Here's the transcript from that section of the forum with the candidates answer. Obama first, then McCain.
WARREN: OK, we’ve got one last time — I’ve got a bunch more, but let me ask you one about evil. Does evil exist? And if it does, do we ignore it? Do we negotiate with it? Do we contain it? Do we defeat it?
OBAMA: Evil does exist. I mean, I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. I think it has to be confronted. It has to be confronted squarely, and one of the things that I strongly believe is that, now, we are not going to, as individuals, be able to erase evil from the world. That is God’s task, but we can be soldiers in that process, and we can confront it when we see it.
Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for to us have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil, because a lot of evil’s been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil.
REV. RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: In the name of good.
OBAMA: In the name of good, and I think, you know, one thing that’s very important is having some humility in recognizing that just because we think that our intentions are good, doesn’t always mean that we’re going to be doing good.
WARREN: How about the issue of evil. I asked this of your rival, in the previous debate. Does evil exist and, if so, should ignore it, negotiate it with it, contain it or defeat it?I think those answers highlight a major difference between McCain and Obama. In McCain's black and white world, evil revolves around what he calls the "challenge of the 21st century — radical Islamic extremism." In Obama's more nuanced world, he sees evil all around us - in Darfur, our cities, in our abused children.
MCCAIN: Defeat it. A couple of points. One, if I’m president of the United States, my friends, if I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get bin Laden and bring him to justice. I will do that. And I know how to do that. I will get that done. (APPLAUSE). No one, no one should be allowed to take thousands of American — innocent American lives.
Of course, evil must be defeated. My friends, we are facing the transcended challenge of the 21st century — radical Islamic extremism. [...]
And we have — and we face this threat throughout the world. It’s not just in Iraq. It’s not just in Afghanistan. Our intelligence people tell us al Qaeda continues to try to establish cells here in the United States of America. My friends, we must face this challenge. We can face this challenge. And we must totally defeat it, and we’re in a long struggle. But when I’m around, the young men and women who are serving this nation in uniform, I have no doubt, none.
I believe Obama gave the more mature answer. Sure, al Qaeda's form of terrorism is evil and makes a big splash in the news, but that doesn't make it worse than other forms of evil like poverty, abuse, and the destruction of our environment. McCain never mentioned those. What does he suggest we do about the evil of poverty? Should we ignore it, contain it or defeat it? How about children without health care because their parents make too much money? How do we defeat the greed that puts money over the health of innocent children?
McCain may have scored points with the Saddleback audience, but he left me convinced he's the wrong person to lead our country and the millions of people affected by evil in small and large ways everyday.
Proverbs 14:29 He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)