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McCain Keeps His Faith to Himself...


Apr 26 2008, 06:13 PM (Post #1)
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April 25 (Bloomberg) -- John McCain's pastor ends his sermons with an altar call, beckoning any stirred souls to the front of his 3,500-seat``worship center'' to publicly dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ. In McCain's 15 years of attending Dan Yeary's North Phoenix Baptist Church, the pastor says, the Arizona senator has never made that walk.

``All I can tell you is that John and I have had some interesting conversations'' about faith, said Yeary, a 69-year- old Texan. ``And we'll have more.''

McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is more private about the role faith plays in his life than either Democratic candidate or the president he is running to replace.

While McCain, 71, describes Yeary as his family pastor, Yeary said the senator -- who was christened an Episcopalian -- isn't a full member of his church because he has never undergone the adult baptism that membership requires.

Prospective congregants often are reticent about making the public gesture, Yeary said: ``Full-immersion baptism is probably the biggest bugaboo for 99 percent of people, particularly adults.''

McCain's reluctance to bare his faith in public reflects a generational divide and his Episcopal upbringing, the senator's friends say. ``I mean today, everyone just blurts out their religious convictions,'' said Orson Swindle, who was held with McCain as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. ``We practiced our faith deeply, but we did it in a very quiet way.''

Favorite Philosopher

Then-Governor George W. Bush of Texas heralded a new level of religiosity in presidential politics in a 1999 Iowa debate when he named ``Christ'' as his favorite philosopher. Last week, both remaining Democratic candidates, Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York, participated in a ``Compassion Forum'' at an evangelical college in Pennsylvania, answering questions about when they turned to God.

McCain declined the invitation, and in an April 23 interview on his campaign bus in West Virginia declined to discuss why he hasn't been baptized by Yeary. ``It's a personal thing,'' McCain repeated three times.

Referring to his 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war, McCain said that ``my faith was tested in extraordinary fashion.'' He added that ``it was my faith that got me through, not the next day or the next hour but through the next minute.''

`Agents of Intolerance'

Over the years, McCain has clashed with leaders of the religious right, a group that became a core Republican constituency in the 1980s, providing votes in exchange for candidates' commitments to its agenda. In a 2000 speech, McCain accused Bush of pandering to those leaders, and called television evangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell ``agents of intolerance.''

McCain and Falwell, who died last year, eventually forgave each other, and the senator gave the 2006 commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. That rapprochement, coupled with McCain's anti-abortion record and his pledge to appoint conservative jurists in the mold of U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, have quelled the doubts of many evangelicals about his credentials.

``What's going to matter is that John McCain has been a strong supporter and proponent of pro-life issues his entire career,'' said Reverend Richard Land, a leader of the 16 million member Southern Baptist Convention, which includes McCain's church.

`Religious Rhetoric'

Clinton, 60, and Obama, 46, ``for all of their religious rhetoric,'' still believe that abortion should be legal, said Land, who also noted that McCain attends church more regularly than the ``casual Presbyterian'' Ronald Reagan.

Yeary's 7,000-member North Phoenix Baptist is typical of the mega-churches that have sprouted across the U.S. over the past two decades, and Yeary, a registered Republican, embraces most of the positions of the evangelical right.

He opposes abortion, though he hasn't taken a position on stem-cell research, in part, he said, because such work could help his wife's multiple sclerosis. Gays are welcome in his church, while their ``homosexual lifestyle'' isn't. McCain also opposes abortion and supported funding for embryonic stem-cell research, which he called ``a very agonizing and tough decision.''

Compulsory Attendance

Attendance at chapel was compulsory in McCain's early years, both at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. There was religion at home as well. His father prayed twice a day, dropping to his knees.

In Vietnam, a pared-down church service provided some routine in captivity. As the senior lieutenant in his Hanoi cell block, McCain led an 11 a.m. Sunday service after the prisoners' morning meal of ``weed soup,'' said Swindle, a former commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission who is advising McCain's campaign.

When the guards had cleared, the senior officer would cough or tap the letter ``c,'' signaling to other captives that it was time to worship. The service began by reciting the 23rd Psalm, though ``we did it in the plural,'' said Swindle, ``so it was `Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil.'''

`Do Unto Others'

McCain said this week that his favorite Biblical passage these days is ``Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.''

``It's really not only one of the most important tenets of Judeo-Christian values, but it's also one of the fundamental principles of leadership,'' he said.

