Saddleback Forum-Anybody Guess Which Key Issue Was Missing?
Orange County, CA--I appeared on Al Jazeera Saturday evening to discuss the Saddleback Civil Forum, where both presidential candidates vied for the Christian vote in a televised two-hour forum at the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. I thought both candidates came off well. McCain was, if you like him, blunt and direct. If you don't, he was simplistic and moralistic. Obama was, if you like him, philosophical and thoughtful. If you don't, he was wishy-washy and evasive. Obama has a very difficult row to hoe with Christian conservatives. Much of the Democratic Party support comes from liberal women's activists/feminists, and Obama is understandably hesitant to cross them on what is perhaps their most emotional and important issue -- abortion. I suppose he is throwing conservative Christians a bone by opposing gay marriage, which probably does annoy some Democratic Party stalwarts. A few of my comments can be seen on the Al Jazeera website here or on the Media with Conscience website here. I was disappointed and surprised that evangelist Rick Warren, who asked an hour's worth of questions to each candidate, did not mention family breakdown and divorce. If there is any "moral" issue for our time, it is the breakdown of the family and the way millions of children are being separated from the fathers they love and need. There was no mention of this though, and the only discussion about marriage was the damn gay marriage sideshow. I also believe that Saturday's events represent yet another failure of the fatherhood movement. Warren should have been under pressure to raise this issue, but he obviously wasn't. And why couldn't there have been a pro-fatherhood act of civil disobedience there? Or even simply one divorced dad/activist in the audience standing up during the debate and shouting at Warren about how he has been separated from his children? Yes, it would be somewhat rude, but it would raise the issue in the national media and generate a round of buzz.