Monday, February 7, 2011

Obama appoints Pawlenty's pastor

President Obama has named Tim Pawlenty’s pastor, Leith Anderson, who is also the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, to his council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Anderson has been a senior pastor at Wooddale Church in Minnesota, one of the largest evangelical churches in the country, since 1977. He is known as a moderate evangelical leader and since taking the helm of the NAE in 2006 has steered the organization toward more moderate political engagement.

They issued statements of support for the START Treaty ratification last year, supported Obama’s push for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act, and issued a report on 18 issues in which NAE and Obama concur.

As Pawlenty seemingly prepares to launch a bid against Obama in 2012, he will likely be up against another evangelical candidate in the Republican primaries, Mike Huckabee. Meanwhile, Obama has continuously fought against widespread misconceptions that he is not a Christian.

“Every day I read a poll [about Obama’s religion] I think it’s odd,” Anderson told POLITICO last year, coming to Obama’s defense. “I read all these polls and my mind always flashes back to Jay Leno and ‘Jaywalking,’” referring to the comedian’s routine that pokes fun at Americans’ ignorance of seemingly basic facts.

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