JOHN McCAIN, SEMI-BAPTIST....The latest weirdness from the traveling carnival that is the Republican presidential campaign is John McCain's sudden assertion that he's not an Episcopalian, as he's always identified himself before, but a Baptist. In fact, he's been attending a Baptist church for 15 years. Only one problem: he's never been, um, baptized. "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs," he told McClatchy a couple of months ago. Georgia cracker Ed Kilgore comments:
Well, you'd think anyone who's been attending a Baptist Church for 15 years might have caught wind of the fact that the denomination, as its name suggests, believes rather adamantly that baptism is necessary for salvation, a reasonably important "spiritual need" by most measurements.The June McClatchy story is here:
And no, it wouldn't cut any ice with his fellow-Baptists if it turns out that McCain, like most Episcopalians, was baptized via sprinkling as an infant. Any kind of Baptist I've ever heard of holds that only a "believer's baptism" (i.e., at an age of consent) through full bodily immersion is valid. That's why their theological ancestors in Europe were contemptuously dubbed "Re-baptizers," or "Anabaptists."
I don't know why McCain has chosen to wander into this particular thicket. But the only way out I can imagine is if he asks Huckabee to baptize him during the next candidate debate.
McCain still calls himself an Episcopalian, but he said he began attending North Phoenix Baptist because he found "the message and fundamental nature more fulfilling than I did in the Episcopal church. ... They're great believers in redemption, and so am I."I dunno. McCain may be a Baptist, but he sure doesn't sound especially convinced about it. Still, it'd be a shame to waste all that pandering he did to Jerry Falwell last year. Baptist it is!