11 September, 2020 — Must One Be Christian to Be a US President? Part 1

“…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ʺmake no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,ʺ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, January 1st, 1802.

Recently I watched with avid interest the 2020 national political conventions of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party to formalize the nomination of each of their presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the upcoming federal election of the United States. Preparing myself to take notes on the political positions taken by each party in what is essentially a binary political system, I was taken aback by the prayers featured in each of the four prime time daily sessions.

The Republican National Convention (RNC) showcased three Christian and one Jewish religious head, while the Democratic National Convention (DNC) invited four Christian figures to speak. The Judeo-Christian speakers made statements, such as:

“Pray we must… in thanksgiving dear God for democracy as we ask your hand Almighty Father upon this convention…. Amen.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, 24th August, 2020, RNC.

“Your word declares in second Corinthians, “Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”… We need you. Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. We surrender to your plans and purpose for our lives…. I ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” Reverend Norma Urrabazo, International Church of Las Vegas, 25th August, 2020, RNC.

“Oh Lord, you have granted us certain natural rights, such as the right to speak freely, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, as well as religious freedom, the right to assemble and the right to self-defense…. Father, we pray…. May God continue to make America great, and may we continue to be his people, one nation, under God. Let us say, amen.” Rabbi Aryeh Spero, Conference of Jewish Affairs, 26th August, 2020, RNC.

“Father, we know that you can make this nation great once again if we turn our eyes and our hearts to you and follow your word and obedience. May your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven, and we pray this in the mighty name of your son, my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” Franklin Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 27th August, 2020, RNC.

“Help us, oh Lord, to be ever mindful of the most vulnerable among us…. I pray this in the maximus name of Jesus, amen.” Reverend Gabriel Salguero, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, 17th August, 2020, DNC.

“And now may the blessing of God, the source of all goodness, truth, and love inspire you, inspire us all…. Amen.” Bishop Mariann Budde, Episcopal Diocese of Washington D.C., 18th August, 2020, DNC.

“Let us pray. Most merciful and loving God,…. That we may achieve a common good, a greater good in the name of the Holy Trinity, we pray. Amen.” Archbishop Elpidophoros, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 19th August, 2020, DNC.

“In the name of all that is holy, Oh Spirit, bring out of this time of global and national chaos, a new creation, a new community that can with your help realize this new promise that we affirmed tonight. And so with profound hope, let we, the people say, Amen.” Sister Simone Campbell, Network and Nuns on the Bus, 20th August, 2020, DNC.

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