Trump promises evangelicals he’ll put prayer back in schools

Trump promises evangelicals he’ll put prayer back in schools January 4, 2020
Image via YouTube

IN what has been described as a ‘desperate’ attempt to woo back faith voters, Trump told a Florida rally yesterday (Friday) that he’ll soon be taking action to allow prayer back  in public schools.

Doug Pagitt, Executive Director of Vote Common Good, a progressive Christian group, said the rally was:

Trump’s desperate response to the realization that he is losing his primary voting bloc – faith voters.

Ahead of the rally, Pagitt wrote on the group’s website that:

The rally is notable in that it follows closely on the heels of the Christianity Today editorial calling for President Trump’s removal for office, which set off what some are calling a ‘civil war’ in the evangelical world. Clearly, the President and his advisers feel a display of force is needed to show their most reliable constituency is not wavering in its support.

The president can hold as many ‘Evangelicals for Trump’ rallies as he wants, but the reality is the community that was so critical to his election in 2016 is not as sure a bet for him as it once was – and may not be as strong as he needs it to be if he wants to win re-election.

Image via Facebook

Pagitt, above, author of Outdoing Jesus, added:

There are many reasons why people have lost their faith in Donald Trump. We are not telling people to stop being Republicans; we are asking Republicans to not vote for this one …. What we are trying to get people to do is to break a habitual behavior. It is hard to turn your back on your own choice. We don’t think we can convince hardened Trump supporters to change their minds.

We are seeking to help those whose hearts and minds have already changed to match their actions with their convictions. What I saw in the Christianity Today editorial was that very thing.

Some evangelicals may be rallying for the president in Florida Friday, but there are many more who are starting to articulate what they’ve been feeling for some time: that they cannot and will not support the president anymore.

At the rally itself – staged at the King Jesus International Ministry, a “prosperity gospel” church that teaches that the faithful will be rewarded with health and wealth on earth – told round 7,000 adoring attendees:

We are defending religion itself, it’s under siege. A society without religion cannot prosper.

In his speech, Trump mocked Democratic challenger Pete Buttigieg, the Indiana mayor, for having what he said was an unpronounceable last name, and told attendees Democrats were waging war against religion.

These angry radicals want to impose absolute conformity by censuring speech, tearing down crosses and symbols of faith and banning religious believers from public life.

He got an ecstatic reaction from the crowd when he promised to bring religion back into US schools. A clause in the US Constitution prohibits the government from promoting one religion over the other, which means public schools don’t promote prayer or religious symbols.

Very soon I’ll be taking action to safeguard students and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools. They [presumably Democrats, secularists, atheists etc] want to take that right along with many other ones.

Since 1962, the US  Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that prayers in public schools are unconstitutional. Social conservatives have been unable to pass a constitutional amendment through Congress that would change that. It is a matter of the government promoting an establishment of religion. The Supreme Court is also ruled that so-called “voluntary” school prayers are also unconstitutional, because they force some students to be outsiders to the main group, and because they subject dissenters to intense peer group pressure.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Michael Neville

    Trump doesn’t care about the Constitutionality of school prayer. He’s playing to his evangelical supporters, most of whom don’t care about the reality of the situation either.

  • Griff Pryce

    It seems to me that this is inconsistent with the anti-“big government” attitude promoted by the far right in this country, including the Christian fundies. [I can’t bring myself to call them “conservatives.” While I don’t agree with conservatives on many issues, the word “conservative” does imply a certain moderation; these guys are radicals, reactionaries, extremists, etc. Moderate is one thing they definitely are *not*!]

    I think they might respond to the following argument:
    “Prayer is too important to put it in the hands of the state. Entrusting prayer and religious education [sic] to public schools and other state institutions would
    result in a standardised, bureaucratically-regulated religion. Religion belongs with families, communities, and pastors, not state employees.”

    Thoughts?

  • Griff Pryce

    Yup, that much is plain. I wonder if they’re aware that T***p was raised Catholic and has a Jewish son-in-law.

  • Jennny

    I’ve said it before in comments on P/NR blogs, we’ve had mandatory acts of daily worship in UK schools since 1944 and it doesn’t seem to done much to x-tianise the country. It’s mainly, I suggest, a good way of putting children off religion, too many memories of boring school assemblies – and I took many many of them myself in the past (trying to be ‘cool’ not boring, but kids aren’t easily fooled!)

  • Connie Beane

    Once again, Trump is making vague promises of indefinite action sometime in the unspecified future. But then, Christians are kind of used to this sort of thing; no wonder they believe him.

  • Connie Beane

    Actually, Trump’s parents were Presbyterian and the family went to Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, which was pastored by the famous Norman Vincent Peale at the time Trump went there. He does, however, have a Jewish son-in-law.

  • Connie Beane

    Except that “a standardised, bureaucratically-regulated religion” is exactly what they want–as long as it is their version of religion. They understand quite well that the mass of people cannot be trusted to perform religious rites regularly, tithe in the correct amounts, and indoctrinate their children into the religion unless they are forced to do it. And the state has the biggest stick.

