RELEASES from Pastor Rick Warren
|FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
A. Larry Ross
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TO: Political and Religion Editors|
PRESUMED PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES MCCAIN & OBAMA
FIRST JOINT APPEARANCE AT THE SADDLEBACK CIVIL FORUM:
Nationally Broadcast Non-Debate Format Provides Opportunity
for Long-form Discussion on Leadership, Stewardship,
Worldview and Vision for America’s Role
LAKE FOREST, Calif., Aug. 15 – Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, respective presumed Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, will end the primary season Aug. 16 by joining Dr. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. and author of the bestselling “Purpose Driven Life,” at the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency.
“As a pastor, I believe in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe we can separate religion from politics, because one’s faith determines one’s worldview, which informs one’s decisions and determines how one would lead,” Warren said. “The reason we are hosting this historic event is to stake out common ground for the common good.”
The two hour event, held from 5-7 p.m. (PDT), will be uplinked in both HD and SD formats, and broadcast live – in real time across all zones starting 8 p.m. (EDT) – on CNN, FOX News Channel and Daystar Television Network, as well as Southern California’s KDOC-TV. America can also watch the event via live streaming at SaddlebackCivilForum.com, ReadersDigest.com and MySpace.com/Impact or listen on the FamilyLife, Moody and Pilgrim Radio Networks and select Salem Radio Network stations through Southern California affiliate, KKLA-Radio.
The Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency will be conducted in a non-debate format to provide opportunity for the candidates to engage in a long-form conversation about critical issues of interest to the faith community and the general public. At the candidates’ request, the questions will only be posed by Warren – not a panel or from the audience – and open to all media, rather than co-sponsored by one network or news outlet, as with many of the earlier primary events. As a result, more than 550 media representatives have requested credentials to cover the event as news.
Warren will question each candidate, beginning with Sen. Obama as determined by a coin toss, for approximately one hour on four different topics: stewardship, leadership, worldview and America’s role in the world.
Unlike earlier debates, which often focused on short-term, hot-button issues – such as the war, price of oil and healthcare – Warren will be posing identical questions to the candidates to help show American voters each of these Senators’ leadership style and decision-making process.
“Since announcing this event last month, I have seen concerns expressed from two groups about this Civil Forum and my role in it,” Warren said. “Some secularists think I am going to make this a Christian or religious litmus test for the Presidency; while many religious people assume I am going to wimp out and not ask about issues involving sanctity of life and the family – including abortion, stem cell research and traditional marriage. Neither is reflective of my position or purpose in this process.
“I am a pastor, not a pundit,” Warren clarified. “I will ask all the tough questions. But this is a conversation, not a confrontation, and I am going to be civil in our discussion. People know where I stand on the critical issues; however, this forum is not about me and what I believe, but to give a place for America to hear the candidates’ hearts by going beyond moral issues and their virtues, to also share their values and vision for leadership.”
In addition to proclaiming the Gospel Truth of salvation in Jesus Christ, Warren further explained that this Civil Forum will enable him to fulfill three other life goals – helping individuals accept responsibility, helping the Church regain credibility and encouraging society to return to civility.
At approximately 6 p.m. (PDT), in the transition of candidate questioning, both Sens. McCain and Obama will appear briefly together on the stage with Warren for a handshake and photo opportunity. This will be the first and only appearance of the candidates together before each party’s national conventions.
More than 5,000 Saddleback members will be joined by local and national religious, government and business leaders in attending this historic, invitation-only event in-person. In addition, Saddleback Church personally invited 22 inner-city students and two chaperones from the local Santa Ana School District, to learn more about the democratic process and the responsibility of citizenship to share with their family, friends and peers.
Following the Civil Forum on Sunday, Aug. 17, Warren will deliver a special sermon to the nation, “The Kind of Leader America Needs.” This message, which will also be uplinked and live-streamed at www.Saddleback.com at 9 and 11:15 a.m. (PDT), is based on biblical principles of leadership, emphasizing such key characteristics as integrity, humility, generosity and competence.
