McCain a No-Show

June 12, 2008

CNN had an odd segment this afternoon. Wolf Blitzer was asking Republican and Democratic strategists if they thought it would hurt Republican presidential candidate John McCain that he did not show up at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. They were acting like this was a big deal--almost as if he did not show up at the Republican National Convention! Although they suggested it was representative of a larger problem McCain is having with evangelicals, it seemed to represent a much more significant problem for the SBC. Apparently the SBC meeting is viewed as a political rally for the Republicans and thus it is problematic if a Republican candidate does not show up.

This sentiment was dealt with in an Associated Press story this week that also noted McCain's absence at the SBC meeting. The piece notes:

Four years ago, the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign hosted a reception for Southern Baptist pastors at a hotel across the street from their annual meeting.
Now, we are starting to see the source of the problem! The SBC allowed themselves to literally get too close to one candidate during the last election. Outgoing SBC president Frank Page got it right as he saw McCain's absence as a good thing:
I have admonished--lovingly but firmly--our convention not to get too close to any political party. ... Parties change. I think we need to stay close to issues, and not hold allegiance to political parties.
Amen! Hopefully, other SBC leaders will listen to him. If they follow this model for a couple of election cycles, then maybe the media will start viewing the SBC annual meeting as a religious gathering and not a Republican rally. Then SBC leaders could serve as a prophetic challenge to those in both parties and not just as court prophets for one side. Let us pray that this return to a biblical political model occurs.

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