About The Compassion Forum
Messiah College has been selected to host The Compassion Forum, an unprecedented bipartisan presidential candidate forum dedicated to discussing pressing moral issues that bridge ideological divides within our nation. Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama have accepted the invitation to participate in the Forum. Senator John McCain has thus far declined the invitation, which is still open. The Compassion Forum is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, in Brubaker Auditorium, and will be covered by mainstream media and religious media outlets alike. CNN is the exclusive broadcaster of The Compassion Forum and will televise and stream the event live from 8-9:30 p.m.
The Church Communication Network (CCN) will broadcast the event to tens of thousands of people of faith in at least 1,000 congregations nationwide on April 20, the Sunday evening before the Pennsylvania primary.
Now more than ever, Americans motivated by faith are bridging ideological divides to address domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture. The Compassion Forum will provide the opportunity for candidates to discuss how their faith and moral convictions bear on their positions on these important issues.
The Compassion Forum will be a unique and unprecedented event. Each candidate will participate in a separate substantive conversation. This will not be a debate. Questions will be posed by co-moderators Jon Meacham, editor of "Newsweek," and Campbell Brown, anchor of CNN's Election Center.
The Compassion Forum is supported by diverse religious leaders and Democrats and Republicans alike.
"The Compassion Forum will give the candidates a chance to talk straight to voters about what they'll do as president to fulfill God's command that we be our brothers' keepers," said Governor Mike Huckabee, a supporter of the event. "I'm proud that the faith community is taking the lead in asking the candidates to confront the most pressing moral challenges of our times."
"Issues of faith, compassion, and the common good are important throughout Pennsylvania," said U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. "We have a moral obligation to provide a stable foundation for our next generation, but it also makes perfect economic sense. This year's candidates will be well served discussing these issues in Pennsylvania and The Compassion Forum."
"The Compassion Forum is a shining example of the faith community's commitment to justice and compassion for all of God's children. It's imperative that the presidential candidates give the compassion issues the attention they deserve," said Dr. Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention and Compassion Forum Board member.
"At this moment of incredible prosperity and intolerable poverty, it is more important than ever to elect a president who will be a force of justice and compassion. The Compassion Forum provides a unique opportunity for the candidates to tell us what they will do for the least of our brothers and sisters across the globe," said Dr. William J. Shaw, President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.— the largest African-American denomination in the nation—Pastor of White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia, and Compassion Forum Board member.
Other nationally prominent members of the Compassion Forum Board include Dr. Paul R. Corts, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Dr. Joel Hunter, Northland A Church Distributed; Rev. Richard Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals; Dr. Oran P. Smith, Palmetto Family Council; Father Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities USA; Rabbi Steve Gutow, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission; Dr. Syeed Sayeed, Islamic Society of North America; David Neff, Christianity Today; Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners; Rev. Dr. Tyrone S. Pitts, Progressive National Baptist Convention; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Rev. David Beckmann, Bread for the World; Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Rev. Dr. Vashti McKenzie, African Methodist Episcopal Church; and Sammy Mah, World Relief.
Faith in Public Life, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit resource and communication center for faith leaders based in Washington, D.C., is coordinating The Compassion Forum. Other organizational sponsors of the event include the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, the ONE campaign, and Oxfam America.