Prayer Problem: Evangelical Preacher Backs Out of Delivering Prayer to DNC

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 25, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Welcome back to a special edition of "Hannity & Colmes." We are live from the DNC Convention. And we're going to be bringing you much of the activity from Denver. ... But by the way, don't forget: you can log onto, for streaming coverage of everything that's happening down on the floor.

Now, meanwhile, an evangelical who is a registered independent --he was invited to deliver the benediction tonight at the DNC. He accepted the invitation, but at the last minute he backed out.

Joining us now to explain his decision is the editor of Relevant Magazine. Cameron Strang is with us.

Sir, welcome to the program. Thank you for being with us.


HANNITY: I'm having a hard time hearing. Tell us a little bit about this story. Tell us what happened and how this got started, why you accepted and why you backed out.

STRANG: Well, over the last couple of months the Obama campaign has very proactively reached out to young Christian voters, talking about areas of common ground and also acknowledging areas of disagreement. And they wanted to continue a dialogue. They said that our voice would be a priority in the campaign.

I publish a magazine that reaches the college to thirties Christian audience. And so through that dialogue, they asked me if I'd be interested in possibly appearing at the DNC. As a goodwill gesture, as a bridge- building effort, not drawing battle lines but to build on common goals, I accepted.

A few days later I found out it was tonight, opening night, main stage, and that gave me hesitation, simply for the fact that I — I have significant areas of agreement and disagreement with both parties, and I don't feel comfortable being perceived as endorsing a candidate.

HANNITY: Let me — let me get a little more bit specific, specifically as it relates to issues we always talk about with evangelicals, and that would be issues like abortion, definition of marriage, gay rights, gay marriage. And we just heard some comments from Ted Kennedy just a few moments ago. How important is that in you making your decision?

STRANG: Well, I represent an audience of Christians who are very morally conservative, but also socially compassionate, I would say. We have a more holistic definition of what it means to be pro-life.

Of course, the defense of innocent lives is at the forefront, and abortion is part of that, and we are opposed to abortion. But we also feel like defending innocent lives lost due to preemptive war or systemic poverty or preventable disease or sex trade or slavery should also be talked about.

And so those are bipartisan areas of common ground that we do find synergy with the Democratic Party, and we want to build on those things.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Cameron, it's Alan Colmes. Thank you for doing the show tonight.

STRANG: Thanks.

Given the opportunity you would have had to bring up all those issues or anything else you wanted to talk about, I'm not sure why you didn't do it. I mean, Jesus didn't just preach to the choir, did he?

STRANG: Right. Well, you know, that's the thing, is I want to encourage a bridge-building dialogue with both campaigns. I want to talk about the issues that represent my generation of Christians.

And, you know, being onstage and just giving a benediction tonight didn't really do that. The implication would be unequivocal endorsement.

What I asked the DNC for the opportunity for was for a continual dialogue, and they've granted that. I'll be participating in some forums that they're having this week dealing with faith issues in the election. And I'm looking forward to that, because it gives us a chance to talk more about the issues that matter to us.

COLMES: But why not give an opportunity to speak to people who may not agree with you on everything so that you would have that dialogue right up front on the main stage?

STRANG: Well, you know, they did say they wanted our generation of Christians represented. I felt that a great representative for us would be author Don Miller. I recommended him. He excitedly accepted, and he will be the one giving the benediction tonight. He represents us fantastically. Being a publisher of a magazine...

COLMES: Sorry, we're out of time.

STRANG: Absolutely.

COLMES: All right, Cameron, thank you very much for being with us. Appreciate your time tonight.

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