As the electorate focuses on economic downturn, high energy prices and
war, evangelicals are promising to turn the election rhetoric to
abortion and gay marriage. While McCain and Obama are both journeying
to Rick Warren’s California megachurch on Saturday, thousands of
evangelicals are heading to Washington, D.C., for "The Call." The purpose, said organizer Lou Engle, is to “drive the issue of abortion like a wedge into the soul of the nation.” Mike Huckabee will
be featured prominently at the event.
The group has put together a video touting "50 million babies
murdered" (see below) and claiming that the 9/11 attacks have biblical roots.
Engel and other religious right leader are calling on McCain to be more
zealous in espousing social conservative talking points –
specifically, by calling for a constitutional amendment to block gay
marriage and denouncing his own past support for stem cell research. “I don’t trust John McCain,” said Engle.
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi profiles McCain’s religion and his relationship to the religious right.
McCain recently started regularly attending church, or at least that’s
the impression his campaign gave reporters. According to Taibbi, "Yeah,
they started telling us he was going to church about a month ago," one
McCain-beat reporter chuckled to me on the Straight Talk Express.
"Like, Oh, by the way, he’s going to church again. At this address, if
you want to check. . . ."
Some nuggets from the story: McCain is not born again. He has not been
baptized in his Baptist church. Baptism being a central tenet of
evangelical faith, the revelation could spell trouble in some
But, the McCain campaign is nonetheless working hard to curry favor among the evangelical set. McCain is courting former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed,
who will be headlining a fundraiser for the presumptive Republican
nominee. (Reed also serves to remind voters of the Republicans’
involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal — Reed took Abramoff’s
scandal tainted money to do PR work.)
The Rev. Jerry Falwell may have passed on, but his spirit is still alive
in McCain’s mind. He keeps an autographed copy of Falwell’s picture in
his office. In fact, it’s the only politically oriented picture in his
office. The signature from Falwell reads, "You are a great American, a
national treasure and I am glad to say my good friend." Apparently,
attitudes change: during the 2000 presidential campaign, McCain called
Falwell an "agent of intolerance."