In my last blog, I addressed some of President Trump’s less-than-Christian remarks at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. It amazes me how the press, who often disdain everything Christian, quickly judges the worthiness of those who refer to themselves as a believer.
While I agree with the President’s critics that he failed to live up to the high standards called for by Scripture, I also pointed out that all of us fall short of these aspirations. Trump himself acknowledged that he often makes things difficult for believers who support him. The audience laughed with understanding. God is still working on all of us. Thankfully, He doesn’t disown us every time we fail.
I also pointed out that while the media focused on his less-than-commendable statements, many failed to credit the much larger portions of the nearly thirty-minute speech that celebrated heroes of the Faith, recognized domestic and international threats to people of faith and demonstrated several other admirable Christian qualities.
So, in Part 2, let’s look at some positives:
• For all the people who have helped him and who work hard.
• For the blessing of living in a nation where there is freedom and the ability to worship in peace.
• For the faith community and their belief in redemption, “before it was fashionable.”
• Toward Arthur Brooks, “I love listening to you.”
• To congressmen for “the great job you’ve been doing and the relationship and the help.”
• For “Vice President Mike Pence and his wonderful wife, Karen… two people whose faith inspires us all.”
• For Reverend Gerald Toussaint, whose church was destroyed by hate-filled arsonist, and for the Americans in all 50 states and 20 countries who donated to rebuild.
• For African American churches who bravely fought for justice and who lifted up the “conscience of our nation.”
Dependence on God
• “We know that our nation is stronger, our future is brighter, and our joy is greater when we turn to God and ask Him to shed His grace on our lives.”
• “Faith keeps us free.”
• “Prayer makes us strong.”
• “… God alone is the author of life and the giver of grace.”
• “… let us ask Father in Heaven to guide our steps, protect our children, and bless our families. And with all of our heart, let us forever embrace the eternal truth that every child is made equal by the hand of Almighty God.”
• “So much of the greatness we have achieved, the mysteries we’ve unlocked, and the wonders we’ve built, the challenges we’ve met, and the incredible heights that we’ve reached has come from the faith of our families and the prayers of our people.”
Advancing Causes of Justice and Righteousness
• “In everything we do, we are creating a culture that protects freedom, and that includes religious freedom.”
• “In America, we don’t punish prayer. We don’t tear down crosses. We don’t ban symbols of faith. We don’t muzzle preachers. We don’t muzzle pastors. In America, we celebrate faith, we cherish religion, we lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the Glory of God.”
• Protecting the constitutional right to pray in public schools.
• Reversal of the Johnson Amendment which prohibited Pastors from endorsing candidates without fear of losing tax-exemption.
• The Mexico City Policy which restricts funding to Non-Governmental Organizations that advance abortion.
• Medical advancements to save premature babies.
• Working to lift citizens “of every race, color, religion, and creed… bringing hope to forgotten communities.”
• Criminal justice reform to provide redemption through jobs and second-chances to the formerly incarcerated.
• Fighting to keep faith… “alive and well and thriving in America.”
• “… standing up for persecuted Christians and religious minorities all around the world…”
• Hosted the first meeting for religious history in United Nations history.
• Launching of International Religious Freedom Alliance with more than 25 countries.
• “We are going to protect our great ministers and pastors and rabbis and all the people that we so cherish and that we so respect.”
Celebrated God’s Work in the Past
• Faith of early Americans as the 13 colonies prayed and fasted for God’s help at Valley Forge. “they [had] an unwavering belief that God was with them.” And He was!
• Faith of the poor American families whose contributions made possible the “magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral.”
• Buzz Aldrin’s request for a moment of silence when he landed on the moon, followed by his reading from the Bible.
Called out Religious Persecution
• Mary, in Iran, who was imprisoned for becoming a Christian a few weeks ago.
• Dictator Madura in Venezuela who has arrested church leaders.
• Fighting religious persecution all over the world.
• “I’m sorry. I apologize. I’m trying to learn. It’s not easy. It’s not easy… I do my best.”
Scripture reminds us to focus on “… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable…” It reminds us to look for excellence and things worthy of praise. (Phil 4:8 ESV) While it is easy to criticize, it takes spiritual maturity to look beneath the dirt and find the buried treasure. For some, this seems especially hard when it comes to the President.
Let us not forget that the Bible instructs us to plead for, pray, intercede, and offer thanksgiving for “kings and all in high positions.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2) Sometimes we need to ask ourselves if we are pleading to God on behalf of our leaders, or if like Miriam and Aaron, we are grumbling about them. (Num. 12-15). Are we interceding (coming between them and God to bring reconciliation) or are we causing further division by our words and actions?
I’m sure the media has done a sufficient job of letting the President know his failures. Let us work just as hard to encourage and exhort the things he is doing right. With that in mind, thank you Mr. President for caring about people of faith and continuing the fight for the unborn and the most vulnerable of God’s children.