Here was the question:
"My question is to understand each candidates' view of a personal God. Do they believe that, through the power of prayer, disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Minnesota bridge collapse could have been prevented or lessened?"Personally, I thought it was a stupid question, but there it was. It implies that those disasters were acts of God, which really bugs me. Certainly, the hurricane was a force of nature and no one had any control over that. But the "disaster" portion of it was almost purely man made. And the Minnesota bridge collapse? Come on. How about blaming a no-taxes for anything approach? That bridge didn't collapse from some cosmic cough. It went down because it failed and human beings failed to catch that it was failing.
Obama had one of the better answers:
OBAMA: Most of the issues that we're debating here today are ones that we have the power to change.I am not bashing prayer, but praying for the poor and then voting against them seems problematic to me.
We don't have the power to prevent illness in all cases, but we do have the power to make sure that every child gets a regular checkup and isn't going to the emergency room for treatable illnesses like asthma.
We may not have the power to prevent a hurricane, but we do have the power to make sure that the levees are properly reinforced and we've got a sound emergency plan.
And so, part of what I pray for is the strength and the wisdom to be able to act on those things that I can control. And that's what I think has been lacking sometimes in our government.
OBAMA: We've got to express those values through our government, not just through our religious institutions.