Joel Hunter Prays with Obama Before Acceptance Speech
Evangelical pastor Joel Hunter prayed with president-elect Barack Obama on the phone before Obama gave his acceptance speech last night. (The full interview has been posted here)
Hunter declined to go into details, but said he prayed with Obama and Otis Moss, pastor of Olivet church in Cleveland.
"It was a very sweet time. It was just a very meaningful time that you could tell meant a lot to him. Sen. Obama has done a great job with keeping us in consistent conversation and it really is a good signal that he wants us to be a part of the conversation."
After Hunter prayed at the Democratic National Convention, he declined to give media interviews until after the election. I spoke with him this morning, and he said, "Between the convention and the election, it's just raw politics, so any moral points you try to make are taken as partisan. That's why I go quiet."
Hunter is hopeful that evangelicals will have a voice in the Obama administration.
"I think we're going to be invited into many conversations. He is a consensus-oriented type of leader. We need to be able to respond to those invitations to those given. Part of our role is to speak truth to power. That certainly is part of our role. The most effective way of doing that is not to be so narrow and combative. It's to be part of the conversation. It's not to back down on any moral convictions that we have. By the same token, we've got to understand that we can be much more effective in getting our point across and realizing our goals if that prophetic language comes with a degree of understanding and respect."
Hunter pastors a church in Florida, where a gay-marriage ban passed last night.
"The moral agenda is not going to change. The outcome is a firm statement, at least from the folks in Florida, that we want to protect marriage as between a man and a woman. By the same token, we have to be careful that we can still treat with respect and some sympathy those who want to build a legal relationship."