Sen. Obama confessed to struggling with drugs and alcohol as a teenager, mourned the fact that America has not always followed the biblical mandate to protect the poor, and suggested that being pro-choice did not amount to being pro-abortion. Sen. McCain shared a story of silent worship with one of his Vietnamese guards, mentioned his own failures in his first marriage, and promised to be a pro-life President. The Audience clapped politely for both men, but seemed most excited that their issues were being addressed. The Saddleback Civil Forum on National Leadership may not gain the attention of the party conventions or the media coverage of the debates, but it is worth noting that when the two major party candidates for the Presidency first appeared together on a stage during this election season, then did so arm in arm with an evangelical pastor.
Less than a hour after the Senators left Saddleback church, youtube and the blogosphere began to percalate with popular reaction. “See,” some evangelicals argued, “McCain really is one of us!” “Obama has declared war on the unborn,” others argued. Conservative evangelcials and fundamentalists will no doubt find confirmation that McCain is more in line with traditional conservative religious values and issues than is Obama, but Obama’s performance showed that he is far from the secular left on issues like the definition of marriage and federal support of faith based organizations.
Both candidates seemed to be at ease with Warren, who asked each Senator the same batch of questions, though the wording was sometimes a bit different. This format generated a striking forum and drew sharp contrasts between the candidates. Below you will find links that take you to CNN.com and allow you watch the entire forum in four parts.