Abortion-opponent to deliver DNC closing prayer

Joel C. Hunter.

There have been loads o' rumors about who else will be in the spotlight during Barack Obama's August 28 Invesco Field at Mile High acceptance speech. For instance, the Denver Post's Bill Husted puts odds of a Bruce Springsteen appearance at 95 percent. But someone who's publicly committed to participate may be the most surprising person on the bill: Joel C. Hunter, a prominent Florida evangelical who'll deliver the evening's closing prayer even though he opposes one of the most solid planks in the Democratic platform -- a woman's right to choose an abortion.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Hunter, who hasn't formally endorsed Obama, admits that "I'll kind of be the elephant in the room" at the shindig. However, he believes that being asked to speak shows "how far Senator Obama is reaching out... We are expanding the agenda of what's pro-life. When you consider poverty, environmentalism and war ... those are the issues that are being addressed by the Democratic Party."

Hunter isn't as doctrinaire as most of his peers, as he proves in an October 2007 Newsweek Q&A that focuses on Christians and liberals finding common ground despite disagreements on certain issues. Clearly, that's not just talk. It's prayer, too. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts