August 20, 2008
Columnist: Rick Warren wins, America loses
“At the risk of heresy, let it be said that setting up the two presidential candidates for religious interrogation by an evangelical minister—no matter how beloved—is supremely wrong,” Kathleen Parker writes in her column in today’s Washington Post. “It is also un-American.”
Since Barack Obama and John McCain appeared on stage at Saddleback Church on Saturday, the discussion has centered around who gave the most meaningful answers to the Rev. Rick Warren’s questions about good and evil, and whether McCain had an unfair advantage by speaking second.
It’s natural by now for someone to take the contrarian’s position and indicate a fundamental flaw in the whole process. But Parker has a very valid point. As I’ve said over and over again, the religious litmus for presidential office that developed during the past eight years is a very bad thing for American politics.
Randall Balmer, editor-at-large for Christianity Today writes about this evolution in “God in the White House,” which he discusses on NPR’s “Fresh Air” today. (Audio and a book excerpt here.) And Parker gets it right when explaining why this should make us uncomfortable, and in indicating that we shouldn’t trust what we hear. She continues: