Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer Commentary (on President Trump’s Prayer Breakfast)

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Dear Mr. President. Today I want to talk
about prayer. Prayer is something that people of faith takes seriously, myself included. Now, I would never argue that faith and politics don’t mix, but I would argue that when one is invited to lead prayer one shouldn’t substitute their
authentic articulation to the Sacred with their personal political agenda. One should offer… well, prayer. It’s that simple. As a person of faith my whole life an ordained minister serving in my 33rd
year of ministry, having completed 14 years of seminary training, and currently serving as the president of a national religious body that has sent a few
presidents to the Oval Office, including your immediate predecessor, I know a thing or two about prayer. But I also want to talk about irony, and suggest to you a couple of things that I think went wrong at the National Prayer Breakfast. Since prayer and faith are about as personal and private as one could
imagine, I would never presume to doubt anyone who told me that their spiritual
disciplines include praying for our elected officials, and if I were an
elected official, I would take their offer of prayer as a welcome and
much-needed gift. Mr. President, serving in your office has to be hard,
and you can surely accept prayers offered on your behalf. I ask your indulgence now to let me speak briefly less about prayer than about context, and I promise it will lead us to irony. Your political diatribe not only was a gross misuse of the occasion known to all as the National Prayer Breakfast, your invective was spewed out mere minutes after the Harvard professor reminded us
of a most powerful Christian notion, “love your enemies.” Now, what you did was a fine example of irony, and the use of prayer in context… Oh, the irony, having heard the call to love the enemy, you lashed out at your enemies. The Prayer Breakfast is a long-established Hill tradition at which a once impeached
and recently acquitted Bill Clinton apologized for what and I quote, he “said
and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the
Congress and on the American people.” He wasn’t exactly a hero, but that was a
true “love your enemy” kind of moment. Oh, the irony at the National Prayer
Breakfast you spoke not a word of prayer, but used the moment to push your
political agenda. Oh, the irony. At the National Prayer Breakfast you claimed again to doubt the sincerity of a colleague whose faith has always been
important to her when she simply said she prayed for you. Oh, the irony. You did all of this while trying to claim the moral high ground. So yes, as a faith leader myself, I just wanted to remind you that to most of us prayer is sacred. Seeing it profaned from the highest office of the land was in a word, offensive. If you are given another chance to speak at a prayer breakfast, I simply ask that you remember to do one thing… Pray. Is that too much to ask?

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