The Saddleback Civil Forum was established to promote civil discourse and the common good of all. The first forum, held this past April, featured five Jewish World War II Holocaust survivors sharing their stories. The next Saddleback Civil Forum in September will feature former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
A. Larry Ross
PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES MCCAIN AND OBAMA TO MAKE FIRST
JOINT CAMPAIGN APPEARANCE ON AUGUST 16 AT SADDLEBACK CHURCH:
Pastor Rick Warren to Host Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion and
Question Candidates on Faith and the Common Good
LAKE FOREST, Calif., July 21 – Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, respective presumed Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, will end the primary season by making their first joint appearance of the 2008 campaign at Saddleback Church on Saturday, Aug.16 at the Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion. Dr. Rick Warren, founding pastor of the 22,000-member Orange County, Calif. mega church and moderator for the event, made the announcement today upon confirmation by both campaigns.
“We’re honored that the candidates chose The Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion for their first joint appearance, an unprecedented opportunity for America to hear both men back-to-back on the same platform,” Warren said. “This is a critical time for our nation and the American people deserve to hear both candidates speak from the heart – without interruption – in a civil and thoughtful format absent the partisan ‘gotcha’ questions that typically produce heat instead of light.
“The primaries proved that Americans care deeply about the faith, values, character and leadership convictions of candidates as much as they do about the issues. While I know both men as friends and they recognize I will be frank, but fair, they also know I will be raising questions in these four areas beyond what political reporters typically ask. This includes pressing issues that are bridging divides in our nation, such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights.”
Warren confirmed that, at the candidates’ request, this two-hour event from 5-7 p.m. (PDT) will be held in a non-debate format and open to all media. Both candidates also requested that questions be posed exclusively by Warren, instead of a panel or members of the audience. Each will converse separately with Warren for approximately one-hour, beginning with Sen. Obama as determined by a coin toss. This historic forum will be the only joint campaign event prior to each party’s national convention.
“While debates typically focus primarily on the candidates’ positions and only secondarily on how they’d lead and make decisions, this Saddleback Civil Forum will reverse that ratio,” Warren continued. “Since the oath of the President is a commitment to protect the Constitution, it’s critical to know how each candidate interprets the nature of its principles. Leadership involves far more than promoting programs and making speeches, and since no one can predict what crises will happen over the next four years, it is vital to know the decision capacity and process of each man.”
Warren has known each candidate prior to their run for national office. Both men recorded video messages to attendees at Saddleback’s annual Global Summit on AIDS and The Church last November. Along with other national and international leaders, each has also endorsed Warren’s vision of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, a 50-year strategy to mobilize millions of local churches around the world to address five global problems: spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy. After four years of testing prototypes of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan in 68 countries, the P.E.A.C.E. Coalition, involving business, church and government partnerships, was launched in April.
In conjunction with the Civil Forum event, Warren will convene an interfaith meeting at the church for approximately 30 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders to discuss cooperation in projects for the common good of all Americans. Members of the P.E.A.C.E. Coalition Leadership Council will also fly in for weekend events.
On Sunday, Aug. 17, Warren will deliver a special sermon entitled, “Making Up Your Mind: Questions to Consider before the Election,” which will be streamed live on the church Web site, www.saddleback.com, and made available for use in small group discussions within churches across the country.
The Saddleback Civil Forum was established to promote civil discourse and the common good of all. The first forum, held during Passover week this year, featured five Jewish World War II Holocaust survivors sharing their stories. The next Saddleback Civil Forum in September will feature former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“In addition to my primary calling to proclaim the Gospel Truth of salvation in Jesus Christ, these Civil Forums further three other life goals: helping individuals accept responsibility, helping the Church regain credibility and encouraging our society to return to civility,” Warren added.
Saddleback Church has invited Faith in Public Life, which hosted a Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Pennsylvania last April, to co-sponsor this special Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion. Approximately 6,500 tickets to the event will be allotted for seating in six different venues throughout the 120-acre Saddleback campus.
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