Tuesday, January 17, 2017

We Will Not Pray For Donald Trump By Name Because He Is A 'Trauma Trigger' Says Christian Minister

An Episcopal church in California in the US has stated it will not pray for Donald Trump by name.

This is because the name of Trump is considered to be a "trauma trigger" - and a risk to health and safety.

It is traditional in Anglican churches worldwide to pray for a nation's leaders. Church of England parishes regularly pray for the Queen and Episcopal churches in the US pray for the President and the Government.

"We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people – particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety, says Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Pasadena in his blog.

He defends the Trump name boycott as justified because his church must be kept as "a place of safety from harm". Read More
All Saints Pasedena’s decision to refrain from praying for the new president by name has provoked a firestorm of criticism from conservative Christians who voted for Donald Trump or support the Republican Party. All Saints Pasedena is a liberal Californian parish, known for its progressive activism, and therefore is considered fair game for bashing because of its positions on other issues that divide the Christian community. What is overlooked amidst the acrimony and rancor is these three important things.

First, All Saints Pasedena is not refraining from praying for the president and those in authority, only from praying for them “by name.”

Second, praying for the president and other political figures by name is a matter of local custom as is praying for the ordinary of the diocese by name. Unlike the Church of England whose service books, The Book of Common Prayer (1662) and Common Worship (2000) , require congregations to pray for the reigning monarch by name, the three American prayer books presently in use, the 1979 Prayer Book, the 1928 Prayer Book, and Texts for Common Prayer, do not require congregations to pray for the president by name. F
or fifteen years  I was a communicant and lay leader of an Episcopal parish  that generally did not pray for the president of the United States or the ordinary of the diocese by name. This parish was far from liberal in its social and theological outlook. The Continuing Anglican congregation with whom I presently worship also does not pray for the president or the ordinary by name. It also is a conservative congregation. Whether a congregation prays for the president by name is for it to decide. We may not agree with its reasons for choosing to do so or not to do so but the choice is its to make.

Paul exhorted the New Testament Church in his first letter to Timothy to pray for all men, for kings and those in authority. He urged the church to pray for the latter because they were in a position to affect the well-being of the church. But he says nothing about praying for them by name. Whether or not we name them, God knows for who we are praying.

Third, at the time of the American War for Independence the colonialists who sought independence from the United Kingdom, refused to pray for King George III. Theirs was a far more momentous decision than All Saints Pasedena’s decision not to pray for President Trump by name, a decision which we have seen it is free to make.

There are far more important issues that should concern us than whether a congregation names the incoming president in the Prayers of the People.

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