Photo surfaces of evangelical pastors laying hands on Trump in the Oval Office

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

A group of evangelical leaders met with President Trump on Monday and laid their hands on him as he bowed in prayer while meeting in the Oval Office.

The leaders met with Jennifer Korn, deputy director and liaison from the White House, for a day-long meeting to discuss several issues, including the Affordable Care Act, religious freedom, pending judicial nominees, criminal justice reform and support for Israel. During their visit the leaders paid a visit to the Oval Office where Vice President Pence and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, dropped in.

About 30 leaders received invitations to the White House around a week and a half ago and included many of Trump’s faith advisory council from his campaign, including Florida megachurch pastor Paula White, South Carolina megachurch pastor Mark Burns, former Republican representative Michele Bachmann and Southern Baptist pastors Jack Graham, Ronnie Floyd and Robert Jeffress.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I, not an American, have always thought that the Oval Office was a public place dedicated to the execution of constitutionally secular government. Holding what looks to me like a prayer-meeting with the President in the Oval Office strikes me as inappropriate. Am I wrong to be dismayed at this event? Or is the President entitled to use the Oval Office for private functions as well? This non-American is a little confused. If the Donald Trump felt the need for prayer ministry, would it not have been more appropriate for him to seek it at a church? He has never impressed me as being so religious. Or is this yet another instance of Mr Trump’s complete unawareness of what is appropriate to the presidency, letting these evangelicals do their laying-on of hands on him as part of forming partnerships and alliances for political and “deal-making” purposes. I have always had reservations about the USA, but this event looks like yet another perversion of what is right and good about the USA at its very heart. Quite sickening.

  2. Garrick,

    as a former non-American myself (born overseas, have lived in the US for over 20 yrs), I can relate to your being puzzled by this.

    As I understand it, many (most?) American evangelicals view their religiosity not as something to be confined just to their private sphere or the boundaries of their own congregation. In their view, the Absolute truth has been revealed to them. Once one is convinced of that, no other source of information (political, scientific, historical, whatever) can claim precedence to it.

    So, it is just natural for evangelicals to keep referring to their revelation no matter what context they may find themselves in: at home, at school, in the office, on vacation, wherever and whenever. To them, there really shouldn’t be any separation of church and state.

    I live in the South East US. I regularly see groups of students praying publicly on campuses. Just as common is to bump into a prefect stranger at the supermarket who (the perfect stranger, not the supermarket) greets you with a whispered “Are you being saved?” as you are trying to decide which type of cheese you should buy for dinner.

    Trump is likely an agnostic who has “buddied up” with evangelical groups for political expediency. He invites them to the white house and let them do their “thing” mostly as a way to keep his base firm in its blind loyalty to him. So far, it has worked “beautifully” (as Trump himself would say).

    BTW, looking at the picture above, it could be amusing to speculate about what could be the implicit meaning of the “imposing of the hand on the shoulder” ritual:

    a) is the Donald meant to be the recipient of some type of supernatural influx streaming from the hands of the imposers?

    or

    b) are the hand imposers trying to receive the supernatural influx from the Donald?

    or

    c) are the hand imposers trying to push the Donald onto his knees to get him to pray?

    or

    d) are the hand imposers merely hoping that touching the Donald’s back will bring them good luck?

  3. The only things that Trump worships are the almighty US dollar and himself, in that order. Why in the world would the guy submit to this display of delusional mumbo-jumbo? Hasn’t he shown the evangelical base that he means to satisfy their wishes? Even with all the favors he’s done for that evangelical base, he still needs to have this pow-wow in the oval office and make sure the photo goes out far and wide, reassuring them that Jesus is running America through this chosen person – Trump.

    Remember how Nancy Reagan hired an astrologer to advise on policy? That’s completely ridiculous but for a President to be surrounded by these deluded control freaks in an office where decisions are made for 300 million people is much more disturbing to me now.

  4. One of the pivotal moments during my deconversion was being at Mass and being directed to offer an outstretched hand in blessing to a couple, for reasons I forget, as they left the church. Thoughts of Luke Skywalker trying to unsubmerge his X-Wing from the swamp in Dagobah came to mind. It was a moment that made me examine how the blessing wasn’t akin to magic.

    Perhaps it’s encouraging that none of the hands touching Trump look youthful. I’m a firm believer that secularism is always just one generation away.

    Mike, faith free since around 2011

  5. I don’t think I ever thought of myself as a christian or religious.
    The earliest doubt I remember was in Jr High. I asked a science teacher how the world could have
    been “created” in six days. The science teacher replied “it wasn’t”.
    He didn’t say anything else and I had no other questions. That was in 1967. In that time period you didn’t
    discount religion. The next year, I was asked not to come back to Boy Scouts.
    I was starting to figure things out. In elementary school, you would get the standard answer, “god has special powers”, or some crap. In Jr High, I got , “it wasn’t”. But you still couldn’t question people or their “beliefs”.
    It was when I was in my High School years, I came to the conclusion it was all a scam.
    As a comedian stated, “Its just some dude in a dress”.
    What’s interesting in this picture, they are praying to Trump not “gawd”.

  6. The big question is when reality catches up with Trump, will the hands laid on Trump be attached to bodies, in police uniforms, white coats, or prison uniforms?

  7. My bet goes to white coats, with those people bringing along an odd garment with the front of the garment resembling the back of normal garments, with very long sleeves and long laces attached to the end of the excessively long sleeves, all for very good reasons (unless the psychiatric section of the White House medical staff has been pre-emptively dismissed shortly after asshole Duhnald’s inauguration).

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