Candidates Bound for Spiritual Showdown

By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2008 4:36 PM CDT
Pastor Rick Warren speaks at the Global Summit on AIDS.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The presidential candidates will put their spiritual views on display tomorrow night, appearing with Rick Warren, the country's most popular pastor, at his megachurch in California. The back-to-back 1-hour interviews are clear signs of both the importance of religion in the campaign and the emergence of a new type of evangelical preacher, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

With many evangelicals ambivalent at best about John McCain, Barack Obama may be able to gain voters from their ranks. The host initiated the event and dictated the topics of conversation, behavior that's drawing mixed reactions. "He's putting himself on center stage at a critical moment, with a tremendous amount of responsibility riding on his shoulders," one religious leader says of Warren.