Sen. Barack Obama famously said he "welcomed" a debate with Sen. John McCain and would meet him "anytime, anywhere, but, since then, the presidential candidates have been unable to agree to a series of town hall meetings. You'll be happy to hear they have finally agreed on their first joint appearance: At a mega-church.
The Rev. Rick Warren has persuaded the candidates to attend a forum at his Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16. In an interview, Mr. Warren said over the weekend that the presidential candidates would appear together for a moment but that he would interview them in succession at his megachurch. ...
Mr. Warren, the author of the best-selling book "The Purpose-Driven Life," said he had called each man personally to invite him to his event, which will focus on how they make decisions and on some of Mr. Warren’s main areas of focus, like AIDS, poverty and the environment. ...
He said that both had readily agreed, perhaps reflecting how each candidate is courting the evangelical audience to whom Mr. Warren ministers..
The event will be co-sponsored by Faith in Public Life, the same ecumenical religious group that held the CNN Compassion Forum at the anti-gay Messiah College in Pennsylvania in April attended by Obama and primary challenger Hillary Clinton. Transcript here.
This wouldn't be the first time Obama sat on the stage at Warren's Baptist mega-church. In November 2006, Rod 2.0 reported on the controversy among Christian right evangelicals surrounding Obama's appearance at Saddleback to attend an evangelical AIDS summit. They were not pleased.
Rev. Rick Warren is a social conservative but not cut from the same rabidly anti-gay cloth as the James Dobsons and Harry Jacksons. Warren is far more passive-aggressive, such as preaching against benefits and and rights for gay couples, but, welcoming gay dad's for Father's Day. But not showing up. Or, preaching compassion for gay youth, but, refusing to meet with Soulforce.
In late June, Obama said he would expand the Bush Administration's faith-based initiatives office and faith outreach would be a "critical" part of his White House..
Some Background ...
"Pastor Warren, Would You Let a White Supremacist Speak at Your Church?" [R20]
"Christians" Opposed to Obama[R20]
Far-Right Not Interested in Disease [R20]
Far-Right Not Interested in Disease Pt 2[R20]
Obama: Not "Very Christian" to Criticize Gays [R20]
Obama: Hospital Visitation for Gay Couples is "Not a Special Privilege" [R20]
Behind the Gay-Friendly Faces [The Advocate + PDF]
A Tale of Two Cities [The Advocate]
I Have a Dream ... Ticket [The Advocate]