Debate! Debate! (sort of)
The Rick Warren presidential sort-of-debate gets underway from Lake Forest, California. Warren starts by explaining that we have to learn to disagree without demonizing each other.
Who are the three wisest people in your life?
1. Michelle Obama, not only wise but honest. 2. My "no fuss, no frills" grandmother. 3. A table where a lot of points of view can be expressed, and my blind spots exposed and assumptions challenged.
2. Greatest moral failure of your life? Greatest moral failure of America?
For me, being self-centered as a youth. For America, not abiding by the maxim that whatever you do to the least of them, you do to me.
3. When did you go against party loyalty for the good of America?
Working with John McCain on campaign finance reform and opposing vote to allow use of force in Iraq.
4. What's your most significant flip flop (change of mind)?
Welfare reform - feared the Bill Clinton plan would have disastrous consequences. (Is this really a change of mind?)
5. What was your most gut-wrenching decision?
Opposing the war in Iraq.
6. What does it mean for you to trust in Christ?
He died for my sins and I am redeemed through him. I don't walk alone. Deeds, not just words. Acting justly and walking humbly.
There is a moral and ethical issue here, but I do support Roe vs. Wade.
8. How do you define marriage?
Man and a woman, but my faith and marriage is strong enough to allow civil unions between gay couples.
9. Stem cell research?
Yes. "In a careful way."
10. Does evil exist? If so, do we ignore, confront, contain, destroy?
Evil does exist. We see it in Darfur, on the streets of our cities, in the abuse of children. It has to be confronted, but we have to do it with humility. A lot of evil perpetrated in the name of good.
11. Which Supreme Court justice would you not have nominated?
I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. Or Antonin Scalia. And oppose John Roberts because he supports the encroachment of the executive branch on the other branches of government.
12. Would you force faith-based organizations to follow anti-discrimination rules in hiring to take federal funds?
Yes. (But he says it with so much nuance that makes me wonder why he's touching this subject.)
13. Merit pay for teachers?
Yes, but it has to be negotiated with the teachers. Raise teacher pay and then reward excellence.
14. Define rich?
If you have book sales of $25 million ... (haha). But seriously. If you're making more than $250,000 you're well off. On taxes, you can't spend $10 billion a week on a war and then not have revenues to pay for it. Oh, and get rid of the loopholes.
15. What's worth dying for?
American freedom, American lives, America's national interest.
16. When do you commit troops in response to genocide?
No hard and fast line, always a judgment call. If we have it in our power to prevent genocide and mass killing, and we can work in concert with the international community, then we should act. Gives Bosnia as an example.
17. 148 million orphans in the world - Would you commit to funding a plan to help alleviate?
18. What should the U.S. do to end religious persecution in foreign lands?
First, we have to bear witness and speak out. And lead by example by preaching religious tolerance in the United States.
19. What do you do about human trafficking?
Better laws to prosecute here. Speak out internationally.
20. In a minute, why do you want to be president?
The basic idea of empathy. Build bridges to come to common sense solutions to difficult issues that a broken Washington pushes off to future generations.
21. What do you say about people who criticize me for asking you these questions in a church?
We need these conversations so people know who we are and not focus solely on negative ads.
22. What would tell the American people if you knew there were no repercussions?
Solving big problems is going to require us to pay a price. (Uses energy as an example). If we pretend everything is easy, we are betraying the next generation.