Obama-McCain – the pastor was in the saddle

So the pastors are still in the saddle. Are reports of the eclipse of the religious right in this Presidential campaign premature? The prequel to the Obama-McCain main bout has just been held in a “Megachurch forum” in Saddleback Church California, moderated by the pastor no less, Rick Warren. The BBC’s Justin Webb appears to deplore this but EJ Dionne jnr of the Washington Post invites us to think again.


“The notion that Christianity in general and evangelicalism in particular are by nature right-wing creeds has always been wrong. How can a faith built around a commitment to the poor and the vulnerable be seen as leading ineluctably to conservative political conclusions?
And when political commentators talk about “evangelicals,” they are almost always talking about white evangelicals, forgetting that millions of African Americans are devout evangelical Christians and are hardly part of the conservative base”.

The verdict on the debate was generally mixed, McCain having the edge for crispness but with a tie registering with Huffington’s young blogger. And there was a spat over whether McCain cheated by improperly overhearing the questions to MCain.

NY Times quote
“..It was McCain’s night. Obama made no big mistakes. But his tendency to somewhat windy generalities meant he wasn’t particularly compelling. McCain, who went second, was crisp by contrast, and his anecdotes colorful.”

Will Obama continue to trim or will he stake out firm new ground for a new era of secular politics in the US?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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