HARRISBURG, Pa. — They called it the church riot.
Sen. John McCain, who is known for his reticence and even discomfort invoking faith on the campaign trail, was once dubbed a "Hell's Angel" for rioting against his captors in Vietnam in order to hold Sunday church services.
It is a story unknown by a public still getting to know McCain and searching for shared values with the candidates.
This Saturday, McCain and Sen. Barack Obama will separately answer questions from evangelical leader Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in Southern California.In an extended interview, McCain talked about how his faith was tested during his years as a prisoner of war from 1967 to 1973, said God must have had a plan for him to have kept him alive, and reminisced about his appointment as informal chaplain to his cellmates.
"There were many times I didn't pray for another day and I didn't pray for another hour — I prayed for another minute to keep going," said McCain, who was brought up Episcopalian but now worships at North Phoenix Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church. "There's no doubt that my faith was strengthened and reinforced and tested, because sometimes you have a tendency to say, 'Why am I here?' "
McCain said his faith in God informs his decisions on issues of public policy. Christian conservatives are skeptical of McCain's commitment to many of the issues they care about, such as abortion and marriage. They have also been disappointed in his embrace of embryonic stem cell research. But McCain said he wrestled with that decision and hopes technology soon renders it obsolete.
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