Time Cover: The Purpose Driven Pastor



In this week’s issue, TIME’s David Van Biema profiles Rick Warren, the founding pastor of one of the country’s largest churches and the host of the upcoming “civil forum,” which will feature the two presumptive Presidential nominees on August 16. Also in the issue, John McCain and Barack Obama write about their own views of faith, and a new TIME poll shows that 70% of white Evangelical voters support McCain. (p. 37)
In his profile of Warren, Van Biema writes that the pastor “is unquestionably the U.S.’s most influential and highest-profile churchman. He is a natural leader, a pathological schmoozer, insatiably curious and often the smartest person in the room. Like Graham, he projects an authenticity that has helped him forge an exquisite set of political connections–in the White House, on both sides of the legislative aisle and abroad. And he is both leading and riding the newest wave of change in the Evangelical community: an expansion beyond social conservatism to causes such as battling poverty, opposing torture and combating global warming. The movement has loosened the hold of religious-right leaders on ordinary Evangelicals and created an opportunity for Warren, who has lent his prominent voice to many of the new concerns.” Previewing next Saturday’s forum, Warren tells TIME he will not give the candidates a “Christian religion test,” but that he wants to showcase “what’s good for everybody, not just what’s good for me. Who’s the best for the nation right now?”
McCain writes, “A living faith calls us as well to care for the most vulnerable members of society. The poor, the hungry, the stranger seeking shelter and the child waiting to be born–all are in need of our compassion and protection. Faith shows us that the weak and defenseless are not a problem but rather a priority, and a chance for us to live out the message of the Gospels. That message can reach into any place, however dark. Even in solitary confinement, when everything else has been taken away, nothing can separate us from the love of our Creator.”
Obama writes, “I don’t believe we should ignore the debate over traditional “values issues” at the expense of these other moral challenges. But we can’t just talk about “family values.” We actually have to stand up for policies that value families. I hope we’ll get into these tough topics and others at Saddleback. The next President will have to lead Americans of all religious and secular backgrounds and will navigate a range of tough values issues.”
Plus: “A new TIME poll of white Evangelical voters finds that 70% support John McCain,” but “27% of his Evangelical backers say they are not enthusiastic about him. Nearly two-thirds of them also say they could vote for a candidate whose position on abortion differed from theirs; 72% would vote for a candidate who disagrees with them on Iraq.” (p. 44)
Inside TIME
TIME Reports: Hillary Clinton “Remains Skeptical That Obama Can Win In the Fall”
TIME’s Karen Tumulty writes, “In private conversations, associates say, Clinton remains skeptical that Obama can win in the fall. That’s a sentiment some other Democrats believe is not just a prediction but a wish, because it would prove her right about his weaknesses as a general-election candidate and possibly pave the way for her to run again in 2012. Clinton is also annoyed that Obama has yet to deliver on his end of an informal bargain, reached as part of their truce, that each would raise $500,000 for the other.” A Clinton adviser tells TIME, “Hillary has done her part in that regard … Obama has not.” Tumulty writes, “As the odds that she will be Obama’s running mate have faded, there are signs that Clinton’s backers could demand one last show of respect before Obama claims the nomination in Denver. Clinton has been giving tacit encouragement to suggestions that her name be placed in nomination at the convention.” (p. 29)
Joe Klein: “Obama Would Be Wise…to Challenge McCain to Town-Hall Debates”
TIME columnist Joe Klein writes, “[Barack Obama] needs to move the conversation toward the substantive differences he has with McCain–and the differences McCain doesn’t have with [President] Bush. The best way to do that is through a major, narrative-changing event … Obama would be wise to change course now: challenge McCain to town-hall debates on the Sunday nights after each convention– one before a military audience, another with hard- pressed Rust Belt workers. He’d be wise to make this a campaign about issues instead of ads as soon as possible. It is true that debates often turn on one- liners and flubs, but more often they turn on sustained, vivid demonstrations of character.” (p. 25)
TIME Reports: “The New McCain … Will Play Rough If He Thinks It Will Help Him Win”
TIME’s Michael Scherer writes, “The new McCain is tight and focused. The candidate who once invited all comers onto the back of his bus now hangs a curtain on his campaign plane to prevent reporters from even catching a glimpse. Instead of charm and candor, he serves up fastballs. Instead of risk-taking, he seeks control. It’s a whole new McCain … Despite his backslapping reputation, McCain will play rough if he thinks it will help him win.” Mark Salter, one of McCain’s closest aides, tells TIME, “We were letting the press [get] in our heads … [Now] we’re going to say what the message is.” (p. 26)
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