With Video, McCain Has Some Evangelicals Believing He’s One of Them

Tonight’s presidential candidate forum at Rick Warren’s Saddleback church has political pundits and in-the-pews religious voters wondering whether John McCain will finally open up about his personal faith, something his Democratic opponent has been doing for years. But some of the nation’s top conservative Christian activists have already seen a glimpse of McCain discussing the influence of his religion in his life in deeply personal terms, in the form of a Christian television interview with McCain that his campaign has been screening for religious audiences.”This was groundbreaking,” says Bishop Harry Jackson, a conservative evangelical pastor and activist who attended a meeting with the McCain aides in Washington, DC earlier this summer at which they screened a video of the interview, first broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network in March 2007. “He talked about what it was like as a prisoner of war and what his faith meant to him and how his faith sustained him. It was very clear in the TBN interview that he was saying he was one of us, one of the evangelical fold. And for whatever reason, he’s been avoiding that kind of assertion nationally.”McCain was raised in the Episcopal Church, though he’s attended a Baptist church in Arizona for more than 15 years and said on the campaign trail last year that he was a Baptist, though he’s since referred to himself simply as a Christian.McCain’s “faith interview” originally ran on “First to Know,” a program on TBN, which describes itself as “the world’s largest religious network and America’s most watched faith channel.” TBN does not offer a video or DVD versions of its programs for purchase, and the full video is not available online. A McCain aide says it will likely to be posted to a new evangelical section of the campaign’s web site that is scheduled to launch in the next week or two.Watch clips of the video here:A McCain aide says the campaign began screening the video for Christian audiences in Iowa in advance of this year’s caucuses there, and that it had begun showing it to national evangelical leaders in late spring or early summer. “The exciting thing about the piece is that it wasn’t generated after Obama started talking about faith–it was a piece that showed he was engaged [on faith issues] before the Iowa caucuses,” the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. “It will be used more often… we have plans for using it in a larger arena.”The aide said McCain is likely to echo some of the themes from the video in tonight’s Saddleback forum. That’s exactly what many Christian activists want to hear. “I’m hoping that the Rick Warren interview will have McCain sharing [his faith] with the same sincerity and even charisma of that interview,” says Harry Jackson, who is close to the national leadership of the Christian Right. “This guy is not avoiding a discussion about his faith because he doesn’t have faith. It’s because he doesn’t want to merchandize his faith. That’s a huge distinction as far as why he’s not talking.”3

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posted August 16, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I admire that he called on his faith during such a severe crisis, as we must admit that many do, but when has McCain called on his faith in the 45 years that have followed his Vietnam experience?

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posted August 16, 2008 at 12:26 pm

His faith is all about three words – prisoner of war. He often talks about a cross that was drawn in the sand by one of his captors. That doesn’t say anything about his faith – rather, it speaks about the faith of the guy who drew the cross.
What about his day to day life? What about his salvation? Obama has talked about how he gave his life to his Lord and Saviour Jesus – has john McCain? What about his values? After commiting adultery, abandoning his handicapped wife and marrying a model 20 years younger, has he recognized that the grace of God is sufficient for him? Or maybe he thinks he doesn’t need grace.
After he said he threw bombs on vietnamese and didn’t feel any remorse, has he ever felt convicted by the Holy Spirit? I understand he was doing his job, but has he come to the point where he recognizes that all things are passed away, all things have become new because of the blood of Jesus? The man just doesn’t say a damn thing to reassure Evangelicals and it’s understandable – he’s just not a faith guy. HE’S JUST NOT ONE OF US. What’s disappointing is that our leaders are trying to force him to at least fake it.
When he talked about volunteering his wife to take part in a topless contest, no one in the evangelical community called him out on it. Imagine if Barack Obama had said the same thing.
In the real America, there’s no way Evangelicals would back John McCain.

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Paul, seeking wisdom.

posted August 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

The Religious Right are only self serving Republicans trying to justify their biased and limited beliefs in self preservation. They will close their eyes and bite their lips and vote for McCain because they are Republicans first and Christians only in name.
True conservative Christians will weight all issues and vote their hearts and minds. Maybe half of them will vote for McCain and the other half will vote for Obama.
After tonight and the Rick Warren interviews, people who are open minded Christians will have a clearer view as to how they should vote. My mind was made up some time ago and it was a faith based choice. But to the many of “undecided” out there, make the choice that you feel will be the best man to lead this Nation back into a path of righteousness.

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posted August 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

I don’t think I could ever trust the faith of a man who both committed adultery and left his ravaged wife to fend for herself after her horrible accident. Those actions speak for the soul of the man; he may have faith but he surely does not practice it.

