Pro-Life Groups Want McCain, Obama to Talk Abortion at Evangelical Forum
by Steven Ertelt
July 21, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — John McCain and Barack Obama will appear at an evangelical forum in August at Saddleback Church to address leadership and compassion. Pro-life groups hope the candidates will touch on the issue of abortion and they say McCain could shine if he expresses strong pro-life themes.
The forum will take place at Saddleback Church on Saturday, August 16 and the two-hour event will be held in a non-debate format and open to all media.
Saddleback pastor Rick Warren will pose the questions instead of a panel or coming from the audience and each candidate will speak with Warren for an hour. This historic forum will be the only joint campaign event prior to each party’s national convention.
Although evangelical voters are much more likely to support McCain over Obama, the Arizona senator needs to do more to motivate them and to shore up his support, says Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Warren plans to ask the candidates about issues like AIDS, poverty, human rights and the environment, but Perkins said he hopes there will be time for a discussion of other issues pertinent to evangelical voters like abortion.
"While the left would have us believe that this is the faith community’s new agenda, a candid discussion of traditional values issues such as life … is what American voters need and deserve," he said.
"Saddleback Church has the rare opportunity to crystallize the debate over abortion," he said.
Meanwhile, CBN News national correspondent David Brody says the forum is an opportunity for McCain to really reach out to pro-life voters.
"This is John McCain’s ‘evangelical moment," Brody said. "Do you understand the importance of this?"
"With Obama there as well, he has a major opportunity to clearly showcase the differences between the two candidates on social issues," Brody explained. "He can talk about the unborn baby and the abortion issue."
Though the conference will focus on other issues, Brody said "theres nothing stopping McCain from standing up and talking about the pressing issues of life."
"Evangelicals want a candidate to stand up and talk about the importance of these issues. If John McCain does that forcefully and does not shy away from those topics then he will have built significant ‘street cred’ among Evangelicals and their leaders," Brody concluded.
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