I have no doubt there are comical loonies who think Sunday school buses shouldn't be allowed to use the public roads. But I go as far out of my way to avoid them as I do to avoid people who want to rant about Ayn Rand. The two lots have much in common.
For the moment, let's set aside our curiosity about what Jesus might do in a given circumstance and wonder what our Founding Fathers would have done at Saddleback Church.
"Reverend Meza, Reverend Reck, I'm grateful for your generous invitation to state my views. While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, ... I am not the Catholic candidate for President.
I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic.
I do not speak for my church on public matters; and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views -- in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise. "
"McCain’s staff bristled at suggestions that McCain listened to the broadcast [of Obama's Q&A with Rev. Rick Warren] while en route to the church.
'The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,' said McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace. [NYT, Aug. 18, 2008]
What McCain’s Vietnam War-era POW status had to do with this wasn’t clear. But it was clear that Warren’s assurance that 'we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence' wasn’t true, nor was McCain’s light-hearted remark about trying to hear through the wall."*
"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
This may be difficult for those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of the possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing."
"Yes, people can vote according to their convictions. But people in America need to remind themselves that they should vote for those politicians who support their interests...not those who echo their personal style or religious convictions or taste in food, etc. This is part of a much larger problem. ... I'm aware that people are free to vote on whatever basis they choose to, but certain choices might, and do, hurt the democratic political process. The reason we need government is to secure our interests."
"As others have pointed out, professions of religious faith have nothing to do with either real piety..."
"Eric Kleefeld notices that McCain aides referred back to McCain's time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam in defending him from the mockery over his houses.
'This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison,' says spokesman Rogers.
It does seem like they're flirting with Giuliani/9/11 territory here, in which at subject that seems utterly immune to humor, used as a first resort, suddenly becomes a running joke among your political enemies and your late night comic friends.
McCain himself, it should be noted, doesn't tend to talk about his prisoner-of-war experience in random contexts; but his staff and surrogates have been doing it a bit lately.
UPDATE: That is, he doesn't put his experience to political use, or frame his views relative to it, the way Giuliani did 9/11. He did, a reader notes, mention Vietnam to justify his preference for ABBA.
FOR EXAMPLE: A reader points out that liberal blogger John Aravosis predicted McCain's campaign would refer to his POW experience today; then the campaign did."
"Once a remarkable and respected aspect of his biography, John McCain stands on the brink of 'trivializing' his past as a prisoner of war, which has become a 'crutch in the campaign,' Newsweek's Howard Fineman declared Thursday.
'I think they are going to it way too many times. It's the original story that defined John McCain, that still when you read it in his book "Faith of my Fathers," when you read about it in "The Nightingale's Song," you can't help but have admiration and respect for the guy. And I think he wisely for many years stayed away from it as a political tool, he really did. But now it not only defines him, it's become a crutch in the campaign. And I think he is in danger of trivializing it. By the time they get to the convention in St. Paul, there might not be much of it left to use.'"
"The McCain campaign has spent weeks trying to portray Obama as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans. Today, an interviewer at Politico.com asked McCain how many homes he and his wife owned, to which he responded that he was not sure but would get someone from his staff to answer.
Contrary to what many will tell you, this does not make McCain out of touch with ordinary Americans, as many families today are in trouble with their banks and trying to figure out how many homes they have - zero or one.
Still, it's the campaign's defense we find deeply troubling:'This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison.'We obviously honor and respect McCain's service and the five-and-a-half years of horror that he went through at the hands of the North Vietnamese; but it's not an excuse for everything. He has already used it to explain away his infidelities in his first marriage. He's used it to defend his healthcare plan. He just the other day used it to deflect accusations of having skirted the rules of the Saddleback forum.
It's time for the Senator to stop cheapening the war experiences of thousands of vets and his fellow POWs, and his own as well, by stretching the boundaries of logic to make his POW status a wild-card rebuttal to all accusations or an answer to all difficult questions.
We are veterans who like John McCain, who served honorably, but and we continue to serve our country honorably by not using our military experiences as unjustifiable necessary shields or stepping stones. John McCain has faced and will continue to face many difficult questions that he does not have an answer for, and problems to which that he will provides no solutions to, in the 70 days between now and the election. When he uses his status as a veteran to deflect legitimate questions and concerns, it devalues not just his service to our country but ours as well.
So today, we ask not as Veterans for Obama, but as Veterans of America that Sen. McCain respect the service of his fellow POWs and combat veterans, and stop cheapening their service by hiding behind his own."
'This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison.'
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE ME ASKING YOU THESE QUESTIONS?
So the candidate is doing exactly what Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld did in her popular cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. He's sneaking a little of his bad-tasting reproductive rights stance into the meatloaf of his candidacy
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