Friday, September 28, 2007

McCain panders and displays ignorance

In an interview with Dan Gilgoff of Belifnet, John McCain panders to the religious right while displaying his ignorance of both the Constitution and of the Bible.

First the pandering: in answer to the question, "Has the candidates’ personal faith become too big an issue in the presidential race?" he responded, "I think the number one issue people should make [in the] selection of the President of the United States is, 'Will this person carry on in the Judeo Christian principled tradition that has made this nation the greatest experiment in the history of mankind?'" He goes on to say that a Mormon is okay for that, but he would be uncomfortable with a Muslim, unless they were the best candidate, of course. That should satisfy everybody.

When asked whether he believes along with fifty-five percent of Americans that the Constitution established us as a Christian nation, he replied "I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation." Gilgoff, being a rather softball interviewer, doesn't put his guest on the spot and ask him where in Constitution it does that. I guess we'll never know. Perhaps someone should send Sen. McCain a copy of the Constitution so he can see for himself that the words Christian, Christ, Jesus, and even God never appear in that document. The claim that the US is in any way a Christian nation, is a bogus one based on trying to interpret the inner wishes of the founders and translate their culture into modern terms. Whether or not some of the founders wanted a Christian nation is open to debate, but whether they actually did create one is not. The Constitution in no way establishes a Christian nation.

Whoever sends McCain a new Constitution might also send him a new Bible, since his memory of what is in it is just as flawed as his memory of the Constitution. Gilgoff gave McCain a chance to reminisce about his POW days, when his cell mates chose him to be the house chaplain.
I'll never forget that first Christmas when I gave--when I read from the Nativity story from the different Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And I looked in that room around and there were guys who had already been there for seven years and tears were streaming down their face, not out of sorrow, but out of joy that for the first time in all that captivity, we could celebrate the birth of Christ together. It was a scene I will never ever forget.

It probably was a touching scene, but McCain didn't read the nativity story from all four gospels. It only appears in Matthew and Luke, gospels that are believed to be largely based on the same earlier source. Mark and John both begin with the adult Jesus being baptized by his cousin John and beginning his ministry. Perhaps, since this interview is for a religious audience, McCain thought he could impress them by naming all four of the gospels in the right order. If so, it's a rather childish attempt and not likely to be successful.

McCain really has become an embarrassing shadow of his former self.

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