The horror of horrors! (The preceding line should be read with dripping sarcasm).
Joel Hunter, mega church pastor from Orlando Florida actually prayed with Barack Obama on election night. Wait! Stop the presses! He's a conservative Evangelical! How dare he do this!!! (Sarcasm really dripping now)
Look, I don't mean to make light of this. I understand that there are probably millions of conservative Christians who have a real problem with Joel Hunter doing this. But Joel Hunter represents something much larger than just a close relationship with Barack Obama. He is emblematic of the growing schism within conservative Evangelical ranks. He may just as pro-life and pro-traditional marriage as the next guy but he's broader than just those two issues and that's where the dreaded split occurs. Read more about Joel Hunter below from Time Magazine but let me just add one parting shot: What's so wrong with him praying with Obama? Folks, I don't know about you but I don't check out someone's political views before praying with them or for them? Time Magazine article is below.
As Joel Hunter explains it, his telephone prayer session with Barack Obama on Tuesday, roughly 10 hours before Obama was declared winner of the presidential election, was not intended to be as intimate as it ended up. Obama, says Hunter, "just wanted to pray with some folks," and his religious liaison arranged a conference call with Hunter, Dallas Pentecostal megapastor T.D. Jakes, Houston Methodist minister (and George Bush favorite) Kirbyjon Caldwell and Otis Moss II, the retired pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland. But Obama was delayed, Jakes had to appear on live TV, and Caldwell had to board a plane, explains Hunter; so the candidate ended up praying with just Moss and Hunter.
Hunter won't divulge the prayer's content other than to say that Obama "trusts God and the American people and just wanted to commend himself to each." The 60-year-old champion of what some call the New Evangelicalism also downplays the session's possible importance for his own status, noting that Obama has always been "very good about keeping religious leaders in the loop." Though he says he has prayed with Obama twice before, Hunter adds, "I find it hard to believe that I'm in the inner prayer circle."
Perhaps not, but as the only white Evangelical in the prospective quartet, Hunter would be a good candidate for the next President's bridge to white Evangelicalism, which he courted on Election Day but had only marginal success in winning over. Hunter is a bona fide megapastor in Orlando, Fla., and and a longtime mover in the Evangelical world. "For a long time now, Joel has been directly politically engaged as a Christian leader, in a nuanced and multifaceted way," notes Andy Crouch, editor of the Vision Project at the Evangelical monthly Christianity Today. On a number of key positions, morevoer, he has shown his independence of the religious right.
The whole article is here.