Last night a few of us from MBCC gathered to watch the Faith, Values & Poverty forum broadcast on CNN and hosted by Sojourners. It was interesting to hear the leading Democratic candidates address these issues, as much as they had time in this short forum. A few thoughts:
1. The format sucked.
Each person was given 15 minutes to answer random faith-related questions. No two candidates got the same questions and they were up on the platform individually so the viewers didn't have the opportunity to compare their views.
2. Soledad O'Brien is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
She actually asked John Edwards what the biggest sin was that he'd ever committed. Seriously.
3. The media is, in general, ridiculous.
Of all the things put forth - Edwards' plan to eradicate poverty, Obama's desire to pair experienced nurses with inexperienced parents and to deal with the minimum wage, Clinton's desire to create dialogue between pro-Life and pro-Choice leadership - the only sound bite that has been circulated is Hillary Clinton's discussion of how her faith got her through her husband's infidelity. GET OVER IT.
I'm really glad that Sojourners and the candidates did this, and I'm looking forward to when they do the same thing with the Republican candidates. Most people there were surprised at Obama's strong pro-Israel stance, which is understood, given his church background. John Edwards said he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ about 80 times and Hilary used enough "Christianese" to please even the staunchest of Conservatives. I want to not be cynical and say they were prepped well, because realistically, they were. That, however, does not mean that they don't believe what they said. I'm hoping this is only the beginning of this conversation and that we'll hear more from these candidates on both sides.