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The prayers President Trump isn't hearing

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President Donald Trump began his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast by taking veiled shots at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was on the stage with him as he spoke, and Sen. Mitt Romney, the morning after the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him.

Posted: Feb 7, 2020 2:20 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2020 2:20 AM

Fresh off his impeachment acquittal Wednesday, President Donald Trump spoke Thursday morning at the National Prayer Breakfast. "Today, we proudly proclaim that faith is alive and well and thriving in America and we're going to keep it that way, nobody will have it changed," Trump said. "It won't happen as long as I'm here, it will never, ever happen."

Trump also took aim at the faith of two political rivals: "I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong," he said in reference to Mitt Romney, who cited his Mormon faith as the reason he felt obligated to vote to convict the President. "Nor do I like people who say 'I pray for you' when they know that that's not so," in reference to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Romney and Pelosi aren't the only people's faith Trump is casting aside. He rejects the authentic faith and prayers of any and all religious Americans who don't share his narrow definition of conservative, white evangelicalism. He then defines "religious liberty" as the imposition of this flawed "Christian" ideology upon Americans of all faiths and no faith.

During Tuesday's State of the Union, he declared "we don't tear down crosses" and "we don't muzzle preachers and pastors." He said, "My administration is also defending religious liberty, and that includes the constitutional right to pray in public schools." It wasn't a coincidence that Trump didn't mention Buddhist meditation in schools or the right to build mosques in America.

The President's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast and State of the Union fell flat for millions of religious Americans who are suffering under his administration's policies, including those who are religious minorities, LGBTQ, poor and migrants.

These are the prayers President Trump isn't hearing. White, straight, rich, evangelical men are the only people whose prayers the Trump-Pence administration hears. We see them in the White House and at the National Prayer Breakfast. But there are many more prayers being offered up in America. At least God, I believe, is hearing them all.

Families impacted by his travel ban on mostly Muslim majority nations are praying for our nation to live up to its commitment to religious liberty. Just last week, the Trump administration announced its expansion of its travel ban to six more countries: Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.

During the 2016 election, Trump ran on the promise of a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," as one campaign press release stated. Now as he faces reelection, he's arbitrarily picking countries to ban and score points with his political base.

Trump's assertion during the State of the Union that "We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting our citizens of every race, color, religion and creed very, very high" cannot square with what many have perceived as a ban on Muslims. And they're hardly the only religious minority suffering under this administration.

The Jewish community is lamenting the rise in anti-Semitism which Trump administration has failed at key moment to address (and which many believe his administration has emboldened.)

Just last month, the administration granted press credentials to an anti-Semitic news organization TruNews. Its founder, pastor Rick Wiles, described Trump's impeachment as "a Jew coup" planned by "a Jewish cabal."

LGBTQ people of faith are praying for our God-given dignity to be respected by our fellow Americans. Trump cited "the eternal truth that everyone is made equal by the hand of Almighty God" while his Department of Justice is arguing against LGBTQ rights at the Supreme Court.

Thankfully, a broad consensus of religious Americans disagree with Trump -- 80% of Jews, 72% of Hispanic Catholics, 71% of white Catholics, 71% of white mainline Protestants, 70% of Mormons and even 54% of white evangelical Protestants support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, according to a 2018 Public Religion Research Institute survey.

And, finally, Trump refuses to hear the prayers of immigrants and refugees. In addition to the Muslim ban, his administration has attempted to ban pregnant women, asylum seekers and working-class immigrants. Religious groups across the political and theological spectrum have spoken out in favor of welcoming the stranger. One case stands out in particular.

President Trump issued an executive order allowing states and localities to opt-out of refugee resettlement. The Catholic governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, took him up on the offer. In response, all 16 Catholic bishops in Texas called the policy "misguided" and said it "denies people who are fleeing persecution, including religious persecution, from being able to bring their gifts and talents to our state and contribute to the general common good of all Texans."

Sadly, Trump's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast weren't that surprising. The organizer of the event, the "Fellowship," is a secretive Christian nationalist organization that was recently exposed in a Netflix documentary.

Vice President Mike Pence also addressed the National Prayer Breakfast this morning. "Since the founding of this nation, the American people have relied on prayer," he said.

I don't have a problem with the President, vice president and other leaders praying. To the contrary, I believe it's right and good for political leaders to authentically practice their faith in the public square. Many Americans of all political beliefs rely on prayer. My problem is that the President and vice president are only listening to the prayers of a very small subset of religious Americans.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16041

Reported Deaths: 767
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds103526
Lauderdale74568
Madison74525
Neshoba70742
Jones66331
Scott66112
Forrest59439
DeSoto5538
Leake44712
Rankin4468
Holmes43928
Copiah3154
Jackson30813
Attala30318
Yazoo2864
Newton2824
Leflore27334
Lincoln27029
Monroe26525
Harrison2637
Oktibbeha25314
Lamar2485
Lowndes2309
Wayne2242
Pearl River21131
Pike20411
Adams20015
Noxubee1916
Washington1917
Warren18110
Covington1732
Jasper1654
Lee1657
Bolivar16511
Clarke15419
Smith15311
Kemper14711
Lafayette1414
Chickasaw13714
Coahoma1274
Winston1211
Marion1179
Carroll11711
Clay1154
Claiborne1122
Lawrence1061
Simpson1020
Grenada993
Yalobusha966
Tate951
Hancock9112
Itawamba897
Wilkinson859
Union857
Sunflower853
Montgomery851
Panola843
Marshall813
Jefferson Davis803
Tippah7611
Webster683
Calhoun674
Amite641
Walthall610
Humphreys597
Tunica563
Prentiss563
Perry513
Choctaw482
Pontotoc433
Jefferson431
Tishomingo340
Quitman340
Stone310
Franklin292
Tallahatchie291
George261
Greene221
Alcorn181
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18474

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2283118
Jefferson1882103
Montgomery180243
Tuscaloosa81616
Marshall7059
Franklin5768
Lee55234
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43166
Butler41618
Walker3782
Elmore3739
Chambers35826
Madison3444
Morgan2971
Baldwin2929
Unassigned2922
Dallas2823
Etowah26112
DeKalb2563
Lowndes25512
Autauga2395
Coffee2381
Sumter2267
Houston2235
Bullock2136
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1789
Russell1770
Barbour1751
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1672
Calhoun1653
Choctaw15310
Wilcox1527
Cullman1501
Clarke1482
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1041
Greene954
Winston910
Macon864
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia743
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe442
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Perry420
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