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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: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7823176
DeSoto676778
Harrison490283
Jackson439383
Rankin385986
Madison375793
Lee349079
Forrest298078
Jones285384
Washington253799
Lafayette244042
Lauderdale2398134
Lamar219038
Bolivar199477
Oktibbeha197654
Neshoba1820111
Lowndes175562
Panola167638
Leflore163287
Sunflower158849
Warren153255
Monroe146572
Pontotoc145219
Pike137256
Lincoln136856
Marshall136226
Copiah135736
Coahoma124036
Scott123829
Grenada120638
Yazoo119933
Simpson119549
Union116025
Leake113940
Holmes113760
Tate113639
Itawamba111325
Pearl River110559
Adams105243
Prentiss102919
Wayne99421
Alcorn96712
George95718
Covington94525
Marion93342
Tippah86521
Newton84927
Chickasaw83225
Winston82621
Tallahatchie82525
Tishomingo79741
Hancock78727
Attala78126
Clarke72750
Clay68421
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61812
Noxubee59617
Smith58516
Claiborne53416
Montgomery53123
Tunica52317
Yalobusha51314
Lawrence50414
Perry48423
Carroll46812
Greene45918
Stone45514
Amite42013
Humphreys41916
Quitman4176
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster36613
Wilkinson33120
Kemper32115
Benton3194
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27110
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1064
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22720374
Mobile14405314
Tuscaloosa10066137
Montgomery9820196
Madison907894
Shelby715361
Lee646165
Baldwin644369
Marshall431048
Calhoun416059
Etowah412249
Morgan400033
Houston365532
DeKalb325428
Elmore312852
St. Clair283842
Limestone273630
Walker269993
Talladega259135
Cullman231024
Lauderdale212540
Jackson205515
Autauga202130
Franklin201731
Colbert193330
Russell19053
Blount187325
Dallas186027
Chilton182632
Escambia171428
Coffee16829
Covington166629
Dale163851
Chambers133043
Pike131313
Tallapoosa129587
Clarke127317
Marion105029
Butler99840
Barbour9969
Marengo98222
Winston90613
Geneva8447
Lawrence81131
Pickens81117
Randolph80514
Bibb80114
Hale74830
Cherokee72314
Clay72212
Lowndes70228
Henry6386
Bullock63717
Monroe63610
Washington62312
Crenshaw59830
Perry5816
Wilcox55912
Fayette55713
Conecuh55613
Cleburne5327
Macon53020
Sumter46821
Lamar4595
Choctaw38712
Greene34016
Coosa1993
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