MSNBC has a longish article on how Religious Right leaders are planning on dealing with soon-to-be President Barack Obama. The article contains a claim from Richard Land that Barack Obama chose Rick Warren explicitly to appeal to evangelicals and that his religious affairs director even called Land personally to make that point clear:
Land says he received a call from Obama’s religious affairs director, Joshua DuBois, after Warren had been chosen. “Dubois told me that this was very intentionally done and that he, the president-elect, was the originator of the idea. He wanted to send the signal that you can disagree with him on some issues but still have a place with him at the table and work together on other issues of agreement.”
Overall, the article reports, right-wing leaders are taking a “wait and see” attitude toward Obama, though they are fully prepared to swing into action the moment he tries to advance the progressive agenda, especially when it comes to reproductive choice:
John Hagee, the San Antonio based televangelist and founder of Christians United for Israel, says he is respecting the wishes of the American people and their choice of Obama. “Sen. Barack Obama is our president-elect, and we are commanded to pray for him. We must pray that God will give him the wisdom of Solomon to lead America through our present crisis,” he said.
Hagee was last in the spotlight after the McCain campaign sought his endorsement, only to later publicly reject it after Catholic leaders, among others, expressed outrage and accused Hagee of waging a war against the Catholic church.
Yet even Hagee’s own words hint at the prospect of a future showdown. “Our respect and prayers do not prevent us from continuing to speak out and speak out strongly when we disagree on Biblical issues with the president. Like all other Americans, we evangelicals must continue to be engaged in the democratic process even after Election Day.”
Hagee isn’t alone in foreshadowing that the new president will encounter some rough stretches when it comes to social conservatives and evangelicals in the days ahead.
Jay Sekulow, a constitutional lawyer with the American Center for Law and Justice and ardent advocate of conservative and evangelical causes, puts it far more bluntly: “I wouldn’t call it fear and loathing. I think it’s a realization that things are going to be different and significantly different.”
Obama’s pro-choice position remains a nearly insurmountable obstacle for some evangelicals, such as Chuck Colson who said he responded “with joy that we have elected our first African-American president.”
Colson, the former Nixon aide who went to prison for his role in Watergate, now leads Prison Fellowship, a Christian ministry that supports prisoners and their families. “I pray for him every day, ever since he was elected. I want him to succeed. I like a lot of his cabinet picks,” he said.
“But do I consider him an evangelical? No. If he’s comfortable with his faith, I wouldn’t challenge him on it. But I have reservations about how serious a Christian he is and not treat life as sacred. The Bible is unequivocal about it.”
Jay Sekulow predicts that any forward movement on Obama’s part to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) as he’s pledged to do will “cause a revolt in the evangelical community.”