mccain4.jpgAt Wake Forest University this morning, John McCain delivered his most detailed comments to date on his vision for the federal judiciary, including, most importantly, the Supreme Court. McCain’s support for “strict constitutionalist” judges is supposed to be his big (perhaps biggest) selling point with the Christian Right, whose leaders have long expressed skepticism of him. But God-o-Meter notes that a few key phrases were missing from McCain’s speech:

religious liberty
gay marriage

Here’s as close as McCain got to addressing a specific issue of great importance to the Christian Right:

Then there was the case of the man in California who filed a suit against the entire United States Congress, which I guess made me a defendant too. This man insisted that the words “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violated his rights under the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit court agreed, as it usually does when litigious people seek to rid our country of any trace of religious devotion. With an air of finality, the court declared that any further references to the Almighty in our Pledge were — and I quote — “impermissible.” And it was so ordered — generations of pious, unoffending custom supposedly overturned by one decree out of a courtroom in San Francisco. And now it turns out the same litigant is back for more in the Ninth Circuit, this time demanding that the words “In God We Trust” be forever removed from our currency. I have a feeling this fellow will get wind of my remarks today — and we’re all in for trouble when he hears that we met in a chapel.

Those lines will score some points among conservative evangelical activists, to be sure, but God-o-Meter wonders if, by mostly avoiding talk of hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage, McCain fed social conservatives’ concerns about his commitment to their cause. They’re most worried about his apparent lack of passion for hot button social issues, and if he’s not bringing them up in these kind of settings, does that make him more liable to select a “consensus” nominee to the Supreme Court? That, quite simply, is the Christian Right’s worst nightmare.
(You can read the full transcript of McCain’s remarks here)


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