While John McCain and Barack Obama appear together Saturday at a minister-moderated forum held in a church, thousands of evangelicals are expected to gather in the nation’s capital to pressure both men move further to the right on the social issues.
TheCall - a group representing so-called “values voters” – will hold a rally on the National Mall as both candidates speak at Pastor Rick Warren’s 20,000-member Saddleback mega church in southern California, where the author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” is slated to interview both McCain and Obama.
TheCall, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council - a Christian organization that opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights - will hold a press conference in Washington Friday to push McCain and Obama to delve further into issues facing evangelical voters, The Hill newspaper reported Saturday.
Former GOP presidential candidate and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee will also attend the press conference, according to the paper.
Lou Engle, Founder of the Justice House of Prayer, says “it's time for TheCall to expand to the national stage in an historic gathering in our nation's capital this Saturday,” according to the group’s Web site.
He says it isn't a conference or a festival, but rather a “a solemn assembly - a gathering of all ages, races and denominations. The 12 hours of TheCall are spent primarily before the Lord in prayer and worship.”
While McCain is generally considered a moderate, evangelicals leaders say they do not believe he has adopted consistently conservative positions on some social issues. The Republican is against abortion rights and opposes same-sex marriage, but is a supporter of embryonic stem cell research – a position that many religious groups oppose.
Obama’s position in favor of abortion rights and same-sex civil unions have also created some tension among evangelical voters otherwise drawn to his candidacy this cycle.