The Rev. Frank Page, the SBC's outgoing president, said many evangelicals might not be enthused by McCain but most will vote for him. McCain's pledge to nominate Supreme Court justices with a conservative judicial philosophy is a huge draw, Page said.
Page saw some positive in the lack of a McCain campaign presence in Indianapolis.
"I have admonished — lovingly but firmly — our convention not to get too close to any political party," Page said. "Parties change. I think we need to stay close to issues, and not hold allegiance to political parties."
Page has kept his door open to politicians regardless of party, and has met with Obama. The Illinois senator, forced to reject his former pastor for his inflammatory rhetoric, has launched an ambitious faith-based outreach program. He met in Chicago this week with an array of religious leaders, including conservatives like Bishop T.D. Jakes and Franklin Graham.
"What I hear from people," said Richard Land, president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, "is, 'John McCain was not my first choice, John McCain was not my second choice, John McCain was not my third choice. However, I would rather have a third-rate fireman than a first-class arsonist.' And they view Obama as a first-class arsonist."