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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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The Purpose-Driven President

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama made their first joint appearance in the presidential campaign yesterday–at a California megachurch. The presidential hopefuls answered questions about religion, international relations and values. They talked about marriage, abortion, stem cell research, education and more.

The Rev. Rick Warren, author of the best-selling "The Purpose Driven Life," interviewed both men. He asked each what Christianity meant to them in their daily lives.

Obama replied, "It means I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I am redeemed through Him.  That is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis.  I know that I don’t walk alone.  But what it also means, I think, is a sense of obligation to embrace not just words, but also through deeds and expectations that God has for us.  And that means thinking about the least of these – acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God."

McCain said, "It means I am saved and forgiven…Our Judeo-Christian principles dictate that we do what we can to help people who are oppressed throughout the world."

They disagreed on abortion: McCain said he would "be a pro-life president." Obama said he would be pro-choice but would limit late-term abortions. Both agreed the definition of marriage should be a union between one man and one woman.

Warren followed the forum with a sermon today, titled "The Kind of Leader America Needs." It will be livestreamed at at 2:15 p.m. today (11:15 a.m. pacific time).