In a Saturday appearance on MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” a prominent liberal pastor claimed it was acceptable to defy the biblical command to pray for “all those in authority” because doing so for President Donald Trump is “theological malpractice” that could be deemed heretical.
Following the circulation of a picture taken during Trump’s meeting last week with religious leaders, the Rev. Dr. William Barber, a member of the national board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, felt the need to speak out.
“When you can P-R-A-Y for a president and others while they are P-R-E-Y, preying on the most vulnerable, you’re violating the sacred principles of religion,” Barber told host Joy Reid.
Barber equated the Trump administration with Old Testament Israel which was biblically portrayed as dishonest and corrupt, suffering reprimand for taking advantage of righteous and needy people for material gain.
“What leaders ought to be doing,” Barber said, “is challenging the president, challenging [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, and challenging [House Speaker Paul] Ryan, and challenging these senators and others and not trying to appease them.”
“Instead, they’re acting like priests of the empire rather than prophets of God,” he said.
Barber encouraged religious leaders and politicians to focus on Scripture that addresses the way people should treat “the least of these.”
Regarding the photo taken last week of the president praying with Christian leaders, Johnnie Moore, the evangelical author and speaker who initially posted the image on Twitter, described the meeting as “a very special moment but it was also not an unusual one.”
— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) July 12, 2017
“Most evangelicals believe it’s a sacred responsibility to pray for the president, and this is very much in our tradition as Americans who once took — and sometimes still do take — this responsibility seriously,” Moore said in a statement. “We believe we are a praying nation, and we begin by praying for our leaders.”
Moore said that he and many of the other Christian leaders at the meeting with Trump prayed similarly for former President Barack Obama, and added that their relationship with Trump is “real” and “true.”
“When we are praying for President Trump, we are praying within the context of a real relationship, of true friendship,” he said, noting that the White House visit was “casual and informal” and there “was no agenda.”
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