Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, will offer prayers at the prayer service tomorrow that Barack Obama will attend before the inauguration.
T.D. Jakes will give the sermon at the service, which is closed to the public. I caught up with Rodriguez tonight and below is the partial transcript of our conversation.
What do you think about the inauguration plans tomorrow?
I think it was a brilliant move to ask Rick Warren. It speaks to his commitment to bring the country together. My prayer is that [Obama's] public policy agenda reflects that same commitment.
This great man will govern from the center. I believe that he will not make the Freedom of Choice Act his priority. I believe that he will focus on abortion-reduction strategies, lowering the teenage pregnancy rate. That's my prayer. The Defense of Marriage Act - Dear Mr. President, this would be one of those ‘don't touch, don't tell,' not ‘don't ask, don't tell.' These are issues that are cultural wedge issues that have historically separated us. His selections on cabinet appointments are center, if not center right. My speculation is, in light of the presidential transition team, my speculation is that he will govern from the center.
What did you think of Obama's selection of T.D. Jakes?
I appreciate the selection. Bishop T.D. Jakes is one of the most anointed and articulate orators. I think he couldn't have picked someone better.
I believe that Barack Obama's selection of speakers and orators, and those that will be praying and reading Scripture, excluding Sam Rodriguez, excluding Sam Rodriguez, other than that, excellent choice.
What about Robinson? Excellent?
(pause) My problem with Gene Robinson, and of course I have my own biblical worldview, is not that he is openly gay. It has to do more with Rick Warren's selection. Gene was very apprehensive, very condescending, and totally against the selection of Rick Warren. I think that was wrong. Rick, on the other hand, responded in such a Christ-like manner when he was made aware of Gene Robinson's selection. My reluctance to put him in the same category as excellent has everything to do with the way he responded to Rick Warren and nothing to do with sexual orientation. If he had not responded in that way, I would've said excellent choice.
Do you have expectations for tomorrow?
Lots of tears, lots of goose bumps.
I know that there was speculation over whether Rick Warren would pray in Jesus' name. Do you plan to pray in Jesus' name tomorrow?
If you invite me as a Hispanic evangelical, I will pray in Jesus' name, respecting religious pluralism in America. I hope [Rick Warren] does. I hope he would but if he doesn't I understand. I will be praying in Jesus' name and I will be sharing from the New Testament from the Gospel of Luke.
It's confidential until tomorrow.
Anything else you'd like to add?
All the Christians in this community should stand around him and support him. We have a moral commitment to cover him in prayer.