President Obama’s Religious Replacements

We know President Obama hasn’t found a church yet (and no one on this side of the theological fence is upset about that).

Despite the lack of church, Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times writes that Obama has found a circle of religious friends to help guide him.

… [Obama] has quietly cultivated a handful of evangelical pastors for private prayer sessions on the telephone and for discussions on the role of religion in politics.

All are men, two of them white and three black — including the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a graying lion of the civil rights movement. Two, the entrepreneurial dynamos Bishop T. D. Jakes and the Rev. Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, also served as occasional spiritual advisers to President George W. Bush. Another, the Rev. Jim Wallis, leans left on some issues, like military intervention and poverty programs, but opposes abortion.

None of these pastors are affiliated with the religious right, though several are quite conservative theologically…

But as a group they can hardly be characterized as part of the religious left either.

The other pastor in the group is Rev. Joel C. Hunter.

It’s not surprising that Obama would want this, though I’m not how necessary it is. He seems to have emotional support and intelligent people all around him on a constant basis — but this may help keep ties with the evangelical community.

I’m surprised to see that Pastor Rick Warren isn’t on the list given the way Obama stood by him during the Inauguration flap.

As long as these pastors aren’t steering Obama away from making the right decision on the hot-button social issues, I probably won’t give this “circle of five” a lot of thought.

(via Friendly Atheist Forums)

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    I see the article also notes that Obama has a closer relationship with Wallis than the rest of them, and that Wallis is the only one who goes beyond simply praying with the president to actually talking policy with him. Personally I’m encouraged by that. If Obama is going to be listening to anyone within the evangelical community, Jim Wallis is almost as progressive as it gets in those circles.

  • Dennis N

    If he wants to get support from many different people, he should add a secular humanist or philosopher. It always amazes me how people go to religion for morals, when there are people who have actual training, and done lots of work in the study of morality, yet they are tossed aside for someone who spent 2 years at theology school, aka clown college.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    We know President Obama hasn’t found a church yet

    He should start his own. It has terrific tax benefits.

  • http://powerhouse-ministry.blogspot.com Powerhouse

    With the economy in a bind, perhaps he should also invite Reverend Ike? :-)

  • Brooks

    I don’t get why presidents need spiritual advisers for moral issues either. Nobody would want a president who turned to somebody who believes crossing a black cat’s path brings bad luck for advice on how to run the country, but for some reason, people not only respect but expect their presidents to seriously consider what preachers have to say.


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