The pastor of a Virginia church that received a surprised visit from President Trump on Sunday apologized to his congregants who were “hurt” by his decision to allow the President on stage for a prayer.
“Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we didn’t see coming, and we’re faced with a decision in a moment when we don’t have the liberty of deliberation, so we do our best to glorify God,” McLean Bible Church pastor David Platt said in a letter to church goers, explaining the circumstances of Trump’s arrival.
Platt said he was alerted at the end of his sermon on Sunday that President Trump was on his way to the church and would be there “in a matter of minutes.” The White House had apparently requested that the pastor pray for Trump, a request likely fueled by prominent evangelical and ardent Trump supporter Franklin Graham’s decision to proclaim Sunday as a special day of prayer to Trump. Graham claimed last week that Trump needed protection from his “enemies.”
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) May 26, 2019
The pastor said he wrestled with the decision for a few moments, knowing there were people with “varied personal histories and political opinions from varied socioeconomic situations” within the congregation, but ultimately decided to invite him on stage to pray in accordance with gospel scripture that asks Christians to pray for their leaders.
Trump spent about 10 minutes on stage with Platt and left without making any remarks. He was criticized for wearing a “USA” hat, which he removed once on stage, and golf clothes under a blazer, especially in a state that was just ravaged by a mass shooting on Friday evening that left 13 people dead.
According to Platt’s letter, not everyone was pleased with his decision to pray for Trump on stage.
“I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart,” he said. “I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God. So while I am thankful that we had an opportunity to obey 1 Timothy 2 in a unique way today, I don’t want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ.”