The Washington Post and other news outlets have announced the six clergy who will be leading prayers at Trump’s inauguration on January 20:
The inaugural committee told The Post on Wednesday that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Rev. Franklin Graham, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Pastor Paula White will all give readings at the ceremony.
Six clergy are more than the usual one or two, and for Graham, it’s the second time around – he prayed at the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001. Cardinal Dolan is the first Catholic to pray in an inauguration since President Jimmy Carter, according to Religion News. From the Post:
“It’s a particular honor that shows the greatness of America,” said Hier, the first rabbi chosen for an inauguration since Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985. When Hier’s selection was announced Wednesday, he mused about what his parents — who fled anti-Semitism in Poland and moved to America before the Holocaust — would think about his role. “Whatever you turn to in the Torah, one can find connections and relevance to whatever period of history human beings live in. So that’s not going to be a challenge.”
Rabbi Hier, Fox News points out, is founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and he is not the only one of the six connected with concerns during Trump’s campaign:
The Wiesenthal Center had previously criticized Trump, accusing him of casting suspicion on all Muslims in his remarks on terrorism. Hier said in a phone interview Wednesday that while he would continue to speak out against bigotry, he supports Trump’s approach to Israel. “I’m not in the camp of those who say we are now into the dark ages. I think the opposite — that America’s best years are ahead of it,” Hier said.
Graham, who rallied Christian voters around the country this year over the issue of appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court, has credited God for Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton. Rodriguez, who had criticized Trump for his promises to deport millions of people in the country illegally, said Wednesday, “I have enjoyed getting to know President-elect Trump and his team.” Rodriguez called participating in the inaugural “a patriotic honor” and “a sacred duty.”
Fox News’ report focuses on the two “prosperity gospel” pastors, White (the second woman to pray at a presidential inauguration) and Jackson:
While the faith movement is widely popular, many Christians consider it heretical. Ministers in the tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence their teachings work. Trump had campaigned in part on his record as a wealthy real estate developer and businessman.
The Senate Finance Committee had investigated White and five other prosperity preachers over their spending, but the inquiry ended in 2011 with no penalty for the televangelists. White said in a statement that she will pray to God at the inaugural “that He would richly bless our extraordinary home, the United States of America.”