Here's Who's Praying at Trump's Inauguration
A number of prominent evangelicals and religious leaders will be offering their best prayers and/or passages of Scripture tomorrow at President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony Friday. As usual there are those who disagree with his choices. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Among those involved in this year's event include Pastor Paula White. White is Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla., the chairwoman of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, and the wife of Jonathan Cain, longtime keyboardist for the rock band Journey. The choice of White stirred controversy because of her supposed belief in the "prosperity Gospel," the thought that belief in God is a means to financial gain, something the Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy, warning him of this error. But White's belief pertains to a prosperity of the body, soul and spirit, something the Apostle John wrote in his letters and prayed for the church to receive.
According to RNS, White is scheduled to, "give the invocation on Inauguration Day, making her only the second woman to pray at a presidential inauguration and the first clergywoman. She has said she will “ask God to guide our leaders with wisdom and strength and that He would richly bless our extraordinary home, the United States of America.”
Bishop Wayne T. Jackson will be praying at this year's inauguration. The Bishop hosted Trump at his church in Detroit during Trump's campaign season, wrapped him in a Jewish prayer shawl and was open to a Trump presidency, despite voting Democrat his entire life.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization, representing millions of Evangelicals worldwide, made the following statement regarding his participation in Friday's event.
"It is with deep gratitude that I express my thanks to President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence for affording me the privilege of participating in their swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20. There is truly no greater honor than to serve one's country in such a special way on such a momentous occasion.
"I have enjoyed getting to know President-elect Trump and his team over many months.
"As a pastor, I know that faith holds our nation together and I count participating in the Inauguration of our nation's 45th president as not just a patriotic honor, but as a sacred duty, for we will stand not only before men, but before God Almighty Himself to seek His blessing and guidance. Let us begin now to pray for our new president and his administration, and imagine together a bright future for our exceptional nation."
Cardinal Timothy Dolan serves as the tenth and current Archbishop of New York and will be the first Roman Catholic to participate in an inauguration ceremony since President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Dolan wrote on his blog, "Friday, we’ll inaugurate a new president. As with all previous ones, some welcome him, some are worried about him, most a little bit of both. Whatever our reservations – – and as with most other inauguration days, I have some too – – it is classically a time of prayer, renewal, hope, and unity. May it be so . . . !"
Rabbi Marvin Hier will be one of the few Jewish Rabbis to participate in an inauguration. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is Jewish, along with his daughter Ivanka (who converted to Judaism) serves as dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, its Museum of Tolerance and of Moriah, the Center's film division.
Rev. Franklin Graham will participate for the third time in an inauguration ceremony on Friday. This year he will be offering a special Scripture reading, despite the resistance from Muslims who called him an Islamophobic and asked that he not participate. Those efforts though did not bear any fruit.
Graham had assisted his father Billy Graham at the second inaugural of President Bill Clinton in 1997. He had offered the invocation at the first inaugural of President George W. Bush in 2001.
Graham wrote on Facebook today, "I told Fox News this morning that it wasn’t Donald J. Trump that divided this country, this country has been divided for a long time. As we are just hours away from inaugurating the 45th president of the United States, we need to all pull together as Americans. Prayer is what will make a difference—God has the answers, if we’ll look to Him. Last year I went to all 50 states and prayed with Christians on the steps of every state capitol. We confessed the sins of the nation and our own sins and asked God for help. I believe He has given us a new opportunity—a new day in Washington and in the leadership of this country. We need to go beyond politics and come together in prayer. Democrats and Republicans have to work together and make choices for the good of the nation. Politicians need to drop their inauguration boycott plans and show unity. Maybe we need to get back to the challenge of John F. Kennedy in his 1961 Inaugural address—“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”