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Obama, McCain Plan Joint Appearance at Rick Warren's Church

By Shailagh Murray
Dr. Rick Warren, one of the country's most prominent megachurch preachers, announced today that Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama would make their first joint campaign appearance on Saturday, Aug. 16 at Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

The two presumptive nominees will attend the "Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion," moderated by Warren, who founded the 22,000-member Orange County church and wrote the best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life."

Two years ago, Warren stirred controversy by inviting Obama to speak at a Saddleback AIDS conference. But while conservatives were furious at Warren for reaching out to a pro-choice Democrat, Obama's appearance was part of a larger outreach effort to religious leaders, relationships that the Illinois senator has cultivated since he was elected in 2004.

For McCain, the Saddleback appearance is an opportunity to strengthen his own ties to evangelicals, who have never been one of his primary constituencies.

"We're honored that the candidates chose The Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion for their first joint appearance, an unprecedented opportunity for America to hear both men back-to-back on the same platform," Warren said in a statement released by Saddleback. "This is a critical time for our nation and the American people deserve to hear both candidates speak from the heart -- without interruption -- in a civil and thoughtful format absent the partisan 'gotcha' questions that typically produce heat instead of light."

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 21, 2008; 11:30 AM ET
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Reverand Rick Warren owes the American people an explanation and an apology. It seemed a little strange at the time, when John McCain was answering questions before they were completed. Now it is know; McCain was not in a "cone of silence." In fact, he wasn't even on the premises--and Warren knew it.

Not only didn't Warren protect the integrity of the process he proclaimed, he clearly set Obama up and lied to the American people. Of course, it says something about John McCain's integrity that he would lie, too, and claim he was trying to "listen at the wall" of a chamber he was not even in.

And this is Christianity at play in politics? Some improvement.

Posted by: John Poswall | August 18, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

It's unbelievable that Obama cannot answer a simple quesiton about when he thinks babies have "human rights," instead dodging it by saying it is "above my pay grade." If he is president, who is above his pay grade?

As Not WRIGHT for America ( points out, Obama clearly does not believe life begins at birth, that's why he voted agains the Infants Born Alive Protection Act. So when does he think life begins, 1 month, 1 year? Oh, that's right, above his pay grade! What he means is we should ask Planned Parenthood. That's who he takes orders from on this issue.

Posted by: Gypsy Man | August 18, 2008 3:04 AM | Report abuse

I am just curious as the how much "Bro. Rick" had to pay to get this to happen at "his" church??

Posted by: kenny | August 17, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Iam a christian who is not wanting to "turn the other cheek anymore". For those of you Marxists writing your comments on this post, if you think for 1 second a nationalist such as myself will roll over and capitulate to a failed form of government such as socialism or communism, man brother you are kicking a hornets nest! Love this country with it faults or move you and your like minded brethren to one of the utopian countries. Oh, I forgot, most of the people that live in those societies are trying to get here. It's a shame they don't have the freedom or the means to do so. But don't forget you CAN leave. I for one wish you would.You all talk a good game, there are a lot more Americans who would rather die than change to those FAILED systems of TYRANNY! You are trying to remove my opinion even though I said nothing harmful, I spoke the truth. Ina Marxist society I would expect that, but not here where we have the ability to discuss our veiws. If we lived in a system like a few of your bloggers propose, I would expect you to remove my post.

Posted by: Mark | August 17, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Iam a christian who is not wanting to "turn the other cheek anymore". For those of you Marxists writing your comments on this post, if you think for 1 second a nationalist such as myself will roll over and capitulate to a failed form of government such as socialism or communism, man brother you are kicking a hornets nest! Love this country with it faults or move you and your like minded brethren to one of the utopian countries. Oh, I forgot, most of the people that live in those societies are trying to get here. It's a shame they don't have the freedom or the means to do so. But don't forget you CAN leave. I for one wish you would.You all talk a good game, there are a lot more Americans who would rather die than change to those FAILED systems of TYRANNY!

Posted by: Mark | August 17, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

How credible can Obama's current religious statements be, when they follow a 20 year track record as a disciple of radical leaders like Wright, Farakan, Moss, and Phleiiger? Since Obama has done virtually nothing as a senator, is being a community organizer enough of a qualification to be President of the United States? Instead of listening to Obama's words, we should look at his deeds, which are pretty empty. When you compare Obama' resume to McCain's, with decades in the military, and decades in the senate, it's obvious that Obama is merely an empty suit, who will say, or do anything to get elected.

