Rick Warren’s Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency
Rick Warren’s Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency powerfully demonstrated last night that religion is not the exclusive domain of any one political party or ideology and that the faith community has an important role to play in fostering civil political discourse in America.
During the primary, Faith in Public Life organized the Compassion Forum in Pennsylvania with Sens. Clinton and Obama (Sen. McCain was unable to attend), featuring questions from members of the Compassion Forum Board – a diverse coalition of faith leaders from across the ideological spectrum – to elevate compassion issues: poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change, abortion reduction, genocide in Darfur, and torture.
Faith in Public Life asked Rick Warren to join our efforts with the Compassion Forum Board to elevate compassion issues in the election by hosting another Compassion Forum with the presumptive nominees of both parties leading into the general election. Based on our experience organizing the Compassion Forum, we were happy to consult and advise Saddleback in the initial stages of planning for the Saddleback Civil Forum, but this was Saddleback’s event. While we certainly would have framed a number of the questions differently and focused more on compassion issues Rick has championed, we applaud him for providing a civil forum for discussion that moved beyond the gotcha-questions and partisan sniping of traditional debates.
We look forward to working to continue building bridges to find common ground for the common good and to elevate issues of compassion as important faith and values issues in the 2008 election and beyond.