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Published:August 17th, 2008 22:11 EST
Rick Warren's Faith Forum Sideshow

Rick Warren's Faith Forum Sideshow

By Robert Paul Reyes

Shame on Barack Obama and John McCain for participating in the much-hyped faith forum hosted by mega-church evangelical pastor Rick Warren. In a craven attempt to win over evangelicals, the presidential candidates trampled upon the sacred doctrine of the separation of church and state and engaged in this sectarian sideshow.

This faith forum was set up for only one reason: To give the presidential candidates an opportunity to pander to the evangelical voting bloc. The International viewing audience must have been left with the false impression that America is a Christian nation where minority religious views don`t matter.

I didn`t see any Christian symbols or imagery in the Saddleback Church, but there was no mistaking the fact this was a Christian convocation with the express goal of painting the candidates into a corner where they were forced to declare their allegiance to Jesus Christ. Pastor Rick Warren prefaced most questions with a reference to a Biblical verse, but I do give the audience (congregation?) credit for clapping instead of shouting "Amen".

This was not a generic faith forum to examine the place of religion in American society, and in the lives of the presidential candidates. This was a blatant celebration of the supremacy of evangelical Christianity, and both candidates prostrated themselves before Jesus Christ, declaring him to be their savior.

Even John McCain who is reticent to discuss his faith in public recited all the proper buzz words about sin and forgiveness and faith in Jesus Christ. The only thing that would have been more disgusting would have been if McCain waxed ebullient about his sex life with his wife.

Warren`s forum was a sick spectacle and the candidates owe an apology to the Constitution and to Muslims, Jews, and atheists.

If a candidate is running for mayor, I care if he`s going to repair the potholes, and if he`s running for president I`m interested inn what he`s going to do about the federal deficit. But I don`t give a flying fig what a politician thinks about Jesus Christ, that`s his own personal business.

I am so ashamed of our presidential candidates, that I won`t even critique their performances. There were no memorable quips or gaffes, the lasting impression was of a religious sideshow that should have no place in American politics.