Religion

Six Faith Leaders Will Attend Trump Inauguration

| by Robert Fowler

Six prominent faith leaders will help swear in President-elect Donald Trump on his inauguration day. Among the religious figures who will offer readings and give the incoming president the benediction are the evangelical Rev. Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Catholic Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.

On Dec. 28, the Trump inaugural committee announced the names of faith leaders who would attend the president-elect's swearing-in ceremony. Included on the roster are Graham, Dolan, Reverend Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, Pastor Paula White of the New Destiny Christian Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of the Great Faith Ministries International, CNN reports.

Graham had advocated for Trump during the 2016 presidential race and also urged his followers to vote for him even after a 2005 audiotape featuring the business mogul bragging about kissing and groping women without consent emerged in October.

"The crude comments made by Donald J. Trump more than 11 years ago cannot be defended," Graham wrote on Facebook. "But the godless progressive agenda of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton likewise cannot be defended. ... The most important issue of this election is the Supreme Court."

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On Dec. 17, Graham asserted during a Trump congratulatory rally in Alabama that the business mogul's election victory was caused by divine intervention.

"God showed up," Graham told the crowd, according to AL.com. "He answered the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people across this land that have been praying for this country."

Meanwhile, Cardinal Dolan had been critical of Trump's rhetoric toward immigrants, describing the president-elect's policies as contrary to American and Christian values in a July 2015 op-ed for The Washington Post.

"I am not in the business of telling people what candidates they should support or who deserves their vote," Dolan wrote. "But as a Catholic, I take seriously the Bible's teaching that we are to welcome the stranger, one of the most frequently mentioned moral imperatives in both the Old and New Testament."

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In a statement issued through the Trump transition team, inaugural committee chairman Tom Barrack expressed satisfaction with the selection of diverse faith leaders to attend the president-elect's swearing-in ceremony.

"Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people," Barrack said, reports CNN. "I am pleased to announce that diverse set of faith leaders who will offer readings and prayers … and honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation."

Based on exit poll data, a whopping 81 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Trump in the November election. What's more, 52 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of Protestant or other Christians also cast a ballot for the business mogul, The New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, 71 percent of Jewish voters supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in addition to 62 percent of voters belonging to other religious groups and 68 percent of voters who had no religious affiliation.

Sources: AL.comCNN, Franklin Graham/FacebookThe New York TimesThe Washington Post / Photo credit: Matt Johnson/Flickr

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