Editorial: McCain, Obama Tithe For America

This story was written by Editorial Board, Daily Mississippian

While the Associated Press is typically a more respected news source than the Associated Baptist Press, when it comes to the 2008 presidential elections, the roles may be reversed.

Front running candidates Barack Obama and John McCain have agreed to meet in a megachurch August 16th for a non-debate moderated by Rick Warren, of The Purpose Driven Life fame. Now that both candidates have endorsed Bush-style faith-based initiatives and pledged to enact laws seemingly "respecting an establishment of religion", perhaps they need an hour of power to explain why they've each denounced a preacher or two.

Barack Obama, a former constitutional law professor, dismisses our concerns in a way much more befitting a politician than a lawyer. "Leaders in both parties have recognized the value of a partnership between the White House and faith-based groups," Obama claims. But if the White House is the state and faith-based groups are a church, how does partnership equate to the "wall of separation" that leaders from Jefferson to the Supreme Court have been talking about for centuries?

McCain, meanwhile, defaults to the current Bush plan which aims to fund religious groups and protect their "religious hiring rights." Such action is hardly a top-down state mandated religion. But for the 60% of Americans (according to Gallup) who are not weekly churchgoers, state sponsored religious charities that can deny employment to nonbelievers is misappropriation of funds at a minimum.

Candidates who claim such a strong basis in their faith should review the oath of office they hope to take as President, which requires them to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not override it for political or spiritual gain.