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McCain and Obama - Presidential Showdown at the Saddleback Civil Forum

Updated on August 31, 2008

John McCain and Barack Obama with Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Civil Forum

The First Time that John McCain and Barack Obama met one another at a Formalized Civil Forum

This is the first time that the two presidential nominees Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) had a formal, televised conversation with one of the nation's leading pastors - Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency. This event took place on August 16, 2008 and attended by about 1,000 members of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

Warren posing questions first to Sen. Obama, as determined by a coin toss, after which the two candidates met on stage and embraced in one of their last appearances prior to their respective conventions. The second half of the program featured the same questions directed to Sen. McCain by Warren, who stressed that the candidate had been placed "under a cone of silence" prior to his turn on stage.

Rick Warren organized his thoughtful, yet hard-hitting line of inquiry into four categories, including Stewardship, Leadership, Worldview and America's Role in the World. The questions covered a wide range of topics, ranging from the candidates' values, vision and virtues as applied to many of the critical issues of interest to the faith community and general public, including a discussion on abortion, traditional marriage, stem cell research, education, religious persecution, world orphans, the theory of evil in the world, and their vision for the future of America - at home and abroad.

Barack Obama's Views on Christianity

When Warren asked Obama about what Christianity means to him on a daily basis, the Senator responded, "It means I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I am redeemed through him. That is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis. I know that I don't walk alone. But what it also means, I think, is a sense of obligation to embrace not just words, but also through deeds and expectations that God has for us. And that means thinking about the least of these - acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God."

John McCain's Views on Christianity

John McCain's Personal Testimony of how he experienced God's love, mercy and grace inside a North Vietnamese prison.

In response to that same question about his personal Christian faith, McCain replied, "It means I am saved and forgiven." He expounded further in a question about religious persecution, "Our Judeo-Christian principles dictate that we do what we can to help people who are oppressed throughout the world. I would like to tell you that I still think that even in the worst places in the world today, they still harbor this hope and dream someday to be like us and have freedom and democracy. We remain, my friends, the most unusual experiment in history and I'm privileged to spend every day of my life in it. I know what it is like to be without it."

Then John McCain gave a personal testimony about how God was gracious to him while he was inside a North Vietnamese prison:

"The Vietnamese kept us in prison in conditions of solitary confinement, or two or three to a cell. They did that because they knew they could break down our resistance. One of the techniques that they used to get information was to take ropes and tie them around your biceps, loop the rope around your head and pull it down beneath your knees and leave you in that position. You can imagine it's very uncomfortable.

One night, I was being punished in that fashion. All of sudden the door of the cell opened and the guard came in. The guy who was just -- what we call the gun guard -- just walked around the camp with the gun on his shoulder. He went like this and loosened the ropes. He came back about four hours later and tightened them up again and left.

The following Christmas, because it was Christmas day, we were allowed to stand outside of our cell for a few minutes. In those days we were not allowed to see or communicate with each other, although we certainly did. And I was standing outside, for my few minutes outside at my cell. He came walking up. He stood there for a minute, and with his sandal on the dirt in the courtyard, he drew a cross and he stood there. And a minute later, he rubbed it out, and walked away.

For a minute there, there was just two Christians worshipping together. I'll never forget that moment." (APPLAUSE BY THE AUDIENCE).

John McCain had a personal experience of God's love, mercy and grace during the darkest hours of his life as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Barack Obama's Views on Abortion

WARREN: Now, let's deal with abortion; 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time, all of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

WARREN: Have you --

OBAMA: But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I'm absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And so I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think, is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.

But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I'm pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don't think women make these decisions casually. I think they -- they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members. And so, for me, the goal right now should be -- and this is where I think we can find common ground. And by the way, I've now inserted this into the Democratic party platform, is how do we reduce the number of abortions? The fact is that although we have had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down and that is something we have to address.

WARREN: Have you ever voted to limit or reduce abortions?

OBAMA: I am in favor, for example, of limits on late-term abortions, if there is an exception for the mother's health. From the perspective of those who are pro-life, I think they would consider that inadequate, and I respect their views. One of the things that I've always said is that on this particular issue, if you believe that life begins at conception, then -- and you are consistent in that belief, then I can't argue with you on that, because that is a core issue of faith for you.

What I can do is say, are there ways that we can work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, so that we actually are reducing the sense that women are seeking out abortions. And as an example of that, one of the things that I've talked about is how do we provide the resources that allow women to make the choice to keep a child. You know, have we given them the health care that they need? Have we given them the support services that they need? Have we given them the options of adoption that are necessary? That can make a genuine difference.

John McCain's Views on Abortion

WARREN: Let's deal with abortion. I, as a pastor, have to deal with this all the time, every different angle, every different pain, all of the decisions and all of that. Forty million abortions since Roe v. Wade. Some people, people who believe that life begins at conception, believe that's a holocaust for many people. What point is a baby entitled to human rights?

