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Samuel Wurzelbacher was launched into the public arena after Senator John McCain used him as an example of an average American during a presidential debate last fall. "Joe the Plumber" quickly became a celebrity because he questioned then-candidate Barack Obama about his small business tax policy during a stop in Ohio. Now, Wurzelbacher travels the country promoting his book, campaigning for candidates, and speaking at conservative rallies. Wurzelbacher spoke with Christianity Today at an event near Chicago.

Why does conservatism appeal to you as a Christian?

Conservatism is about the basic rights of individuals. God created us. As far as the government goes, the Founding Fathers based the Constitution off of Christian values. It goes hand-in-hand. As far as the Republican Party? I felt connected to it because individual freedom should not be legislated by the federal government.

One thing I've been thinking about is taking the social issues out of national politics. For example, if Georgia wanted abortion and Alabama didn't, that's going to be up to the people in Georgia. I can't sway them. Would I give them advice not to? Absolutely. Would I say it's wrong? Yes. I'll go to Alabama where they say, "I don't want abortion." Trying to get 350 million people to agree on an issue is not going to happen. That way, people can live the way they want to as opposed to being imposed on by the federal government.

In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?

At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary—it's called queer. Queer means strange ...

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Q & A: 'Joe the Plumber'
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May 2009

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