In a recent interview with Beliefnet, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed “the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation,” and suggested religious candidates that don’t share his faith should be viewed skeptically. “McCain was raised Episcopalian and currently attends a Baptist church in Arizona.”
Beliefnet columnist David Kuo said McCain was “pandering to what he thinks the Christian conservative community wants to hear” and predicted he would “have a lot of explaining to do about this interview.”
Several religious groups have condemned McCain’s remarks. The Anti-Defamation League is calling on him to “reconsider and withdraw” the comments. The American Jewish Committee said McCain’s attempts to impose religious tests for public office “puts the very character of our country at stake.” James Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute, called called McCain “Cheney without the nuance.”
But there’s at least one religious group that is proudly backing McCain’s religious bigotry. In a press release, the Christian Coalition — an organization founded by Pat Robertson — said McCain may win the presidency with his “America is a Christian Nation” comment:
In a Christian Coalition of America blog entry entitled: “McCain’s ‘America is a Christian Nation’ Comments Might Make Him President,” Jim Backlin said: “Comments like ‘America was founded on Christian principles’ by Senator John McCain just might make him president.
In an interview last Saturday with a Christian-oriented website called Beliefnet, Senator McCain stated that “I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I would prefer someone who has a grounding in my faith.” The fact that the left-wing Muslim groups vociferously reacted against McCain’s remarks, just added validity to his comments, and indeed value for his presidential nomination hopes.
For the Christian Coalition, rewarding political pandering is a greater priority than defending religious freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.
UPDATE: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has also lept to his friend’s defense: “I have known John McCain very well for many years and I know that he does not have a bigoted bone in his body. I know that he is fair and just to all Americans regardless of their faith.”