Posted by: Gina | August 16, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

To Bull Dozer
You would have plenty of money to buy relatively cheep Exxon gas if you would have invested in Exxon stock. What have you done to employ anybody? Don't bite the people who produce gas for your car.Further more, the government made more then 14 billion and they invested nothing!

Posted by: Nels Hollo | August 15, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.

Jeremiah 1:5

Posted by: Jer 1:5 | August 15, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

One previous blog says

"Think of the number of U.S. abortions each year.

Now compare that to the millions of lives that will be taken by climate change."


These are two completely unrelated issues. Regarding climate change, whether caused by man or by nature, there are hurricanes, tidal waves, earthquakes, temperature changes - "record highs and record lows", this is something we all want to avoid & we should pray and take action as we personally are able. We should respect this planet and dream of new alternatives to petroleum.

But- if an individual is personally concerned about a possible natural disaster- if an individual is worried that the hurricane season coming- she or he can be wary, keep their eyes open to the news and weather, and - if necessary flee the area.
An individual can at least personally take action to hopefully counteract a natural disaster or change

But what can a baby do to survive an abortion, even a baby who has been in the mother's womb for just 3 or 4 weeks?

The focus must be on the individual child being's rights - not the "right" of a "father" or a "mother" to parent a child- once pregnancy occurs that "right" has been fulfilled. Now it is our society's responsibility to make sure that the precious little being inside the womb has all the rights of every individual in our society.

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Posted by: pain killers | August 4, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

IF Climate Change is true why is it so HOT right now . Its all a big lie.......

Posted by: Theresa | July 28, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

To all Christians concerned about abortion:

Think of the number of U.S. abortions each year.

Now compare that to the millions of lives that will be taken by climate change.

Think of all the families worldwide that will go without food. Think of the death toll from natural disasters (Katrina, during which McCain was handing Bush a birthday cake). Think of the civil strife caused by dwindling water resources (Darfur genocide).

Yes, abortion may be a hot issue right now. But compare the modest abortion rate to the millions God's children who will be killed as a result of climate change.

Posted by: Joseph | July 27, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I have always heard the best pastors urging us as Christians to participate in voting but to do so individually and thoughtfully, meditating on the Lord.

About the only major Republican issue that I have seen pastors press on about is to pray for the stopping of abortions. In my personal view, I strongly agree in that area - there is no way that we should elect any candidate who wants to protect or expand abortion legislation that has legalized abortion... A political leader who loves the LORD and walks by the Spirit, should strive to better our society, steering us away from that awful evil.
(Enough of my soapbox..)

1 Pet 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

I believe that is one scripture that shows us where to put God and state. We honor our leaders - kings, as we must honor our parents. Even a horrible or criminal parent is to be honored in that that is a special relationship that was designed by the Most High... some of us have a terribly difficult assignment in life to pray in love for a dishonorable parent.

But when a baby is about to be born, don't we all want to pray that her or his parents will be the best , most godly, Spirit led parents who are always aiming to walk by faith in Him?

When I think of the news that Obama and McCain will come to Saddleback, I pray that their spirits and that their hearts will have to recognize and revere an overwhelmingly awesome presence of the LORD in that place - from the hearts of those brothers and sisters there.






We also must pray for RIck Warren as a moderator
He is taking a huge risk stepping in faith into this

I hope that all churches, regardless of differences,will make this "forum" a top interdenominational prayer request

Thank you Lord, and thank you for all who read this


Posted by: BV | July 26, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Re: blaineur

You don't sleep? Why do you think Karl Marx was right?

Posted by: premier | July 23, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Karl Marx was right.

Posted by: blaineur | July 23, 2008 5:37 AM | Report abuse


It's not a debate so much as a discussion. Candidates have addressed congregations for years. Now they're addressing the same church in the same night, though they are not sharing a stage. Nor are they talking, really.

Furthermore, I don't see how this endangers the separation between church and state. Again, candidates have been addressing congregations for years. Warren has not endorsed any candidates, nor has Saddleback Church at large.

This event is intended for two supposedly Christian men to address issues important to the Christian population without having to worry about rebuttals or timers. It's rather useful to that particular voting block, and it's a large one. Though regardless of Warren's intentions, it's obviously a political maneuver for the candidates, just like any other.

Also, while I also feel wary of most 'megachurches,' no dirt on Saddleback has been dug up yet, especially not on Rick Warren. Rather, the church seems to have done a lot locally and world-wide. So until proof to the contrary comes up, I'll refrain from accusing Warren and Saddleback of all kinds of negative things.

