Sunday, August 17, 2008
USA Today: Religion, ethics experts comment on forum, by Cathy Lynn Grossman:
Sen. Barack Obama, frequently leaning on Bible passages, and Sen. John McCain, sharply delineating his opposition to abortion, sought to burnish their Christian credentials with voters Saturday night in a civil forum at a California mega church.
The presidential candidates took very different approaches to the same set of questions by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and author of the mega-selling Bible study book, The Purpose-Driven Life.
Both candidates were asked when a "baby" first acquires "human rights." Obama answered that he supports Roe v. Wade, but added that "On this particular issue, if you believe that life begins at conception ... and you are consistent, then I can't argue with you on that. What I can do is say, are there ways we can work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies?" McCain said he believes that human rights attach "upon conception," something that cannot be squared with his support for rape and incest exceptions or for stem cell research (although Warren gave him a pass on those inconsistencies). For coverage on the candidates' comments on abortion, see: McCain and Obama try to navigate the politics of abortion (LA Times); Sharing stage, Obama and McCain split on abortion (AP). CNN Politics has a link to a video of the forum.
Warren also asked the candidates which Supreme Court Justices they would not have nominated. Obama named Clarence Thomas, while McCain listed all four of the Court's most liberal Justices. CNN Politics.com: Obama, McCain talk issues at pastor's forum:
"I don't think [Thomas] was a strong enough jurist or a legal thinker at the time for that. I profoundly disagree with his interpretation" of the Constitution, [Obama] said.
McCain said he would have never nominated Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.
"This nomination should be based on the criteria on a proven record of strictly adhering to the Constitution and not legislating from the bench," McCain added.
The Arizona senator said he was "proud" of President Bush for nominating conservative Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the court.