When Yeary first met McCain 15 years ago, he said, he was captivated by the POW stories of communing with God. He asked to interview McCain on camera, broadcasting his testimonials onto the two jumbo screens at the front of the worship center, one of seven buildings on the church's grounds.

These days, McCain is much less visible at the church. He has ``been pretty busy lately'' and hasn't had much of a chance to come to services, Yeary said. ``Usually when they come, they slip in the side door. They are very unobtrusive.''

Yeary said he thinks he and McCain are ``kindred spirits'' on spiritual matters. ``When he talks about his faith, it's real and I believe him,'' the pastor said. ``He just doesn't use my language.''


http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/ahh18x6vsqzk

This is interesting... because we just haven't seen someone so mum about their faith in awhile. This does compel an independent voter like me to vote for him... until I realize how much longer he wants us in Iraq.
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Apr 26 2008, 09:19 PM (Post #2)
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Have you heard about what Hillary wants to do to Iran?

...Or about Obama's pastors and how he tries to simply shrug blatant rascism off like nothing?

All of the remaining candidates suck, McCain's been the most honest and consistant so far. He's got my vote right now.
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Apr 27 2008, 03:28 AM (Post #3)
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QUOTE (McDonalds @ Apr 26 2008, 01:19 PM)
Have you heard about what Hillary wants to do to Iran?

...Or about Obama's pastors and how he tries to simply shrug blatant rascism off like nothing?

All of the remaining candidates suck, McCain's been the most honest and consistant so far. He's got my vote right now.
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Honesty is one thing and competence is another. I applaud him for not succumbing to extremist ideology, but he simply does not have the credentials to make good, rational decisions.

I mean, more war? What the hell?
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Apr 27 2008, 03:56 AM (Post #4)
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QUOTE (origin_AL @ Apr 26 2008, 01:13 PM)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/ahh18x6vsqzk

This is interesting... because we just haven't seen someone so mum about their faith in awhile.  This does compel an independent voter like me to vote for him... until I realize how much longer he wants us in Iraq.
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I saw this article, I wonder if this will have any effect on his success.

QUOTE (McDonalds @ Apr 26 2008, 04:19 PM)
Have you heard about what Hillary wants to do to Iran?

...Or about Obama's pastors and how he tries to simply shrug blatant rascism off like nothing?

All of the remaining candidates suck, McCain's been the most honest and consistant so far. He's got my vote right now.
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I agree.

QUOTE (Jinghao @ Apr 26 2008, 10:28 PM)
Honesty is one thing and competence is another. I applaud him for not succumbing to extremist ideology, but he simply does not have the credentials to make good, rational decisions.

I mean, more war? What the hell?
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How did you come to that? I don't see him as incompetent. Old, yes, and not the best speaker (although considerably better than Bush), but not incompetent.
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Apr 27 2008, 03:44 PM (Post #5)
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QUOTE (McDonalds @ Apr 26 2008, 05:19 PM)
...Or about Obama's pastors and how he tries to simply shrug blatant rascism off like nothing?
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You should mention how he only shrugs off racism that isn't directed toward blacks.
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Apr 27 2008, 06:10 PM (Post #6)
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I don't support McCain either... but yeah, how did you come to the conclusion that he is incompetent, Jinghao? In the kind of government the US has... I'm not sure anyone could competently execute the office of president.
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Apr 27 2008, 09:11 PM (Post #7)
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QUOTE (origin_AL @ Apr 27 2008, 10:10 AM)
I don't support McCain either... but yeah, how did you come to the conclusion that he is incompetent, Jinghao?  In the kind of government the US has... I'm not sure anyone could competently execute the office of president.
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Nowhere did I call him incompetent; I simply questioned his ability to lead the country in helping push votes that are beneficial for the whole country.

I don't know much about his past votes, but at least when considering his stance on war and his alternating stances on tax cuts, I don't think I would want him leading the country.
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Apr 27 2008, 09:43 PM (Post #8)
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QUOTE
Honesty is one thing and competence is another. I applaud him for not succumbing to extremist ideology, but he simply does not have the credentials to make good, rational decisions.



That very strongly implies that you were calling McCain incompetent.

This post has been edited by Singularity: Apr 27 2008, 09:44 PM
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Apr 27 2008, 10:25 PM (Post #9)
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QUOTE (Singularity @ Apr 27 2008, 01:43 PM)
That very strongly implies that you were calling McCain incompetent.
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Not intelligent does not equate to stupid.
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