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Into the evangelical bear pit

Justin Webb | 22:04 UK time, Monday, 18 August 2008

As the dust settles on the Obama/McCain "what would Jesus do" showdown (and various aftershocks, allegations of cheating etc), there is a comprehensive and reasonable analysis of the whole shebang in the Chicago Tribune.

I must say, although I thought the whole thing weird in conception (why should the candidates be dragged into the evangelical bear pit at the very time that evangelical Christians are a fading force in US politics?), I did think it was a far better than that ghastly saccharine effort CNN put on when the candidates simply wittered on - in a manner criticised at the time by many and ultimately rather embarrassing to all concerned.

There's a fascinating and important new survey of interest to all of us who have views on anti-Americanism. It's here on a British-based website with worldwide importance and, it is to be hoped, worldwide reach. The finding that 31% of Brits think Americans without health insurance are turned away from emergency treatment (near the bottom of the findings) is hugely important because we often report (and rightly so) on the failings of the US system and the sense among many Americans that it has to change; but when I tell BBC audiences that large numbers of people are uninsured (which is true), what many Brits think is that those people will get NO treatment (which is, of course, not true).

I do think (as we discussed a few postings ago) that the US is on balance (and for better or worse) a more brutal place than western Europe - but the difference is far less marked than many Europeans would believe.


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