U.S. Politics ‘Took an Important Turn’ at Saddleback HIV/AIDS Conference, Opinion Piece Says
Politics in the U.S. "took an important turn" last week when Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) were invited to speak at an HIV/AIDS conference hosted by Rick Warren -- an author and the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. -- and to address the role of religion in the fight against the pandemic, E.J. Dionne, a Washington Post columnist, writes in an opinion piece. According to Dionne, Warren "faced down right-wing pressure" after inviting Obama to address the conference and "sent a signal: A significant group of theologically conservative Christians no longer wants to be treated as a cog in the Republican political machine." Obama in his speech at the conference "took on the moral message of evangelical AIDS activists -- and then challenged them," Dionne writes. Obama said, "[I]f condoms and potentially things like microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, then they should be made more widely available ... I don't accept the notion that those who make mistakes in their lives should be given an effective death sentence." In addition, according to Dionne, "Warren speaks for a new generation of evangelicals who think that harnessing religious faith too closely to electoral politics is bad for religion and who are broadening the evangelical public agenda to include a concern for global poverty and the scourge of AIDS" (Dionne, Washington Post, 12/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.