|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has long identified himself as an Episcopalian, said this weekend that he is a Baptist and has been for years.
Campaigning in this conservative, predominantly Baptist state, McCain called himself a Baptist when speaking to reporters Sunday and noted that he and his family have been members of the North Phoenix Baptist Church in his home state of Arizona for more than 15 years.
"It's well known because I'm an active member of the church," the Arizona senator said.
While McCain has long talked about his family's and his own attendance at the Arizona church, he appears to have consistently referred to himself as Episcopalian in media reports.
In a June interview with McClatchy Newspapers, the senator said his wife and two of their children have been baptized in the Arizona Baptist church, but he had not. "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs," he said.
He told McClatchy he found the Baptist church more fulfilling than the Episcopalian church, but still referred to himself as an Episcopalian.
Greenville Republican state Sen. Mike Fair, a Baptist who serves as one of McCain's liaisons with the South Carolina religious community, said a person traditionally becomes a full member of a Baptist church by some kind of public expression of their faith, usually by being baptized.
McCain, at a campaign stop at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Anderson, said he has made plenty of public expressions of his faith. "I've done that hundreds of times," McCain said, adding he has spoken at length with his pastor at the church and has been told there is no need for him to be baptized to be a full member of the church.
The Associated Press asked McCain on Saturday how his Episcopal faith plays a role in his campaign and life. McCain grew up Episcopalian and attended an Episcopal high school in Alexandria, Va.
"It plays a role in my life. By the way, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm Baptist," McCain said. "Do I advertise my faith? Do I talk about it all the time? No."