On Friday, Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States of America. In his inaugural speech, the Presbyterian mentioned religion a number of times. “The Bible tells us, "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity," Trump said. “We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.There should be no fear - we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.”
Not every Christian agrees— and for plenty of voters, religious or otherwise, a Donald Trump presidency is fact they find hard to accept. Yet in a recent column for the Washington Post, Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, argued that regardless of how you voted, you ought to pray for the President-elect.
“With the inauguration of a new president of the United States, now is a time to pray for President Trump and to remember our obligation as Christians to pray for all those who are in civil authority,” Moore wrote. ”The Apostle Paul charges us to offer prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings for “all people,” and includes in that list “kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Tim. 2:2). This very act of praying is itself a counter-cultural act.”
On their weekly All Revved Up segment on Boston Public Radio, reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III offered, well, another perspective.
EMMETT: I think it was an interesting piece, I disagree with a number of things he has written. He suggests that we should pray that President Trump is successful, that we should pray that he’s able to do with what he said he’s going to do, and I think you can’t force people to pray. I think people have to make the decision whether they feel comfortable and honest and authentic and have the integrity to do such. If we are going to pray for the President or the seat of the presidency, we should pray that this President is the President for the United States of America and not the divided States of America.
IRENE: I think what we need to do, what was done actually —this weekend— is to mobilize. But this is what I feel: If you really want to come from a more spiritual perspective, I like to take Michelle Obama’s model that when they go low, we go high. When I think of people like Donald Trump, I think of Reinhold Niebuhr’s prayer that is used in a lot of the 12-step program; God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom —that’s the operative word— to know the difference. Prayer, for me, would be a systemic change to mobilize people, which is what we saw this weekend, to really exorcise this kind of exclusionist and isolationist reign that we are beginning to see take hold.
MARGERY: That is tough, to love your enemies and to pray for those who have done harm to you—but that’s what the good book says, is it not?
EMMETT: But it’s tough for people of faith! It’s tough for us, as clergy. We have to lead by example, but we also need to lead in transparency, which is why it’s very difficult.
IRENE: Which is why I was glad when some parishioners did not show up for church on Sunday…
JIM: Irene’s reading a different book, it appears.â
Reverend Irene Monroe is a syndicated columnist for The Huffington Post and Bay Windows, and Reverend Emmett Price is a Professor of Worship, Church & Culture and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. To hear All Revved Up in its entirety, click on the audio link above.