BOB ABERNETHY, host: Welcome. I’m Bob Abernethy, and this is our look ahead at the top religion stories we expect to be covering in 2013. We do this with the help of Kim Lawton, managing editor of this program; Kevin Eckstrom, editor in chief of Religion News Service; and E.J. Dionne, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a professor at Georgetown University, and a columnist for The Washington Post. Welcome to you all. One of the big events of the new year will be the inauguration of Barack Obama to a second term, so we asked a wide variety of religion leaders what they hope for during the president’s next term.
REV. SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference: If President Obama would revert back to the””that young, powerful, firey spokesperson in the 2004 Democratic National Convention who talked about reconciling the blue and the red state, about the God of the blue state and the God of the red state, then I believe that he has a chance to really emerge as a transformative, catalytic president reconciling our nation. We are more polarized today than ever before.
REV. JOIQUIM BARNES, New Hope CME Church, South Carolina: I’m hoping that he would be able to work well, that Congress would be able to work with him to come up with a real budget that’s going to help the least of these, and because when you help those who are in the most vulnerable situation, you end up helping the whole country.