  • Michael Neville

    If they do know then they don’t care. They don’t care that he bragged about sexually assaults and that his favorite book is the Bible but he can’t quote any verses from it. He’s appointing conservative judges, he’s dumping everything Obama did, and he made saying “Merry Christmas” legal.

  • Broga

    Stalin was also educated by a Roman Catholic priests and said later that he learned some of his techniques from the Jesuits.

  • Michael Neville

    Stalin went to a Russian Orthodox Seminary until he was thrown out for disrespect to a teacher. He was never educated by Roman Catholic priests for the simple reason the Tsar did not allow Catholic seminaries anywhere in Russia.,

  • Carstonio

    Isn’t the UK already Christianized in the official sense? That’s a major distinction from the US. How much of Christian worship in your country is a civic obligation, or at least perceived by participants as such? The First Amendment was crafted by men who knew about the religious warfare in Europe in the previous two centuries. Prohibiting prayer in public schools is not about preventing the US from becoming unofficially Christianized.

  • I wonder if the whole situation with Iran is another attempt to get support.

    These angry radicals want to impose absolute conformity by censuring speech, tearing down crosses and symbols of faith and banning religious believers from public life.

    Sounds like projection to me!

  • Jim Jones

    I think I’ve spotted your mistake. You assume that Trump has the slightest knowledge of, or interest in, the Constitution.

    Not in a million years. He has some vague knowledge of the law, which is the only constraint on his words or actions.

    Decency, morality, ethics? I doubt he grasps any of those. Remember, he mused out loud about shooting someone in public.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7eaf7fff3f2618a2eedf61538ef34c8f24ad3e7c7ae6259a872106690abf3fd1.jpg

  • Jim Jones

    Blue whale projection at that.

  • Jim Jones

    An official religion not backed up by violence is uniquely weak and unconvincing.

  • Jim Jones

    Religion is spread by four basic methods:

    Deceit
    Fear
    Tor​ture
    Mur​der

    It is always thus.

  • Jim Jones

    What does this reaction tell us? It tells us that all of those pious claims about morality and ethics were lies. The same people who praise Trump verbally attacked Obama, a decent Christian man with a good family he raised as Christians. They praise Trump because, like themselves, he is a despicable and immoral imbecile and a bully who hates those they hate.

    Even when they see utter evil, like their religious leaders raping children, they don’t speak up. They don’t speak up because they aren’t there for god, morality, love or even kindness. They’re there to feel superior, just like the members of country clubs. They reject any information that counteracts those feelings. That’s why they support the criminals, not their victims, when the scandal touches them.

  • Brian Davis

    “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till school prayer has been restored.” — Trump 24:34

  • Kev Green

    This reminds me of Trump winning the War on Christmas by telling Evangelicals that they were allowed to say Merry Christmas again. I can easily see Trump telling his worshippers that they are now free to pray privately in school any time they want to.

    Although, I can also see Trump making prayer directed towards him a mandatory ritual.

  • Kaja

    And the Russian Orthodox Church was, for all practical purposes in the back pocket of the Tsar. How did that turn out for them ??

  • Michael Neville

    Right now they’re in Putin’s back pocket, so they’re in the same position they were in a century ago.

  • Here we have the most egregious example of pandering to a select few Americans that has ever been on display. DJT is absolutely commiting a ‘crime,’ while he panders to the Fundamentalists and Evangelicals of Christianity.

    These are the people, who want to create a theocratic state, here in the United States of America. They would replace the Constitution with the BuyBull as the founding document and the Buybull, as the law of the land. With no true Law, but the Buybull, we will have to navigate a morass of interpretations because there is no agreement on what the Old Testament means either figuratively or literally.

  • Broga

    Bloody hell, I have to be careful what I say here. I think the last book I read where I “remembered” that was “Stalingrad” by Antony Beever. And I was too busy or lazy to check. Anyway, not being Trump or the Pope I welcome the correction.

    Thanks.

  • OurSally

    If he had read the bible he would know the penalty for adultery is death. Just saying…

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    Okay, point of note: a student can pray in school if they want to. If they want to silently pray before lunch or whatever, so long as they aren’t disrupting class they absolutely can. What the SCOTUS case barred was the school organizing prayer, such as a forced prayer every morning before the start of school. The school cannot do that. Nor can the school start off sport events and things of that nature with prayer.

    This business about putting prayer in school has been a conservative talking point for literal decades, and it hasn’t been right since it was first conceived. They aren’t okay with voluntary student-lead prayer, no, they want to be able to force everyone to pray. It’s just one step closer as we slouch our way to their theocratic Sodom’n’Gomorrah.

  • Raging Bee

    The fact that these people actually WANT politicians and bureaucrats telling other people’s kids how to pray, pretty clearly shows how hollow and bogus their entire “limited-government” ideology really is.

  • abb3w

    Per the news report, “Very soon I’ll be taking action to safeguard students and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools,” Trump said.

    The words meanwhile are empty pandering for the base. However, it’s possible he may be able to take some such actions, although it’s not clear what the extent of that might be without the support of the House. Maybe some mostly symbolic DoEducation regulation?