Joel Hunter Leads Blessing for Obama
Do you have any predictions on what Obama do in office?
He has pledged that he will attempt to reduce abortion in a full range of ways both by reducing unexpected pregnancies and supporting those women who choose to carry their babies to term. We know that he's getting very strong pressure from the very pro-choice people; he's getting just as strong pressure from them as he is getting accusations from the very pro-life people.
His biggest attempts at engaging the evangelical community will come in the area of service. Evangelicals are very active; we are the unrealized potential in this country as far as working with the government to attack some of the huge issues that can only be really solved by personal care. Poverty is not going to end with a government program, it's not going to end until you have people helping people to get out of the system of poverty. When it comes to emergency relief, that's the church. When it comes to caring for the very sick, the folks with AIDS and the prisoners with a high rate of recidivism, that's the church. He's well-versed enough to know of the tremendous potential in this country that the church and especially evangelicals have. We're very sincere about walking out our faith, and I think that's going to be one of the great efforts he makes. I also think using the potential of faith communities to build better solutions to peace, foreign relations, diplomacy — I think he may be very innovative there.
What about the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)?
Every source I have in Washington says to me that FOCA is not something we need to worry about. It'll never get to his desk. And those are very, very good sources. It alarms me a little bit that the Catholics and some of the very religious right are raising a lot of alarm on an issue that doesn't look like it has much political chance of coming to fruition, so it's like crying wolf. You only get so many of those. He did make the statement, and I get that, but because of the political situation right now and because they just don't have the kind of clout or the kind of votes right now to push that thing forward, that's not something we need to worry about.
I think there will be stances he takes that are troubling to evangelicals, and when he does it's our job to oppose him. We need to support him when we can, oppose him when we must. We need to be the kind of solutions to the problems that make everybody aware that ultimately government is not the ultimate answer to solving the problems in America; the church is. And that will ultimately make us more valuable. So what kind of issues do we need to be the loyal opposition on? What issues can we say we can really partner on this? And then what does the church need to do?
Do you have final thoughts on the inauguration?
I came to Christ on the occasion of Martin Luther King's assassination, I remember John F. Kennedy's assassination, and I remember Bobby Kennedy's assassination. I remember the hope. I remember the whole inspiration of that time and the optimism, maybe we can really make things right — maybe people can really work together, maybe they'll lower some of the barriers. When Martin Luther King got shot, all my dreams just came crashing down on me, and a voice kept coming back into my head: Nothing's ever going to come right in the world until you take care of the sin in your own heart. I realize that the sin won't let us have a political solution. No matter how hard our government works for good policy, and we always need to have good policy, that's never going to be truly effective until people of faith are really engaged to do what they can do to solve problems.
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Pulliam also interviewed Hunter after the election.
For more on the Obama inauguration, see Christianity Today's politics blog.