Sure, this is old news by now since the interview was a few days ago, but I am still thinking about the how and why of it all. From Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, CA on Aug. 16, 2008, pastor Rick Warren interviewed the two Presidential candidates (AP Photo/Alex Brandon of McCain, Warren, and Obama left) on live, nationally broadcast television.
On a night that had just about nothing on other than the Olympics, Fox News and CNN both carried the interview live from Saddleback Church (see full written transcripts from the interview here). From other fellow faith based blogs, I knew the interview was coming, but I think it ended up being larger than anyone originally thought. So what was the result?
Prior to the interview, Warren contacted many of his fellow pastors to ask their opinion of what questions he should ask the candidates. Those pastors then blogged about it, asking their readers what they thought Warren should ask. I read a ton of blogs (see my faith based blogroll here), so watching this progress through the Internet was interesting.
I have read everything from pandering from the evangelical far far right to blasting of corruption of everything by Rick Warren from who knows what side, to down right condemnation of Warren and his life (see Rick Warren warranted). [The only reason I actually referenced that post is to show a point of view that is how some feel in the “mainstream”, from outside a faith based circle. His statements are by no means backed up by fact and basically is just a dig at Warren, but he isn’t alone.]
Did We Learn Anything from the Warren Interview?
So, did we learn anything from this. Was your vote changed? You still had two choices before and two choices after, and I have to admit, I was flipping on the commercials over to the rip roaring woman’s marathon (shown in its entirety). I have to say, the questions were not the typical stump speech softballs. There were some softballs thrown, but the questions were different, as they should have been, but I don’t know if I really gained any insight into McCain or Obama that I couldn’t have already guessed.
The initial results show that evangelicals were favorable of McCain’s answers. Well that is hard hitting news there. I did like several of his answers to questions I probably wouldn’t have heard without the interview, but does that change a person’s vote, or was it even supposed to?
So, What’s The Point? Did We Change Our Minds?
I guess what I am trying to figure out is, what is or what was the point? I know Warren said to be able to fairly show the sides of two people running for the most powerful office in the world that we don’t normally get to see… but is it going to change your vote?
I have a lot of respect for Warren, and I don’t always agree with him or some of the other super-star pastors of our time, but he did get a commanding audience, he pulled at least a solid few hours of prime time news, his church got a lot of publicity, he probably sold a few more books, and Constantina Diá-Tomescu of Romania became the oldest woman to ever win the gold in the woman’s marathon.
Rick Warren has done something that many churches are just unable to do, reach an audience capacity on a nation wide level, even internationally on this venue, and for that, I think his work with this interview and other avenues he has followed are well worth it. There are many people that have a smaller reach, but a reach that I couldn’t possibly have (one example being Ragamuffinsoul, he just does things I couldn’t do in the faith).
But… did anyone make a meaningful commitment to Jesus Christ? Well, I guess that wasn’t the point.