On Sunday, President Trump made headlines for making an unannounced stopover at McLean Bible Church, a large church in Northern Virginia just west of Washington D.C.
And, as usual, many of those headlines were wrong.
It was there at McLean Bible, near the end of the congregation’s afternoon worship service, that Pastor David Platt escorted the president on stage and prayed over him, asking God to grant Trump wisdom and grace before praying the same for leaders of Congress and other elected officials across the nation.
It was, as far as prayers go, about as Biblically based and God-centered as you can get, never once focusing on Trump, his politics, or his policies. If you don’t believe me, you can read the full thing here, or watch:
WATCH: Trump prays at the McLean Bible Church with Pastor David Platt in the wake of the Virginia Beach mass shooting pic.twitter.com/cpqs7efVYg— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) June 2, 2019
Platt later addressed his Vienna-based church’s congregation in an open statement published to the church’s website, explaining why he’d decided to pray over President Trump while acknowledging that, given the wide spectrum of political and personal beliefs throughout the church, some members might have been caught off-guard seeing the 45th president on their sanctuary’s stage with no notice. Platt explained he didn't know Trump was even coming until after he'd preached his sermon, and that he'd been told the president was waiting backstage and had asked for the church to pray for him - a request Platt granted on the spot.
But in a clear effort to spin the narrative away from a Christian minister praying a humble prayer over the president, some liberal media outlets – and even a few others like the Washington Times, who took the bait – reported Platt had “apologized” for praying for Trump. The headlines sparked outrage on Twitter, prompting some to accuse Platt of caving to the liberal mob and even a few to suggest he should step down from the pulpit.
Except that Platt never apologized. In fact, he did quite the opposite, defending his decision using Scripture:
“Based on [1 Timothy 2:1-6], I know that it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president. So in that moment, I decided to take this unique opportunity for us as a church to pray over him together. My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays.”
“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,” Platt acknowledged. “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."
Platt added that during his brief time with Trump backstage, “one of our other pastors and I spoke the gospel in a way that I pray was clear, forthright, and compassionate,” asking the McLean family to “pray with me for gospel seed that was sown today to bear fruit in the president’s heart.”
Nowhere in his lengthy statement did Platt express regret for having prayed for Trump, admit he’d done anything wrong, or apologize for asking that God bless the nation’s highest elected official with wisdom.
Nor should he.
Politico ultimately retracted their original story that had described Platt as having “apologized” for his prayer, replacing it with a new version that claims he simply “explained” to his church why he’d made his decision.
Any other outlets who care about journalistic integrity should do the same.