)

  44. Sign of the times people, sign of the times. Oh, and SAM – it’s not just partial birth abortion, it’s his lies about the IL legislation to protect born alive children from botched abortions. He voted “present” on the bill written to stop the practice of letting them expire naturally on the shelves of soiled linen closets. But his vote of “present” (worked out in advance with Planned Parenthood), only came after some disgusting verbal gymnastics on the statehouse floor:

    There was some suggestion that we might be able to craft something that might meet constitutional muster with respect to caring for fetuses or children who were delivered in this fashion. Unfortunately, this bill goes a little bit further, and so … this is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny. Number one, whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a nine-month-old — child that was delivered to term. That determination, then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it — it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.

    That people who self-identify as Christians seek to actively provide cover for Obama on the life issue, instead of trying to provoke meaningful change, proves to me that self-identification as Christian means nothing in the world of politics. And I can easily see it getting worse. That same book that Dave Ehrenstein references even intimates that self-identified Christians will gladly support someone far worse.

    rhodeymark (a60d4a)

  45. Obama didn’t have the resolve to stand up to Wright. We’re supposed to expect that he’ll stand up to Putin?

    Late-term abortion. Racist core values. Obama is the candidate who defies description.

    The post-race candidate? I don’t think so.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  46. Mccain is hated by many for his refusal to back down from his convictions (that I often disagree with), while Obama says a different thing depending on who is in the audience.

    That’s just entertaining. McCain’s reversed positions on the following issues when it turned out that his old position might not get him the Republican nomination:
    Roe v. Wade (twice)
    Bush tax cuts
    Campaign finance reform
    The Christian Right
    …and the big one, the absolute moral failure that should disqualify him from receiving the vote from any person of conscience… torture.

    John McCain: The Candidate with Convictions.*

    * Convictions may not apply if they prove an obstacle to John McCain’s political ambitions. John McCain cannot and will not be held responsible for any convictions he may need to abandon in order to win office.

    James (293602)


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