Trump's prayer breakfast jibes--disagrees with Jesus' Sermon on Mount
One of the big shockers of the past couple days is the blasphemous words issuing from the mouth of Trump at the "National Prayer Breakfast" right after he was acquitted. No one uttered a peep in contradiction, as far as I can tell.
Fortunately, afterwards, a few faith leaders spoke up (but not too loudly).
"The National Prayer Breakfast - a Washington tradition since 1953 - is by custom a respite from partisan bickering. President Donald Trump shattered that tradition Thursday with aggressive remarks that buoyed his allies but dismayed a wide spectrum of faith leaders.
[. . .]
In a keynote address before Trump’s speech, Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and president of a conservative think tank, had decried a “crisis of contempt and polarization” and urged his listeners to ”love your enemies."
“I don't know if I agree with you,” said Trump. He then took a swipe at Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who had cited his faith in becoming the only Republican to vote for Trump's removal.
“I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong," Trump said.
“Nor do I like people who say, 'I pray for you' when you know that is not so,” Trump added, in a reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has offered that message even as she led the impeachment effort.
[. . .]
One of Trump’s leading allies in the conservative Christian evangelical community, the Rev. Robert Jeffress of the Southern Baptist megachurch First Baptist Dallas, embraced the president’s remarks.
“I think the president was completely right in what he said,” Jeffress said. “It’s not politically correct, but he didn’t get to be president by being politically correct.”
Jeffress, who said he dined with Trump and Prayer Breakfast organizers at the White House on Wednesday, said the criticism of Pelosi was justified.
[. . .]
As for Romney, Jeffress contended that the senator’s decision to vote for Trump’s removal “seems more based on self-promotion than religious beliefs.”
Among Romney’s fellow Mormons in Utah, views were mixed.
“I don’t like that he’s the only member of the U.S. Senate on the Republican side who says, ‘I’m a man of God’ so he has to vote a certain way,” said former GOP legislator Mike Noel.
However, Emma Petty Addams, executive director of Mormon Women for Ethical Government, said Romney “really exemplifies the way faith can be used in the public sphere in a very positive way.”
The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Christian social justice group Sojourners, took note of Trump’s assertion that faith should not be used as a justification for doing what someone knows is wrong.
"Apply this logic to Trump's white evangelical supporters: they are willing to trade off and even sell out Jesus for the reward of getting judges they like in the Supreme Court,” Wallis said via email. . . .
Professor Robert Franklin, who teaches moral theology at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, also evoked Jesus.
“If the president is feeling persecuted, he would be well served to spend quality time with his pastor while studying what Jesus did when he was persecuted,” Franklin suggested. “The religion of Jesus promotes the virtues of humility, self-accountability, forgiveness and reconciliation.”
A Conservative Jewish rabbi in Encino, California, Noah Farkas of the Valley Beth Shalom congregation, asserted that both Romney and Pelosi “are moved by their respective faith traditions.”
“I find it deeply problematic that the president uses the National Prayer Breakfast to lambaste the faith of his opponents,” Farkas said. ”He forgets the history of faith in this country, and disrespects others who speak from their sense of faithful conscience.”
In the meantime, Trump continues to enjoy full evangelical (uncritical) support.
And some people opine the decline of religion in our times. Can't imagine why--can you?