Warren's commission

The Los Angeles Times had a nice story on Pastor Rick Warren and Saturday's appearance of presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest.

I've become a big fan of Warren over the years. Despite being the Billy Graham of his generation, Warren has avoided the pitfalls of fame and fortune. He now gives 90% of his income away, he's purposefully stayed clear of any a whiff of a scandal (he handles none of the church's money, he turned down chances for a television show, and he won't be alone in a room -- or even an elevator -- with a woman who is not his wife).

He's also grown over the years and has more fully embraced the message of Jesus by, among other things, leading the way for evangelicals to get involved in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Prior to Warren's involvement, the Christian Right had been shamefully silent on the issue.

All that said, I'm guessing Saturday's "debate" will be disappointing to most Americans. The format is the problem. Warren, a friend of both candidates, will introduce McCain and Obama, and then interview them separate. If candidates on "Meet the Press" get thrown fastballs and curves by the moderator, McCain and Obama will get a series of slow, juicy pitches right down the middle of the plate that they will hit over the fence. The presidential hopefuls will look, ah, presidential, but viewers will leave unsatisfied by the powder-puff format.

Too bad. Warren would have been the perfect person to referee an exciting, provocative, unscripted, free form AND civilized exchange between the two candidates. That's what voters want to see. Not a job interview. Not a stilted debate with time limits and manufactured sound bites. Just two hopefuls, sitting around the table, passionately detailing their vision for America and pointing out the weakness in their opponent's argument.

14 comments:

Jim of L-Town said...

Good post. You're right, this had opportunity written all over it.
Evangelicals are up-in-arms over Obama's very liberal stance on abortion and John McCain barely mentions his faith and just exactly, what is his faith anyway?
Pro-life questions could also be asked of McCain, who enthusiastically supports a war that has killed tens of thousands of civilians and children.
It would be wonderful to see them both grilled. But, alas, you are right, won't happen.

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