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Charles Cosimano

posted August 17, 2008 at 3:38 am

Whether they approve of his personal history or not, whether they like him or not, Evangelicals get a simple choice. They can vote for McCain or have at least four years of Obama.

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posted August 17, 2008 at 11:52 am

Charles Cosimano – sounds like a foreign name to me…what part of the world did your ancestors come from? What is wrong, really with Barack Obama? I am calling you on it!

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Jan Guyton

posted August 18, 2008 at 3:19 pm

It appears that you are looking for some reason to discredit McCain’s story. Haven’t you ever talked to someone about an experience that you had and the person you were talking with had had a similar one? He didn’t tell the exact same story and he didn’t use the same wording. There have been other stories of people drawing a cross or a fish on the ground to reveal their Christianity. The man spent 5 and a half years in a prison camp being beaten and tortured so that now he is unable to raise his arms above his shoulders. I would say unless you were there and know for a fact that it didn’t happen, then you shouldn’t try to imply that the story was “lifted” from someone else.

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PFC Brandon Ryan

posted August 18, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Pastor Warren doesn’t even know where McSame was during the time that Senator Obama was being interviewed.
If you’re stuck in traffic in your limo, chances are pretty good your staff is listening to the forum via countless available sources.
Doesn’t anyone recall the first Faith forum which McSame was invited to when it was down to three candidates; Hillary, Barack, McCain.
Only the Democrats showed up. McCain, who everyone knows does not even attend church unless he notifies the media in advance for PR purposes, refused to attend the Faith Forum conducted by Soledad O’Brien.
Mr. McSame mentioned his first wife – and yet he failed to explain how it failed because he dumped her for a much younger woman. He failed to also mention Vicki Iseman, who he was with during his second marriage.
Yeah, your meter is real accurate. In your DREAMS.

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John Lofton, Recovering Republican

posted August 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm

An additional thought, please. If, as McCain says, he believes babies have rights at conception, why is he for abortion exceptions? Why does he think it should remain “legal”* to murder innocent unborn babies in the womb if they are in the womb because of rape or incest? Why didn’t Warren ask him this question?
John Lofton, Editor,
* Abortion is never legal because all abortions are murder.

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posted August 21, 2008 at 1:23 am

I don’t see how family values voters like myself can consider a candidate who cheated on his first wife with multiple women, then left her to marry a beer model flush with cash, and launch his political career. He filed marriage license papers for his new marriage before he even ended his first. Disgusting. How can we trust someone like this?
Add to this that he was one of the Keating Five, his wife misused charity and employee info to steal drugs, he keeps making attack ads that are demonstrable lies, however much I like their political effects. What does he stand for? I have trouble respecting a man like him, and am considering sitting this one out.
Odd Note: I may dislike Obama’s policies, but at least he seemed to talk about a personal relationship with Christ. McCain seemed to just go back to his (moving) POW stories to cover up his discomfort.

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posted August 29, 2008 at 11:36 am

I think all of you are missing a lot here.
Firstly: We are all sinners in the sight of God.
Secondly: Fiona…A Christian cannot possibly vote against an bill that protects babies who live through an abortion and are outside the womb. No one who has a “personal relationship with Christ” could do that. That is what is really wrong with Obama in my humble opinion.
Read about St. Augustine’s Just War tradition. There are some cases where defending oneself or one’s country, or helping others in a country run by a violent dictatorship is justified.
See this: 10 concerns about Obama

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posted September 3, 2008 at 1:39 am

Senator Fred Thompson has a peculiar idea of what good character is. At the Republican National Convention, after saying proudly that John McCain was a major discipline problem (giving credit to his genetics, i.e. mother and father), and telling a story about his dating a girl who worked in a bar as an exotic dancer under the name of Marie, the Flame of Florida, he tells us that his behavior as a prisoner of war further proves his character. According to an article favorable to John McCain, called Prisoner of war by Dan Nowicki, Bill Muller in The Arizona Republic on Mar. 1, 2007 10:32 AM, McCain says that after being beaten (note he was not water-boarded, just beaten) he signed a confession saying “I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died and the Vietnamese people saved my life, thanks to the doctors.”
I am sure that John McCain like many others, including John Kerry, is a war hero, but details of John war stories seems to change to fit the Republican priorities of the moment.
The stories that seems to never change are that John was fifth from the bottom of his class and a disciplinary problem at the Navel Academy, leading other young men into undisciplined behavior, including undisciplined behavior involving women; and, believe it or not, he and the Republicans seem to be proud of all this. Furthermore, let’s not forget that he committed a string of adulteries against his first wife who had waited for him during his time as a prisoner of war and then divorced her.
I don’t get it. It is the Republican’s who are always talking about setting examples for our youth. This is an example of what they think is a good example?

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