Having idolized Martin Luther King Jr. as a child, Joel Hunter felt especially proud when America's first black president tapped him as one of his top spiritual advisers. Never mind that the Rev. Joel Hunter is an evangelical Republican: He has taken an Obama-like approach to ministering without polarizing, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports in a profile of a man who has publicly criticized the "cottage industry of hostility."
Hunter's method is to focus not on culture wars and religious rhetoric, but on "compassion issues." That tack has brought him into alliances with Catholics, Jews, and Muslims, and led to an innovative closing benediction at last summer's Democratic Convention in Denver. Hunter drew evangelicals' ire by encouraging the attendees to employ the blessings of their own faiths. Said a fellow Florida pastor: "Jesus said the way is narrow."