Posted by: Asev | July 23, 2008 4:09 AM | Report abuse

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. If you believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead and confess with your mouth that He is Lord you will be saved. Repent (turn from your way and seek God's way for your life)and be baptized.

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Posted by: sp777nxy94 | July 23, 2008 1:28 AM | Report abuse

It's very good that McCain and Obama appearing before Warren's church.

It's not a violation of the separation of church and state -- that's ridiculous.

Obama is absolutely right to contest the evangelical vote. As Obama has correctly pointed out repeatedly: (1) You can't make significant changes in this country without a working "supermajority" -- i.e. the White House, 60 or near 60 Senate seats, and a substantial majority in the House. (2) You can't ignore the evangelical vote if you want a supermajority. (3) Do anything it takes to get it done.

That's really why he is the superior politician to HRC or Edwards and the BEST candidate for the Democrats.

We'll see if McCain can "out-Christian" Obama. I suspect he can't and will be TOAST.

Posted by: mnjam | July 22, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Time for so called churches to lose their tax exempt status--no need for religion in politics--remember separation of church and state--what ever happened to that--just imagine all the money that would be collected from the Catholics--they are so rich--pay your fair share and then talk politics--

Posted by: Casper | July 22, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Jan 20, 2009
The end of a Republican era

They told us that if we help out the wealthy and large corporations
then everything will turn out great for the rest of us.
They never explained how Exxon's $14 billion dollar quarterly profit
from high gas prices is making my life better.

The told us that deficits don't matter. They never explained
that deficits cause a weak dollar which causes high oil and gas

They told us that if they continue to drill for oil in environmentally
sensitive areas, then price of oil would drop because of supply and demand.
Yet they didn't tell that they were making counterproductive efforts to increase
demand by eliminating alernative energy choices that would have benefitted
us all (who killed the electric car?).

They told us that an unregulated market is best for the consumer.
They didn't tell us that the push for this was by lobbyists with
bad intent, such as subprime mortgage lenders who organized deceptive
contracts written in a way that only a trained lawyer could understand
the fine details of.

They told us that Democrats are big spenders and the Republicans are
conservatives. They didn't tell us that the one Democrat who
managed to get in the White House in the last 28 years happened
to be the only person to balance the budget ever in this time
of Republican dominance.

They told us that if we started a war with Iraq, the people of the
country would welcome us for freeing them and we would also benefit
from a much lower cost of oil. They didn't tell us that they were

And now they tell me that the only solution to fixing our economy is
more of the same old economic policies. They warn us that if a Democrat
like Obama wins, then things will get much much worse. Does anyone
feel the sensation of deja vu?

Maybe some of us remember 1992, when the economy was in (at best) in
mediocre condition, and these same people fervently warned us of
the dangers of putting a Democrat like Bill Clinton in the White House.
Oh yes, they wanted to make it very clear that things would only get
much worse, and when they lost the election, they were preparing their
attack to prove their point. "Don't blame me, I voted for Bush" was the
bumper sticker they all so arrogantly and confidently displayed on their
cars. But how quickly these people changed their tune when their
prophecies of economic disaster turned out to be obviously wrong.
Ss America enjoyed the most booming economy it had seen in a long
time, these same people tried to argue that it was due to nothing
Clinton did. They said the economy was due to the policies that the
previous Republican administrations set up.

And after Clinton left office and a new Republican comes
in, the economy took a dive, and the Republicans tried again and
again to explain why it's not their fault. Do they have any
credibility whatsoever?

Ladies and gentlemen, January 20, 2009 marks the end of the
Republican error. And I promise you, the whole way there we
are going to hear the Republicans kicking and screaming to explain
why the Democratic policies are all wrong, just as they did back
in 1992. And when President Obama officially takes his position
in the White House, don't be surprised to see bumper stickers
saying "Don't blame me, I voted for McCain". Friends, I bring
you this political harbinger because those who forget history are
doomed to repeat it. Rest assured, things will begin to get much
better starting 6 months from now. God Bless Obama and the
Democratic party!

Posted by: TheBullDozer | July 21, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Here: let's think about what makes McCain worthy of being president.
Is it his criminal sexual conduct, including harrassment and worse, of subordinates?
Is it his taking a marriage license out while STILL MARRIED?
Is it lying on that application -- a crime?
Is it dumping the wife and kids and getting married ONE MONTH later to a girl who could be his daughter?
Is it the rape jokes?
Is it accepting money from a guy who makes rape jokes?
Is it calling wife #2 a "cun*"?
Is it physically attacking citizens and diplomats and fellow GOPers?
Is it his violent outbursts?
Is it the suicide attempts?
Is it the cooperation for 3 years with Communists, including Cuban Communists,that resulted in the deaths of American pilots -- real heroes?
Is it the lies in his book about what he did in Vietnam?
Is it his being so dumb to make Bush look a genius?
Is it his inability to understand what is happening in Iraq -- no idea about Sunni and Shia?
Is it his total lack of understanding about the economy?
Is it his belief in Gramm's beliefs?
Is it his continued sexual activities -- with yet another young lobbyist?

Posted by: McCain = Hero | July 21, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I am looking forward to watching. Warren overall is a good guy. It is not going to be debate. Warren will not put either candidate on the spot, which I am sure why McCain agreed.

Warren's passions include climate change, human rights, poverty, and HIV/AIDS.

Except for the abortion issue, Obama has shown by actions that he is far closer to Warren's missions.

Posted by: Carl | July 21, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm always wary of these megachurches. Maybe I've become too jaded.

From what I've read about Rick Warren(I refuse to call him Dr since he got his doctorate from Fuller which is another christian papermill school)he's co-opted the self-help book craze to the evangelical application.

It's bad enough that we have people overstepping the bounds of separation of church and state but now look at all the free publicity this megachurch is getting which will help Warren sell more books. (allegedly he lives off of 10% of his book sales and the rest goes back to the church)

I still don't understand why these groups can't just preach about living a better life, helping out your fellow man and not destroying the world around you without having to include the imaginary friend as part of the mix.

Posted by: Sparky | July 21, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Re: faith

This election has nothing to do with religion. This election, however, maybe depends on the strength of our faith with God. Those who believe in God do not fear of believing in His Love.

Posted by: premier | July 21, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, everybody is vying to become the AntiChrist these days!

Posted by: Tevye | July 21, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bob,
That is cause you are talking to people in Oklahoma City. Nothing against it, I was born there actually. I live in California now and I haven't met anyone voting for McCain.
Consider your source.

Posted by: Just Me | July 21, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Next, they'll meet at the Mega-Pasta House, center of the Evangelical Pastafarians, for dinner. Use your noodle and embrace the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is only through the FSM, that we can become one with the great cosmic sauce.

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 21, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know where the media gets their poll information.I talk to people here in oklahoma daily both black and white.In 3 months that I have been asking people I have only found 1 person that says they are voting for Oboma.Most just don't know who he is. A large percentage
think he is a real communist. From what I read about him my conclusion is he is a Communist. Thanks Bob Jones Oklahoma City.

Posted by: Bob Jones | July 21, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We are located in "Saddleback Valley"
beneath the "Saddleback Mountains"
For those of you who are getting paid the big bucks to inform us of any events in the area.
Where is "Saddlebrook"? Just asking!

Posted by: Lorrie | July 21, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I am not religious but have been to services at Saddleback (with family). It really is a good place, as far as "churches" go. Definitely no "cult thing" that I could see, more of your Sunday morning "hobbiests" hanging out. But, I suppose, if I had to go to church, that would be a good place.
Actually, this all seems like a decent idea, but I do believe in separation of church and state, but people go to church (like McCain and Obama) and they congregate there, if McCain and Obama want to talk to them there then that works for me (plus it has the equipment that the media would need to cover it). If they want to go to a Mosque next, then so be it. Just don't say my wife has to cover her face cause it is in some religous text. But religion is a part of this country, whether anyone likes it or not (keep in mind, I am athiest).

Posted by: Just me | July 21, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

America needs to wake up!

Posted by: American | July 21, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It's "Brokeback," not Saddleback.

Posted by: Lonesome Cowboy | July 21, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Doctor Tricky Dicky and Doctor Strangelove... similar - both represent right wing NAZI racist bigots who call themselves Christians.


Posted by: Daddio on the Paddio | July 21, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Looks like it could be Shootout at the OK Corral when they meet in a "megachurch".

Megachurch = a big building filled with true believers of the pastor, and no one else. This is a cult thing.

Posted by: Uncle ReamedUs | July 21, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

It's a very frightning time when the two presidential candidates are having their first debate at a Megachurch. I am not anti religion but I feel very strongly about the separation of chuch and state. Let's get religion out of government and government out of religion.

Posted by: captbilly | July 21, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

It's "Saddleback," not Saddlebrook.

Posted by: Ben | July 21, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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