Senator McCain gained the backing of about 100 Christian leaders in Denver this week,
"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.This comes in the same week that Senator Obama renewed his attempts to court the evangelical vote. This endorsement not only deflates those efforts, it points out the odd pairing of politics and religion in this presidential campaign. One of Obama's electiblity arguments during the primaries was that he could win over evangelicals, but then Reverend Wright came along. One of the most over-the-top public figures to hit the scene in years has been Obama's pastor and spiritiual advisor for twenty years. So this week Senator Obama announces that he will continue President Bush's faith based initiatives under a new name. This makes a lot of people on both sides of the isle uncomfortable. What sort of religion will Senator Obama be promoting as Chief Executive?
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."
This leads to Senator McCain's awkward dance with Christian conservatives. While this week many concluded to back him fully, in many ways it is due to the serious issues they have with Obama. Senator McCain has shown a reluctance to talk about religion. He is quick to credit his survival as a P.O.W. to faith, but rarely addresses the issue unless asked directly. However, this may be a good thing, or even a very good thing. Certainly it has given him some political difficulties in the Republican party, but promoting a religious doctrine through an elected official can be problematic. The seperation of church and state is an incredibly important part of the consititution, and when a leader either promotes, or appears to promote, a certain brand of religion it gives all those not under that umbrella a very uneasy feeling. Certainly people of faith have every right to question their leaders in any way they see fit. However, there are excellent reasons for a political leader to not market their religion.