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Thomas Gallatin / Jun. 5, 2019

‘Woke Christians’ Offended by Prayer for President

The pastor who prayed over Trump is forced to defend his decision.

Since its founding, the United States has prized the freedom of religion and explicitly protected it from government interference. However, that freedom was never intended to mean that government was to be free from religious influence or people of faith. This reality is seen in the fact that all of America’s presidents have claimed a religious faith and have been members of a Christian church. That also goes for the vast majority of members of Congress throughout our history. To put it bluntly, our nation has had a long history of religiously minded individuals being involved in government at all levels.

Yet quite a stir was created after President Donald Trump unexpectedly turned up at a large nondenominational Christian church in the DC suburb of McLean, Virginia, and asked for prayer on Sunday. The pastor, David Platt, a relatively well-known Christian leader in Evangelical circles, was caught off guard but quickly obliged. He offered an appropriate nonpartisan prayer — the kind of prayer Christians have been praying for political leaders since it was first commanded in Scripture some 2,000 years ago.

Much of the controversy may be blamed on the current hyper-partisan American culture. With Trump vilified daily by the Leftmedia to the point of being seen even by some Evangelicals as “the problem in the world today,” it’s not surprising that a pastoral prayer over the president would be considered “the wrong thing to do.”

Platt, evidently feeling negative blowback over his decision to pray over Trump, sought to explain and defend his decision in an open letter. Platt rightly pointed to 1 Timothy 2, noting that Christians are commanded to pray for political leaders, irrespective of how righteous or unrighteous these leaders may be. (Many scholars believe Nero, a major persecutor of Christians, was emperor of Rome when the Apostle Paul wrote 1 Timothy.)

Platt then writes, “I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart.” Here’s where we see the problem. Platt gives a pass to those Christians who harbor an attitude of such self-righteousness that it would “hurt” them to see their pastor publicly pray for a sinner like Trump.

Leave it to an atheist to get this more correct than Platt. Hot Air’s Allahpundit writes, “I’m just a simple unfrozen atheist caveman, unqualified to tell Christians how to practice their faith, but I can tell you this: In 12 years of Catholic schooling, not once was it intimated to me that it might be wrong to pray for someone. The very idea of it shocks me even now, decades later. Prayer is never wrong. If anything, it’s more righteous when offered for the wicked, that God might turn their hearts and redeem them. … What are the anti-Trump congregants of this church learning about their faith to make them feel ‘hurt’ that the pastor would pray for someone whom they deem wicked? And what is the pastor of this church teaching to make them believe it’s ‘valid’ to feel that way?”

Clearly, Democrats and the Left would love nothing more than to divide the Evangelical world over politics. Christian leaders hoping to avoid catering to one political party over another are finding it increasingly difficult, as seemingly everything has become a political issue. This is what happens when God is diminished and the state begins to take the place of God in people’s lives.

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