Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Critics say the separation wall between church and state is being chipped away.

The White House Oval Office witnessed approximately 24 evangelical leaders praying with President Trump during an all-day “listening session” with the Office of Public Liaison. Photographs of the event were posted by Johnnie Moore of Liberty University, the senior vice-president of the educational institution. He proudly proclaimed that the event was more than a photo opportunity. It was a display of the substantive relationship between the Trump administration and the evangelical community.

The list of evangelicals praying in that room included the who's who of the community. There was Pastor Jack Graham of Texas' Prestonwood Baptist Church. He even requested his social media followers to begin “covering” both President Trump and Vice-President Pence “with prayer.” Other prominent participants include Pastor John Hagee, Gary Bauer, the President of American Values, and Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council.

Many people criticized the prayer event held at the Oval Office. One of them was author Michael Deibert. He simply reminded his followers of the American tenet separating the state and church, adding that his grandfather, a Lutheran minister “would have been equally repulsed.” Prayers were seen often in the White House, even during the Obama era. However, one fact remains: a thing which may not be illegal does not mean it will not cause damage. Moore says there’s “a substantive relationship between the evangelical community and this administration.”

People who believe in reason, evidence, and actual religious freedom should be concerned about the gradual chipping away of the wall separating church and state. It is evident that Trump will make administrative sacrifices to appeal to the overtly religious-even at the cost of other Americans whose condition can only get worse.

Criticism of President Donald J. Trump is not restricted to the separation of church and state. Many rational religious people have pointed out this event is for public consumption and directly opposite to what the Bible preaches about private prayer.

Moore said the prayer time meeting, can be regarded as an unanticipated bonus. “When the West Wing became aware that we were on the property, they invited us over to spend a few minutes," he said.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter