I’m awaiting Inauguration Day with expectancy.
Not to rejoice that, at long last, we will finally reach the 2,922nd – and final – day of the Obama presidency.
Not to experience the schadenfreude of seeing the pained expressions of Hillary and Bill Clinton as Donald Trump – rather than Madam Clinton – takes the oath of office as the nation’s 45th president.
No, I look forward to Inauguration Day because the Christian heritage of this nation’s founders – disavowed for the past eight years by a president who declared America “no longer a Christian nation” – will be front and center on Friday, as made clear by Tom Barrack, whom President-elect Trump appointed to chair his inauguration committee.
“Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute,” said Barrack, “to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people.”
Unlike previous inaugurations at which one or two faith leaders made perfunctory appearances, President-elect Trump invited six faith leaders, said Barrack, to “honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.”
It’s a diverse collection of faith leaders, with half having actively supported Candidate Trump as he sought election to the highest office in the land.
That includes the Rev. Franklin Graham, President of both Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He stood by Mssr. Trump after a decade-old video was released in which the future Republican Party standard-bearer uttered some unseemly remarks about women.
“The crude comments made by Donald J. Trump more than 11 years ago cannot be defended,” said Rev. Graham. “But the godless progressive agenda of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton likewise cannot be defended.”
The two other Trump-supporting faith leaders who will join Rev. Graham on Inauguration Day are Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, Senior Pastor of Great Faith Ministries International, who hosted the GOP presidential nominee at his Detroit church, and Televangelist Paula White, Senior Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida, who arranged Candidate Trump’s meet-up last summer with hundreds of evangelical leaders.
The other three faith leaders who will be on share billing with Rev. Graham, Bishop Jackson and Pastor White have previously expressed certain misgivings about President-elect Trump.
They include Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Cardinal Dolan and Rev. Rodriguez take issue with the President-elect’s approach to stemming the tide of illegal immigration into the United States. Rabbi Hier criticized Candidate Trump’s consideration of a temporary ban on Muslims entering this country.
Some may wonder why President-elect Trump offered a platform at his inauguration to faith leaders who differ with him on issues like immigration. (Just as there almost certainly are some who wonder why he extended invitations to faith leaders who reputedly espouse the so-called “Prosperity Gospel”).
Well, I think it demonstrates that our next president is so comfortable in his own skin he is willing to fellowship with those who don’t share all his views; who may even oppose certain of his views.
That’s the kind of president this nation needs for such a time as this. It is why this Christ follower believes that God, in His infinite wisdom, has set Donald J. Trump in authority over the United States.
It’s to rescue this troubled nation from the “godless progressive” worldview that has resulted in nearly 4,000 gun deaths in the city of Chicago alone during its favorite son’s presidency; that has legalized so far nearly a half-million same-sex marriages; that is culpable in the abortion of more than 8 million pre-born babies.
It just may be that the outcry against America has become so great and its sins so grievous that God – not Vladimir Putin – determined the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
That the Almighty chose President-elect Trump to lead our wayward country back to the faith of its founders; to make America great again by once again becoming one nation under God.
So this Christ follower will be on his knees on Inauguration Day, prayerfully remembering the promise God made to Solomon:
“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”