Sarah Palin may not be taking questions from the press at the moment, but Pastor Rick Warren had a chance to ask her one yesterday when the Alaska governor called him directly. Warren related details of their conversation on Wednesday while appearing on Brian Oxman's "Insight" radio program on Los Angeles's AM830 KLAA.
After co-host Kathryn Milofsky tried to get Warren to imagine what question he would ask Palin about "her faith, her politics," Warren at first let out a belly laugh, perhaps signaling his unwillingness to step into the political fray. "Actually, she called me yesterday," Warren said, adding: "The question I asked her was, "How can I pray for you? ... She asked me to send her some Bible verses on how do you deal with all of the unfair, unjust attacks and the mean-spirited criticism that comes in."
Elsewhere in the program, however, Warren was at pains to declare his friendship with both Barack Obama and John McCain. "They both actually happen to be friends of mine," Warren said, explaining his decision to host them both at his Saddleback Forum in August. "They're different in their philosophy, in their approach to government. They're very different in their personality. But I honestly think that they're both good guys."
Warren noted that one question from his presidential forum -- "at what point does a baby get human rights?" -- received the most attention from the media. "John McCain said at the point of conception. And Barack Obama [chuckle] said he wasn't really sure." Then Warren appeared to take slight umbrage at Obama's description of Warren's question after the fact. "I understand that this last week on NBC he said to Tom Brokaw he thought that was kind of a flip [of the abortion issue]." The pastor was apparently referring to Obama running mate Sen. Joe Biden's Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, hosted by Brokaw.
MR. BROKAW: But if you, you believe that life begins at conception, and you've also voted for abortion rights...
SEN. BIDEN: No, I voted against curtailing the right, criminalizing abortion. I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously-based view that it's a moment of conception. There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that's existed. Back in "Summa Theologia," when Thomas Aquinas wrote "Summa Theologia," he said there was no -- it didn't occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How am I going to go out and tell you, you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view if that is based on a matter of faith? And that's the reason I haven't. But then again, I also don't support a lot of other things. I don't support public, public funding. I don't, because that flips the burden. That's then telling me I have to accept a different view. ...
Elsewhere in his interview, though, Warren explicitly affirmed his support for the separation of church and state. "In the first place I happen to agree with Constitution, that there should be no religious test." Warren said. "When I go to a doctor, I don't ask that surgeon if he's a Christian or not. I just want to know if he's a good surgeon. ... We're not electing a United States pastor. We're electing a United States president. So I believe there should not be a religious test. But on the other hand, everybody has a world view. A Christian has a world view. ... Even an atheist has a world view. And so faith is just a world view. So it's very appropriate for us to understand 'what is the faith, or what is the world view of the people who lead us?'"