With the relentlessly evolving public view on the role of religion intertwining with legislation, policy and politics in general, it can be difficult for candidates to discern how much of their religion to portray to the public. In Adelle M. Banks’ tellingly titled piece “McCain’s faith journey largely unspoken,” she slyly applauds McCain’s ability to express his “subdued and understated religion.”
Banks’ narrative reiterates McCain’s deep devotion to religion and God coupled with a sense of privacy and discretion. There is one quote from a McCain supporter within the article that I believe exemplifies Banks’ overall theme:
"I believe his faith is deep but he will not use it to try to get somebody to vote for him," said Phil Burress, an evangelical Christian who met with McCain in June along with a handful of other conservative leaders in Cincinnati. "I just think that that's his style, that he just does not wear his religion on his sleeve."
Banks’ implores her readers, which I’m inferring is a demographic of mostly Christians, to realize McCain isn’t using religion to fish for votes. She implies that because he is ”a man of deep convictions” that should win votes on its own right. With surreptitious praise for McCain’s own praise of God, Banks clearly shows her sympathetic religious affiliation and opinion.
It is interesting that in an article dedicated to a politician keeping demurely silent about his belief, Banks would choose a quote from an interview with Rick Warren on a pastor’s forum:
When Warren asked McCain what being a Christian means, the senator simply said: "It means I'm saved and forgiven."
Perhaps in her eyes McCain’s succinct response negated the irony of trying to keep your religion private by appearing on a “televised interview with [a] megachurch pastor.“ After all, what good is being religious and humble if no one sees it?
If John McCain truly wants his personal beliefs left out of contention, is Adelle Banks doing him a disservice? As Banks illustrates how McCain is a man of God, but quietly, with simply a “well-worn prayer book,” does that undermine his wish of a private faith? Or is she trying to clandestinely enhance his faith-based credentials for the religious voting bloc?