Thursday, August 21, 2008

Civil Forum on the Presidency

Did you catch the forum last Saturday? We couldn't watch it at the time but taped it. I just got a chance to see it. If you haven't seen it, you should. Here's a website for viewing the interviews, also with a link to the transcript.

A few thoughts:

1. Seems to me there is a change in the air regarding the public declaration of faith in politics. I can't remember an election where so many in the running claimed unabashedly to be Christians.

2. This forum was a great opportunity to hear questions asked that you wouldn't hear anywhere else. We did hear some of the expected morality-based questions on abortion and stem cell research. But there were also some surprises such as "What has been your greatest moral failure?"

3. I thought Obama did well--until I saw McCain. The latter surprised me. Although I tend to agree with more of his views, McCain has hardly struck me as a good speaker or a very charismatic person. But in this forum he really did shine. Some of the stories he told brought tears to my eyes, and--at one point--a glimmer to his own. I saw more of who John McCain is in this forum than I've ever seen before.

4. The forum seemed very fair. A coin toss determined who went first. With McCain last, he waited in a soundproof area so he couldn't hear Obama's answers. The questions were exactly the same, the only difference being that McCain got to answer one or two more because some of his answers were more succinct and left extra time.

5. The relaxed interview style worked. With no timing on answers, each candidate could take as long as he wanted on any given question. Both men seemed to answer from the heart with less of the "stump speech" rhetoric we hear in other venues.

6. Of course there were many differences in the way the two men answered questions. One of the greatest differences for me was in response to the question, "Does evil exist, and if so, do we ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it, or defeat it?" Obama's first words in response: "Evil does exist. I mean we see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who have viciously abused their children, and I think it has to be confronted. It has to be confronted squarely ..." McCain's immediate answer: "Defeat it."

7. As Pastor Rick Warren said (paraphrased), "We need to learn to have discourse and disagreement in a civil way and without disparaging the other side." This forum accomplished that goal.

Your thoughts?


Amy said...

First of all, I completely agree with Rick Warren that we need to learn to disagree without demonizing each other and it was exciting to see a pastor take charge in that area.

Truth is, I really admire both of these men and there are bits of both of them that really appeal to me. I still have no idea who I am going to vote for.

One funny thing about John McCain saying defeat evil...My dad (also a pastor whom I watched this with) rolled his eyes (and he's most likely voting for McCain) and said..."you aren't going to defeat evil." True words and such a great reminder that no matter how important this election seems, our true King is still Jesus and only He can really defeat evil.

Thanks for posting about this!

Anonymous said...

That this could even take place in a church runs contrary to the leftist mantra about separation of "church and state" and the tax exempt status of churches having to be non-political to hold onto it . . .
While Mr. Obama might have some interesting opinions, he has very little real experience in government. His most denigrating quality, however, is that he can't define when life begins, and he has voted for all forms of abortion and for allowing a viable aborted baby (one who has survived a botched abortion) to die without lifesaving assistance. Yeah, I'd say there is evil in the world.
And while we in and of ourselves cannot "defeat" evil, neither can we not war against it in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Amy said...

I have to admit the abortion issue is the most troubling part about Obama to me.

I will not vote exclusively on that issue, but Obama is so far left on it that it makes me dreadfully uncomfortable.

I don't agree that America needs to defeat evil and I do in fact find that particular attitude slightly troubling as well. As a Christian I fight against evil, sure, but America is a state, a government, a religion unto itself if you will. As such it can never defeat evil nor will it rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do so...

Anonymous said...

I won't argue against your position, Amy, because I do understand what you are saying. No country can "save" the world. But this country, right and wrong, has stood up against oppression when other countries would not or could not. We are not the world "police", but even with all of our faults and failings, we are still a nation built on the Biblical principles of truth and freedom. No, we haven't always lived by them, but we have fought for them.

Adam David Collings said...

We've jsut gone through s similar experienced in Australia late last year. Christianity seemed to be a high profile issue which was suprising to me, since by population we have less committed Christians than in America. The Australian Christian Lobbey organised a forum much like yours where The Prime Minister, and Opposition Leader (who both publicly claimed to be Christians) were asked questions on issues of interest to Christians.