First off, the real shame here is that a late Friday news cycle plus Donald Trump going to the UK basically buried a story where a guy — a former soldier — who had worked as an engineer for the city of Virginia Beach for 15 years resigned, only to return later that afternoon and open fire, killing 12 people before dying in a shootout. Social media barely even bothered with the “thoughts and prayers” back and forth. It was just another day in America, and I am so sorry that the death of 12 people couldn’t even elicit the outrage from a nation so horribly resigned to gun violence.
I am even more sorry that I am now going to turn to the other story that was pushed to the back pages by President Trump’s UK trip, and that is the fact that on Sunday morning — in the same state where 12 people were gunned down less than two days before — Donald Trump made a surprise visit to a church and asked that the congregation pray for him.
Seriously: President Trump played a round of golf on Sunday morning, drove all of 17 minutes from the Trump National Golf Club to McLean Bible Church, and put a pastor on the spot by asking him — with next-to-no notice — to pray for him. Trump did not change clothes. He did not shower. He showed up, took off his golf cap, and insisted the dude pray for him.
David Platt, aka, Pastor Dave — who apparently tries to keep an apolitical church — did as he was told, although he tried to keep it chill, putting his hand on the President’s back and praying that God “give him all the grace he needs to govern in ways … that lead to peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.” Trump’s gonna need a lot more than prayers to achieve that result.
Then after Pastor Dave and the church prayed for Trump, the White House announced that Trump stopped by McClean Bible Church to “pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach.” Virginia Beach, nor the victims of gun violence in that city, were ever mentioned during the prayer for Trump. Trump never mentioned the shooting, either. In fact, Trump did not speak.
As it turns out, Sunday was designated by right-wing evangelist Franklin Graham as a National Day of Prayer for Trump — you know, to shield him from his enemies — and Donald Trump just swung on by McClean Bible Church to collect what he thought was due him: Prayers from fawning churchgoers. Only, the thing is, not all those churchgoers were so fawning. Pastor Dave had to apologize the next day after some of his parishioners took offense to the way Trump exploited their church for political gain.
I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God.
Anyway, thanks to Trump, for doing the absolute least. The “minimum requirements of the job” are looking unfavorably down (way down) upon you.
If a tornado hits McLean Bible Church and scours it down to its foundation which the earth then opens up and swallows I will acknowledge the possibility of a wise and just deity. Shame on everyone in this video. #Hypocrites #Trump #TaxTheChurchesNow— John Judy (@PapaJohnJudy) June 3, 2019
if you route from trump natl to the white house, the route is essentially the same whether or not you include a stop at mclean bible church. the gesture is hollow as all get out.— mitchell kelleher (@millennialmitch) June 3, 2019
at least wear different shoes come on pic.twitter.com/uiSfmVh9L4
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