For the purpose of promoting debate at H&R, allow me to crib a post from Andrew Sullivan, who provides an excerpt from conservative columnist Kathleen Parker's latest. I know nothing of Parker, but hers strikes me as a eminently brave (and sensible) position to take over at Townhall.com. Indeed, the site's readers have rated the column a measly two stars out of possible five. So here she is asking what seems to be a fairly obvious question regarding the Showdown at Saddleback:
"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. It is also un-American.
For the past several days, since mega-pastor Rick Warren interviewed Barack Obama and John McCain at his Saddleback Church, most political debate has focused on who won… The winner, of course, was Warren, who has managed to position himself as political arbiter in a nation founded on the separation of church and state. The loser was America…
His format and questions were interesting and the answers more revealing than the usual debate menu provides. But does it not seem just a little bit odd to have McCain and Obama chatting individually with a preacher in a public forum about their positions on evil and their relationship with Jesus Christ?"
Why yes, it does.