10 Questions Rick Warren Should Ask John McCain
The big political event of the weekend is Rick Warren’s confab at his Saddleback Church, where he was able to get both Barack Obama and John McCain to come and answer questions. Jon Perr writing at Crooks and Liars came up with some good ones, among them:
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1. In 2006, you recanted your claim six years earlier that Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell were “agents of intolerance.” What changed your mind?
During the 2000 campaign, you famously claimed that the late Jerry Falwell was an “agent of intolerance.” But when Meet the Press’ Tim Russert on April 2, 2006 asked whether you “still believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?” you reversed yourself and said, “no, I don’t.” The next month, you gave the commencement address at Reverend Falwell’s Liberty University. Just weeks earlier, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart asked you, “Are you going into crazy base world?” to which you replied, “I’m afraid so.” Why did you change your position on Falwell and Robertson being agents of intolerance? Were you pandering to the “crazy base world” of Republican primary voters?
2. You’ve said, “The most important thing is that I am a Christian.” Why is that the most important thing?
Campaigning in South Carolina last fall, you responded to questions about whether you were a Baptist or an Episcopalian by proclaiming, “the most important thing is that I am a Christian.” What did you mean by that? Was your Christian faith the most important thing for you personally, or just for the heavily evangelical voters of South Carolina?
3. Speaking of which, are you an Episcopalian or a Baptist?
You were raised as an Episcopalian and during your “Service to America” tour in April made a point of visiting your old prep school, Episcopal High. A Congressional directory lists your religion as Episcopalian, as did a questionnaire your campaign staffers completed in August for a debate in South Carolina. Yet you’ve attended the 7,000 member North Phoenix Baptist Church for 15 years. Despite never having been baptized, you said of your faith in September, “It plays a role in my life. By the way, I’m not Episcopalian. I’m Baptist.” So just to clear up any lingering confusion, are you an Episcopalian or a Baptist?
4. Will you ask your supporters to respect Barack Obama’s Christian faith?
On more than one occasion, you pledged to run a “respectful” campaign. Yet despite Barack Obama’s repeated and heartfelt proclamations of his Christian faith, many in the conservative movement accuse Obama of being a Muslim. Polling data show that the percentage of American who believe Barack Obama is a Muslim increased to 12% in July. Do you believe Barack Obama is a Christian? Will you ask your supporters to stop promulgating the myth that his is a Muslim? Will you ask them to respect Obama’s Christian faith? For that matter, will you ask them to respect the faith of Muslim Americans?
5. Do you agree with Pastor John Hagee that war with Iran is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy?
Back in February, you shared a stage with Pastor John Hagee and said you were “very proud” to have his endorsement. Then in May, you announced that you “must reject his endorsement, given “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks he had made about the Holocaust. But given your own tough talk and past jokes about “bomb bomb Iran” and killing Iranians with cigarettes, do you join Pastor Hagee in believing the United States must attack Iran to fulfill the biblical prophecy of Armageddon in Israel in which 144,000 Jews will be converted to Christianity and the rest killed?
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