LA Times: McCain Doesn’t Put his Faith out Front

Posted by Kendall Harmon

McCain, an Episcopalian who attends a Baptist church in Phoenix, turned to a well-worn tale of the guard he met when he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. The man once loosened the ropes binding McCain, and later shared his Christian faith with McCain by silently sketching a cross in the prison yard with his sandal.

The story played well in an ad before the New Hampshire primary, but it was deeply disappointing to many at the New Orleans gathering, conservative activist Richard Viguerie recalled.

"He blew that question off by telling us about the faith of his jailer," said Viguerie. "It was very obvious to those three or four hundred conservative leaders there. . . . The vast, vast majority of them were either sitting on the sidelines or unenthusiastic about his impending nomination and he didn't move a single person."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008

Posted April 28, 2008 at 5:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Alta Californian wrote:

McCain, an Episcopalian who attends a Baptist church in Phoenix

At what point does he stop being an “Episcopalian” and start being a “Baptist”.  One of the things I’ve been thinking on of late…the vestiges of denominational identity and loyalty in contemporary American culture.  Bush is still referred to as “a Methodist” though he attends St. John’s, Lafayette Square.

April 28, 8:12 pm | [comment link]
2. physician without health wrote:

Is his official letter of membership still in an Episcopal Church?  This may answer the question posed by Alta Californian.

April 28, 9:48 pm | [comment link]
3. Philip Snyder wrote:

I am not electing or voting for a chief pastor, let alone a messiah, when I vote for president. 

Phil Snyder

April 28, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
4. Irenaeus wrote:

“Deeply disappointing to many at the New Orleans gathering, conservative activist Richard Viguerie recalled”

Isn’t Viguerie a follow of Edgar Cayce, “America’s greatest psychic”?

April 29, 1:41 am | [comment link]
5. azusa wrote:

‘At what point does he stop being an “Episcopalian” and start being a “Baptist”.’

When he takes the plunge. smile

April 29, 2:55 am | [comment link]
6. drummie wrote:

At this point in time, I would rather support a Southern Baptist vs Episcopalian.  I am very familiar with the Southern Baptist, as I have a “mixed marriage” as my wife and I joke about it. She is Southern Baptist while I am Orthodox Anglican.  If McCaim’s church is anything like my wife’s, it is a very Christ centered bible guided church, more than I can say about TEC.

April 29, 8:26 am | [comment link]
7. Chris Hathaway wrote:

I’m glad to know he has faith, but, as any of us who are even a little bit introspective can say, you can be a faithful Christian and still be a fool or an ass. Like Phil, I will be voting for a President, not a saint, and what I will be looking for is not theology but political horse sense, something, alas, I see too little of in McCain. But the other difference between politics and religion is that in politics “better than the alternative” is sufficient grounds for acceptance.

April 29, 9:08 am | [comment link]
8. saj wrote:

Chris says—“as any of us who are even a little bit introspective can say, you can be a faithful Christian and still be a fool or an ass.”
Yes, Chris—I often see that when I look in the mirror!  IMHO—anyone who would run for president is “a fool or an ass”!

April 29, 9:33 am | [comment link]
9. Chris wrote:

President Bush attends St. Johns Episcopal in DC because that church suits his needs right now.  He was a Methodist before he became President and no doubt will be afterwards (I believe Laura is a Methodist lifer).  There is some (not good) symbolism in the reality that the President grew up in ECUSA yet left it as an adult. 

I believe McCain would be better off as a Baptist as well.  There are hardly any Piskies left in the Republican party and they’re dying off every day….

April 29, 12:38 pm | [comment link]
10. midwestnorwegian wrote:

All the more reason to vote for him.

April 29, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
11. MJD_NV wrote:

Somewhere along the line, I got the impression that to become a “member” of the church he attends, McCain would have to be re-baptized.  If this is true, I say good for him, because such a thing is theological nonsense.  However, kudos to him just the same for attending a place where the Gospel is preached and the Word is taught and one can actually take spiritual sustenance.  Makes me feel much better about his spiritual health.

April 29, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
12. Rick in Louisiana wrote:

As someone who currently serves a Southern Baptist (as well as “Cooperative Baptist”) congregation let me assure you that 99+% of Baptist churches would require someone to be baptized by immersion or - if they were baptized as infants/babies or often if they were baptized but not by immersion - to be re-baptized. I do not disagree with MJD_NV that this would be “theological nonsense”. (I had a short exchange with the great Reginald Fuller+ of blessed memory about this. He insisted I was not baptized “twice”.) In fact Southern Baptist churches that allow people to join by any means other than believers’ baptism by immersion (whether at that church or at some point in their lives) usually end up kicked out of associations/conventions. Few Baptists and almost no Southern Baptists would countenance someone becoming a “Member”(tm) if said person was baptized (a) as a baby/infant and/or (b) by sprinkling. (You’ll notice that I’m not criticizing whichever practice.)

It makes 100% perfect sense to say “I am Episcopalian and go to a Southern Baptist church” without that in any way implying the speaker has somehow become Baptist. Baptist Polity 101 here folks.

April 29, 6:52 pm | [comment link]
13. Chris Hathaway wrote:

Rick, rebaptism of a validly baptised person is a little more (or is that less?) than “theological nonsense”.

As much as I like their fidelity to Scripture their sacramental understanding is just plain wrong.

April 29, 8:52 pm | [comment link]
14. Alta Californian wrote:

I’m less interested in the membership aspect per se than in the concept of identity.  “I attend the Baptist Church” doesn’t interest me, it is the “I am an Episcopalian” though-I’ve-not-attended-in-20-years part that interests me.

April 30, 4:13 am | [comment link]
15. Alta Californian wrote:

I shouldn’t say that…the first part does interest me.  “I attend the Baptist Church but don’t consider myself a ‘Baptist’” because I’ve not been re-baptized, or signed the register, or whatever is somewhat interesting.  Studies say denominational loyalty is at an all time low.  So the idea of clinging to an old identity, while not embracing a new one is, as a whole, interesting.

April 30, 4:16 am | [comment link]
16. Sidney wrote:

I rather think that, like most men, Bush and McCain make their denominational choices based on what their wives want.

April 30, 10:20 pm | [comment link]
17. Tom Roberts wrote:

Yes, imagine how life would be different without our wives telling us what to do…
On a serious note, after reading the WSJ’s article on Cindy McCain I’m wondering if the wrong McCain isn’t running for president. She’s the one wearing the trousers in that family.

April 30, 11:52 pm | [comment link]
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