That straight-talking maverick from Arizona is living up to the hype once again. John McCain, in an interview with the outstanding website Beliefnet.com, said the following about Muslims who might one day seek to be President of the United States. From the NYTimes:
Senator John McCain said in an interview posted on the Internet on Saturday that the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation and that his faith is probably of better spiritual guidance than that of a Muslim candidate for president…
“I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, that’s a decision the American people would have to make, but personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith,” Mr. McCain said in response to a question about the possibility of a Muslim’s running for president. [Link]
p>Mr. McCain, what are your views of the Constitution exactly?
Q: A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?
A: I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn’t say, “I only welcome Christians.” We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.[Link]
Well I guess it is better to agree with 55% of people than with 45% of them. Now what about Mormonism? Surely a Christian nation shouldn’t follow a Mormon right?
Q: People are raising similar concerns about Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, which some consider to be outside the Judeo-Christian tradition.
A: I believe that the Mormon religion is a religion that I don’t share, but I respect. More importantly, I’ve known so many people of the Mormon faith who have been so magnificent. I think that Governor Romney’s religion should not, absolutely not, be a disqualifying factor when people consider his candidacy for President of the United States, absolutely not. [Link]
p>What that implies of course is that McCain doesn’t know people of the Muslim faith that have been magnificent, just so-so maybe. I can just picture an SNL skit where McCain pretends he has Muslim friends Of course, McCain did backtrack a little:
After the interview, Mr. McCain contacted the Web site to clarify his remarks, saying, “I would vote for a Muslim if he or she was the candidate best able to lead the country and defend our political values…” [Link]
p>What prompted these comments in the first place? Here is an idea:
In a response to the interview that also was posted on beliefnet, David Kuo, the former deputy director of the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, characterized Mr. McCain as “a man pandering to what he thinks the Christian conservative community wants to hear. It is as if he is trying to sound like the ‘agents of tolerance’ he once critiqued, thinking that will cause Christian conservatives to like him. It is a sad performance…” [Link]