During a benediction on July 18 at the Republican National Convention, pastor Mark Burns prayed to Jesus for help in defeating the "liberal Democratic Party" (video below).
Burns is a prosperity pastor who hails from Easley, South Carolina, reports Yahoo News.
Before he prayed, Burns shouted, "Republicans, we got to be united because our enemy is not other Republicans, but is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party!"
After the GOP delegates applauded, Burns said:
Let’s pray together. Father God, in the name of Jesus, Lord we’re so thankful for the life of Donald Trump.
We’re thankful that you are guiding him, you are giving him the words to unite this party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party, to keep us divided and not united. Because we are the United States of America, and we are the conservative party under God!
To defeat every attack that comes against us, protect the life of Donald Trump, give him the words, give him the space, give him the power and the authority to be the next President of the United States of America, in Jesus’ name! If you believe it, shout Amen!
In response to the partisan prayer, Interfaith Alliance President Rabbi Jack Moline said in a press release:
I have rarely heard a more inappropriate contribution to political proceedings as the benediction by Pastor Mark Burns at the opening session of the Republican National Convention.
The idea that a member of the clergy would invoke his God’s name and, in the next breath, declare the candidate from the other party to be the enemy seems to be an attempt to replace "nomination" with "ordination."
However, invoking religion to launch such attacks devalues faith and disrespects the people of the United States who are hoping for a debate on the issues, not an "ex cathedra" pronouncement. Republican delegates should decline to respond "amen."
Yahoo News notes that prayers at political conventions have been common throughout U.S. political history, but could not recall a religious leader at a convention referring to the opposing party as the enemy, as Burns did before his prayer.