New York Times Comments On Rick Warren's Forum

Posted at 11:47am on 21st August 2008


Should politics and religion mix? This is the question which is vexing the readers of the New York Times – and probably many more of the population.


An article by the columnist William Kristol, titled Showdown at Saddleback, was what prompted the dispute. It seems that Rev. Rick Warren staged a question and answer session with Barack Obama and John McCain, the two main US presidential candidates, at the large, evangelical church over which he presides. His method of probing was, according to Mr Kristol, equally fair to both candidates and allowed viewers to hear ‘revealingly different’ answers to the same questions. Rick Warren, he concluded, should moderate one of the up-coming autumn presidential debates.


This view has prompted a flurry of responses, most of them, from my limited observation, on the negative side. One commentator hopes that this will be ‘the last of the religiously oriented forums and that the important matters of the day will be discussed without a faith-based overlay.’ Another asks, scathingly, if this is to be the ‘new litmus test for political viability?’ And yet another phrases their opprobrium, not as a question but as a statement, condemning the event as duplicitous (a religious affair disguised as a political forum) and both candidates and media for ‘allowing themselves to be manipulated into giving it legitimacy’.


Given that the questions directed at each of the presidential candidates include the following, I personally, am all in favour of a forum where the belief system of a potential political leader may be tested. I recall, years ago, a similar debate on issues such as abortion with the candidates canvassing to become our local Member of Parliament. To my mind, questions like these are less to do with their adherence to a particular creed (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) than with how they will react to national and world events. How, in fact, they will govern us and represent us on the world arena.


Below are some of the questions posed by Rick Warren. See what you think, and let me know by leaving a comment in the box at the end of this Post. Remember, your contact details will never be visible to others, and will never be abused by being revealed.


    • Does evil exist
    • and if it does, do we ignore it?
    • Do we negotiate with it?
    • Do we contain it?
    • Do we defeat it?

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