When introducing the presidential forum at Saddleback Church last month, Rick Warren noted that the separation of church and state does not mean the separation of faith and politics. He was right about that. Warren or any other pastor is entitled—as the government is not—to ask Barack Obama and John McCain about their faith in Jesus and to judge them accordingly. If Warren has the clout to get the presidential candidates to answer his questions, he has the right to pose whatever questions he wants.
It’s the clout factor that makes us uneasy about the Saddleback event—uneasy both about the integrity of Christianity when it gets a lot of political clout, and especially uneasy about a political culture in which trumpeting one’s Christian faith is a way to gain some more clout.