WASHINGTON — John McCain and Barack Obama will appear back to back at a forum on religious faith at a California mega-church shortly before they accept their parties' presidential nominations.
The two candidates will appear Saturday, Aug. 16, at the 22,000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. They'll be together briefly, then will answer questions separately in sessions moderated by the Rev. Rick Warren, the pastor of the church and the author of the bestselling book " The Purpose Driven Life."
The two-hour forum will occur a week before the Democratic National Convention convenes in Denver and two weeks before the Republican National Convention gathers in St. Paul, Minn.
"The primaries proved that Americans care deeply about the faith, values, character and leadership convictions of candidates as much as they do about the issues," Warren said in a statement Monday.
"While I know both men as friends and they recognize I will be frank, but fair, they also know I will be raising questions in these four areas beyond what political reporters typically ask. This includes pressing issues that are bridging divides in our nation, such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights."
Warren plans a special sermon the morning after the forum, titled "Making Up Your Mind: Questions to Consider Before the Election."
Breaking from other prominent evangelists, Warren has focused much of his political talk on issues such as AIDS and poverty rather than gay marriage or abortion.
Last November, McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, and Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois, sent videotaped messages to the church's "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church."
More on the church: www.Rickwarrennews.com