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Obama spiritual adviser disagrees with president's gay marriage stance


President Obama’s
spiritual adviser, Rev. Joel Hunter, said he disagrees with the president’s support for gay marriage. “I can’t find this in scripture.” Hunter said on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" today.

Hunter said that the president’s announcement was likely prompted by Vice President Biden’s endorsement on "Meet the Press." When asked if he thought Obama’s announcement was personal or politically driven, the pastor said, “When you’re in that office it’s always political. But that doesn't mean it's devoid from a sense of personal responsibility and personal morality.”

President Barack Obama talked openly about his faith at the National Prayer breakfast and the help he gets from spiritual advisors such as Rev. Joel Hunter but the president has diverged from their path with his recent commitment to same-sex marriage. Hunter joins Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss a conversation he had with Obama shortly after his announcement.

When Hunter spoke with the president after last week’s announcement, Hunter said that the president told him he changed his views based on personal anecdotes, gay friends, and servicemen. Hunter said, “He wants to do the right thing. But for him, that doesn't come straight just from scripture.”

Hunter said he did not discuss politics, policy, or even gay marriage with the president before last week. “We had not talked about this specific subject.” Hunter said. “I just talk about his personal life and his understanding of the scripture.”

When NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked if the pastor would preach against gay marriage and what the president said, Hunter said, “I don't preach political matters. I preach scriptural standards. And so, when I preach about marriage, I will say that it's between a man and a woman. And give scriptural references for that. But I simply stay away from politics when it comes to preaching, because the word of God is too important on its own to communicate. And I can't really get detoured from that.”

Hunter’s admiration of Obama has not been changed by his announcement, “The president's a man. You know? And I love him. He's a friend. But with the rest of my congregation -- I never know how much of my counsel they're going to take or not take."