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.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
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Monroe3727111
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Marshall360172
Union360165
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Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
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Leake238967
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George206440
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Tishomingo196361
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Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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