Hillary Clinton victory heralds a new day for women, says Tony Campolo

Hillary Clinton with running mate Tim Kaine at the Democratic National Convention.Reuters

Evangelical preacher and social activist Tony Campolo used his closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention last night to pray God would break down barriers and deal with prejudice.

In words markedly less partisan than the ones used at the Republican National Convention by Pastor Mark Burns, who was widely criticised for describing the Democrats as the "enemy", Campolo said: "We are a nation that needs healing. Break down the barriers of race and ethnicity that separate us. Cure the sexism and homophobia that denies the dignity of so many of our fellow Americans. Help us to overcome our fears of refugees and show us how to love our enemies and overcome evil with good."

He prayed God would "Imbue our religious leaders with your love so that they will teach us how to transcend our differences and become one people" and "Teach us how to beat our swords into plowshares and learn war no more."

He also highlighted the needs of the poor, an enduring theme of his own ministry, praying that the next US president would use the country's vast resources to help them.

Campolo said: "May all of our political leaders be committed to making America into a people that strive to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide care for all the sick, speak justice on behalf of the oppressed, and make room for refugees, remembering Your own Son who was once a refugee in the land of Egypt."

In his only direct reference to Hillary Clinton, he said: "May her candidacy send a message to women everywhere that the glass ceiling that has held so many of them down is being broken, and that a new day is dawning not only for women but for all people everywhere."

Campolo, Professor Emeritus at Eastern University, Philadelphia, is a founding member of the Red Letter Christian movement. He was a spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton during his presidency and has been an outspoken supporter of Hillary. He said in an article for Religion News Service that although Clinton is pro-choice, she has a plan to cut the abortion rate "by at least 50 per cent" and reiterated that she is a "committed Christian". He also countered her vote for the 'War on Terror' by blaming former vice president Dick Cheney's allegations of weapons of mass destruction.