The rabbi and the pastor

Eric Fingerhut has an article up about two prayers recited at Barack Obama’s big night last week in Denver at the Democratic convention: one by Rabbi David Saperstein, the Reform movement’s man in D.C., and another by Pastor John Hunter of Florida:

Barack Obama’s big night began with a prayer from a rabbi and ended with one concluding “in Jesus’ name.” Well, sort of.

A few minutes after the Democratic nominee made his acceptance speech Aug. 28 at Denver’s Invesco Field, an evangelical Christian pastor stepped to the microphone and delivered an ecumenical benediction – until he reached the very end.

“I want to interrupt this prayer for a closing instruction,” said Joel Hunter of Northwood Church in Longwood, Fla., adding that he wanted it to be a “participatory prayer.” So Hunter asked everyone to “close this prayer in the way your faith tradition” would “usually end prayers” – he concluded with the words “in Jesus’ name.”

Such an ending by itself might be expected to draw some Jewish objections. But at least one rabbi, Jack Moline, at the convention argued that the novel conclusion was a reasonable compromise to the dilemma of how to allow evangelical Christians to stay true to their traditions in public settings while not turning off those of other faiths.

In fact, said Moline, a Conservative rabbi from Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Va., it was his idea.

Check out the full story for Saperstein’s reaction and and the skinny on his speech.

Here are the videos:

UPDATE: Tuesday night it was the GOP’s turn to have a rabbi deliver one of the prayers.

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