MCCAIN: At the moment of conception. (APPLAUSE). I have a 25- year pro-life record in the Congress, in the Senate. And as president of the United States, I will be a pro-life president. And this presidency will have pro-life policies. That's my commitment. That's my commitment to you.

WARREN: OK, we don't have to beleaguer on that one. Define marriage.

MCCAIN: A union -- a union between man and woman, between one man and one woman. That's my definition of marriage.

Could I -- are we going to get back to the importance of Supreme Court Justices or should I mention --

WARREN: We will get to that.

MCCAIN: OK. All right. OK.

WARREN: You're jumping ahead...


MCCAIN: When we speak of the issue of the rights to the unborn, we need to talk about judges. But, anyway, go ahead.

WARREN: Let me ask you a question related to that. We have got a bill right here in California, Proposition 8, that's going on, because the court overturns this definition of marriage. Was the Supreme Court of California wrong?

MCCAIN: I believe they were wrong, and I strongly support preserving the unique status of marriage between man and woman. And I'm a federalist. I believe that states should make those decisions.

In my state, I hope we will make that decision, and other states, they have to recognize the unique status between man and woman. And that doesn't mean that people can't enter into legal agreements. That doesn't mean that they don't have the rights of all citizens. I'm not saying that. I am saying that we should preserve the unique status of marriage between one man and one woman.

And if a federal court -- if a federal court decided that my state of Arizona had to observe what the state of Massachusetts decided, then I would favor a constitutional amendment. Until then, I believe the states should make the decisions within their own states.

WARREN: OK. (APPLAUSE). All right.

Is Barack Obama a True Christian ?

The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Mt. 7:21). One of the tests of a true Christian is to see whether or not the person keeps God's Commandments (Mt. 5:17-19).

Obama contends belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation

AP - 3/27/2008 8:00:00 AM

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Senator Barack Obama has told an audience that although he believes Christ died for his sins, those who reject that teaching can also be children of God.

During a campaign stop yesterday in Greensboro, North Carolina, Senator Obama told the audience that he believes he "can have everlasting life" because Jesus Christ died for his sins. But he then told a questioner that he believes Jews and Muslims who live moral lives are just as much "children of God" as he is. (listen to audio clip)

The Illinois Democrat added that his late mother didn't share his faith but was a kind and generous person, so he's "sure she's in heaven." (listen to audio clip)

Barack Obama is very confused about what True Christianity is all about. If Jews and Muslims who do not believe the Lord Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh and do not accept Him as their Lord and Savior are also called "Children of God" then Jesus died on the Cross in vain. The Lord Jesus Christ warned: "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (Jn. 8:24) The Holy Bible states: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." (Jn. 1:12) "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:27) "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments." (1 Jn. 5:2).

Jesus Christ said it very clearly and plainly: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jn. 14:6) No one can become the children of God without believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Barack Obama is lying about the faith of his own mother. He claimed that he was raised as a Christian, and now he says that his mother "didn't share his faith but was a kind and generous person, so he's "sure she's in heaven." This is a false gospel. The Bible states: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Eph. 2:8)

No one can be saved by being "a kind and generous person" and go to heaven without believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and be washed in His precious blood (Rev. 7:9, 13-17).

Although Barack Obama knew that the Lord Jesus Christ died for his sins but his views on Christianity are definitely wrong.

Barack Obama's Beliefs on Abortion are definitely against the Teachings of Christ

When asked by the moderator Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Civil Forum when a baby should be given human rights, Senator Obama dodged the question by responding that it was "above his pay grade" to determine at what point a baby should be given human rights.

Following the forum, Pastor Warren criticized Obama's decision to dodge the question. In an interview with, Warren said "to just say 'I don't know' on the most divisive issue in America is not a clear enough answer for me."

Warren went on to suggest Obama's non-answer will not sit well with many Christians.

He said "if an evangelical really believes that the Bible is literal -- in other words, in Psalm 139 God says 'I formed you in your mother's womb and before you were born I planned every day of your life' -- if they believe that's literally true, then they can't just walk away from that. They can add other issues, but they can't walk away from the belief that at conception God planned that child, and to abort it would be to short circuit the purpose."

Partial birth abortion is the murder of babies when they are very close to being born. This is a mortal sin. The baby is killed by sucking out its brain while it is in the birth canal.Please go to this web page that describes Partial Birth Abortion.

Barack Obama voted against banning Partial Birth Abortion. (Oct 2007)

He voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)

He voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)

Barack Obama plainly supports abortion, even though it is the leading cause of death among African-Americans more than heart disease, more than AIDS, and more than violent crime. Abortion is a targeted measure by the devil to wipe out minorities in America. Barack Obama's stance on abortion alone should be enough to discourage any Christian from voting for him but let's look at his voting record concerning the marriage amendment, which would define and protect marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Vote 163: On the Cloture Motion: A Senate cloture vote on the gay marriage amendment failed, effectively killing the amendment. Obama voted NO

Obama's comments came three days after he released a 770-word letter to the homosexual community, pledging to partner with them in passing favorable laws if he is elected.

"As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws," he wrote. "I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples -- whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.

"... I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country," he said further, referring to the acronym for lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgendered. "To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike."

Barack Obama supports the union of same sex marriages. While Christians should not persecute people based on their sexual orientation but they should not support homosexuality by endorsing gay and lesbian marriages. It would bring the judgment upon this nation (Rom. 1:24-32)

Christian Conservatives Uniting Behind John McCain

July 2, 2008 3:36

At a meeting Tuesday on July 1, 2008 in Denver, about 100 conservative Christian leaders from around the country agreed to unite behind the candidacy of John McCain, a politician they have long distrusted, marking the latest in a string of movements that bode well for McCain's general election prospects among the Republican base.

"Collectively we feel that he will support and advance those moral values that we hold much greater than Obama, who in our view will decimate moral values," said Mat Staver, the chairman of Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy group, who previously supported Mike Huckabee's candidacy.

"There are people who came through the primary with very mixed emotions of the candidate," Staver continued, noting that many in the group had been in Denver to attend a separate meeting for pastors. "This event was to put those aside."

The group included leaders like Phyllis Schlafly, the long-time leader of Eagle Forum; Steve Strang, the publisher of Charisma magazine; Phil Burress, a prominent Ohio marriage and anti-pornography activist; David Barton, the founder of WallBuilders and Donald Hodel, a former secretary of the Interior, who previously served on the board of Focus on the Family. Jim Dobson, the head of Focus and an outspoken critic of McCain, did not attend. The McCain campaign was also not directly represented at the meeting.

A second person who attended the event, but asked not to be named, said that the group was motivated principally by a desire to defeat Barack Obama. "None of these people want to meet their maker knowing that they didn't do everything they could to keep Barack Obama from being president," the participant said. "You've got these two people running for president. One of them is going to become president. That's the perspective. That that's the whole discussion."

In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has been trying to spell out clear policy differences on social issues with the Obama campaign. Last week, McCain came out in favor of a constitutional amendment in California to outlaw gay marriage, which was legalized this spring by the state Supreme Court. Though McCain opposes an amendment to the federal constitution to ban gay marriage, he has previously supported similar state constitutional amendments.

More recently, McCain has said he wants to push for a Bush Administration proposal to allow faith-based organizations to make employment decisions based on religion even when using federal funding. Obama has said he supports applying state or local laws that prohibit hiring choices based on sexual orientation.

On a recent swing through Ohio, McCain met with a group of religious leaders and activists, including Burress, who has previously been critical of McCain's lack of outreach to Christian conservatives. According to two participants at the Tuesday meeting in Denver, Burress spoke out strongly in favor of uniting behind McCain's candidacy.

Staver said the McCain campaign was making progress but still had more work to do. "I think that the outreach to the community has to increase significantly," he said. "There is a clear enthusiasm."

Dr. James Dobson now says: "I'd vote for McCain-Palin."

Saturday, August 30, 2008 11:48 AM

By: Phil Brennan

Call it the Palin effect -- John McCain's choice of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin has motivated many conservatives previously reluctant to support his candidacy to surrender their enthusiastic support.

Notably among them is Dr. James Dobson, the very influential conservative leader, who heads the nationwide Focus on the Family organization. Dr. Dobson, who has flatly declared that he would not vote for McCain now says he will, and attributes his change of mind to the senator's choice of solidly conservative pro-life Gov. Palin to be his running mate.

Earlier this year, Dr. Dobson had announced on the nationally syndicated "The Dennis Prager Show" that he "cannot and will not vote for Senator John McCain." Friday on Prager's Show, he changed course and announced his enthusiastic support of McCain on the heels of the announcement by McCain of Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

Speaking with Prager, Dr. Dobson said he now feels the same excitement he felt when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.

"That was one of the most exciting days of my life, because everything that we had hoped for and been working for had come to pass," he told Prager. "I feel very much that way today. Maybe that's an overstatement. Maybe time won't validate it, but this is a very exciting and encouraging day for conservatives and pro-family activists. I am just very, very pleased."

Noting that he has become very concerned about the prospects of the very liberal Barack Obama winning the presidency, he told Prager, "So I've been moving in John McCain's direction."

After hearing of the Palin nomination, he said, "But I can tell you that if I had to go into the studio, I mean the voting booth today, I would pull that [McCain] lever.

Said Prager, "Well, if you're very excited given your previous reservations then I have to believe, and certainly based on the handful of calls I've been able to take the first hour before my 'Happiness Hour,' people were so excited, palpably excited. Jim Dobson, I got to tell you... if your base is energized then that is the biggest nightmare that the left has."

Dobson replied: "I was just with about 300, maybe 400 people in a large auditorium, and they put Sarah Palin's speech on the screen and we sat there and watched. I'm telling you it was electric. These were conservatives, you know. They were mostly Christian, but not all of them were. I mean to tell you, it set that crowd on fire. If that's any indication, I think we are going to see some things."


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