hunter.jpgIn a story about Mike Huckabee’s efforts to reach evangelicals who don’t consider themselves part of the Christian Right, Reuters reports that influential megachurch pastor and onetime Christian Coalition president-elect Joel Hunter is backing Mike Huckabee:

The new religious right is epitomized by people like influential Florida pastor Joel Hunter, who was anointed to lead the Christian Coalition but never assumed the position when it balked at his attempts to embrace issues like poverty and global warming.
Hunter – who is also strongly opposed to abortion rights – has come out in support of Huckabee.
“Joel Hunter … is one of my key backers. He and his wife are strong with me,” Huckabee said.
Analysts say Huckabee’s agenda breaks with the traditional religious right and could produce strains in the Republican Party.
“Huckabee and Hunter represent political developments within the evangelical community that are apart from the organized religious right and may become a challenge to those organizations,” said John Green, a professor of politics at the University of Akron in Ohio and a leading expert on the subject.

A Hunter endorsement represents a coup for Huckabee and adds some evangelical balance to his roster of prominent Christian Right supporters, allowing him to make the case that he’s broadening his appeal. But this is the first God-o-Meter has heard of the endorsement. It has put a call into Hunter’s Florida office to confirm.


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