Megachurch hosting Obama and McCain
The Rev. Rick Warren will interview both presidential hopefuls
Presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain were scheduled to meet today in a California megachurch for their first public appearance together in the general election campaign.
The Rev. Rick Warren will moderate the "civil forum" at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. The two-hour program will not be a debate. Warren will conduct separate interviews with the candidates.
The forum begins at 2 p.m. Hawaii time and will be broadcast live on CNN and Fox network, according to the Saddleback Church Web page, www.saddleback.com, where it will also be show in live video stream.
Warren said he will raise questions about "issues that are bridging divides in our nations such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights." He said the election campaign has shown that "Americans care deeply about the faith, values, character and leadership convictions of the candidates," and he will lead discussion into those areas.
Warren is a well-known evangelical Christian leader. The nondenominational church he founded has 20,000 members, one of the largest of the megachurches in the United States. He is the author of the best-selling motivational book, "The Purpose Driven Life," which is used as a text in church study classes. He sponsored a "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" last November.
Warren will discuss the Saddleback Civil Forum as part of the campaign coverage by the PBS program "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly."
The weekly news magazine, shown here at 6 p.m. Sundays, will look at the impact of religion in the presidential campaign. The Aug. 24 program will feature interviews with Leah Daughtry, chief executive officer of the Democratic National Convention, and Warren.
On Aug. 31 the newsmagazine crew will examine the Democratic Party's faith-based outreach strategy. On Sept. 7 it will report on the Republican Party's support from social conservatives and appeal to faith-based moderates.