You could say I’m prejudiced against John McCain.
The idea of McCain’s finger on the nuclear trigger brings shudders to my very soul. The man is emotionally and psychologically unstable, in my opinion.
Imagining McCain as president brings to mind equally scary and morally repulsive figures – Hillary Clinton, Captain Queeg or Charles Logan, the fictional president in season five of “24.”
Nevertheless, several major American Christian leaders seem ready to accept the possibility of a John McCain presidency.
A week from today, for instance, at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando, a “meet and greet” paid for by the John McCain 2008 presidential exploratory committee will be hosted by several very prominent conservative Christian evangelical leaders.
They include: My friend Jerry Falwell. My friend John Hagee. And the two men who run Salem, the largest Christian radio network in the U.S., Edward Atsinger and Stuart Epperson.
Is this just an act of Christian charity? Is it simply a way to reach out to a man who is among the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination? Or are conservative Christians ready to concede that no one better than McCain has a chance to beat Hillary or Obama in 2008?
The good news, from my perspective, is not all the conservative Christian leaders have sold out or been fooled.
James Dobson of Focus on the Family is not ready to jump on the McCain bandwagon – not by a long shot. In fact, he all but ruled out supporting McCain under any circumstances.
“Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstance,” he said recently on a radio interview.
Dobson said McCain did not stand up for traditional marriage values. He also criticized his campaign finance “reform” legislation that “kept us from telling the truth right before the elections.”
“I pray we will not get stuck with him,” he said of the Arizona senator.
Maybe the biggest surprise is the willingness of Falwell to forgive and forget. After Falwell endorsed George W. Bush in 2000, McCain characterized Falwell, along with Pat Robertson, as an “agent of intolerance.” He called them “corrupting influences” in American politics.
Apparently impressed with the reaction he got from such name-calling, the next day, McCain hit Falwell and Robertson even harder, blasting them for what he called “the evil influence that they exercise over the Republican Party.”
Later, recognizing that positive coverage in the nation’s elite press doesn’t necessarily translate into voter support, McCain retracted the “evil” part of that last statement.
Falwell and Robertson and their ilk were still “agents of intolerance” and “corrupting influences” in American politics. But, they weren’t necessarily “evil.”
The rapprochement started last year when Falwell invited McCain to speak at his Liberty University. McCain accepted the offer – a rather strange thing to do if you truly believe your host is an “agent of intolerance” and a “corrupting influence” on American politics.
But, you know what they say – politics, indeed, makes strange bedfellows.
Now, I can tell you from personal experience that Jerry Falwell is a very forgiving man. But in politics, we don’t elect men to the presidency just to show them there are no hard feelings. There must be other qualifications.
In John McCain there are none.
He may have withdrawn his own “evil” characterization of Robertson and Falwell, but I’m not afraid to level it at McCain today. The man is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest and emotionally unequipped for the Oval Office.
This is no time for conservative Christian leaders to be playing footsie with him. It’s time to slam the door in his face – as Dr. Dobson has done.