How is it, with all the issues facing this nation, the first time our two main presidential candidates appeared together in the same forum the topic was faith? Sure, a candidateâ€™s faith is important because itâ€™s informative, but have we really reached a point in American politics where courting religious believers with platitudes is deemed more important than, say, having a town hall meeting/debate about energy or the economy or our military engagements?
For all the attention Rick Warrenâ€™s forum received, did we the voters learn anything? Barack Obama supports Roe v. Wade and is going to dance around the issue of when life begins. John McCain is opposed to legalized abortion and is going to sound as hard-line as he can. Both men desperately want to be seen as not just men of faith but as Christians devoted to challenging/defeating evil.
Iâ€™m not one of those people who hyperventilates over perceived violations of the separation of church and state. I donâ€™t mind at all that the candidates feel obliged to make faith part of their campaigns. What I do mind is that with the possibility of town-hall debates on the table, all the campaigns could give us before the conventions was a softball forum on faith, complete with predictable answers and time-worn stories.
Obama and McCain could give us one of the most substantive presidential campaigns in recent history. Instead, all weâ€™re getting is carefully branded products.