Mike Pence Says Donald Trump Is 'Believer,' Grateful for Prayers and Support of Evangelical Christians

Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan applaud as President Donald Trump arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington.
Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan applaud as President Donald Trump arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington. | (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo)

Vice President Mike Pence has praised evangelical Christians for their support for "believer" Donald Trump. 

"I think President Trump has a heart of gratitude for evangelical Christians in this country. I have to tell you, the sweetest words the president and I ever hear, and we hear them a lot, are when people grab us by the hand and say, 'we're praying for you,'" Pence told CBN News' David Brody Sunday.

"I've been with this president in the Oval Office with religious leaders. When people have asked to pause for a moment of prayer and the president readily embraces that. I think he's always very humbled and grateful by the support of believers. But, let me be clear: President Trump is a believer and so am I," Pence declared.

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Together, Pence explained, he and President Trump understand how important faith is in American life and they work hard to respect it.

"We understand the role of faith in the life of this nation, and the American people I think can be encouraged to know that in President Donald Trump, they have a leader who embraces and respects and appreciates the role of faith and the importance of religion in the lives of our families, in communities in our nation and he always will," Pence said.

Some evangelical leaders have argued, however, that supporting Trump has become an ethical challenge.

"I think we are in danger of, as evangelicals, losing influence for the gospel's sake really for a generation because of this uneasy alliance. You know, I think one of the difficulties is understanding how we effect power during a time like this. You know, there are two different narratives from the Bible that we can put on this," Hershael York, a pastor and professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said in an interview with NPR.

"One is that we're to be like Daniel, who served Nebuchadnezzar in his court. And we want to be faithful even though we're serving someone who is not in agreement with us. But the other narrative we can put on it are the Pharisees conniving with Pontius Pilate. The question is, is it collusion, complicity, connivance, or is it capitalization on a unique moment in history to shape the future through judicial appointments? It's a really difficult moment for evangelicals," he said.

Last month, Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post that the embrace of President Trump by evangelicals was a risky move that required repentance.

"President Trump is an ultimate and consummate worshiper of money, sex and power. American Christians have not really reckoned with the climate he has created in our country and the spiritual obligation we have to repair it. As a result, the soul of our nation and the integrity of the Christian faith are at risk," Wallis wrote.

In the NPR interview on Sunday, Wallis reiterated his concern about the relationship between the president and evangelical Christians, particularly white evangelicals.

"Donald Trump's moral behavior is really disgusting. It's the antithesis of Christian values," Wallis said.

"This is the worship of money and sex and power. Everyone struggles with, public figures struggle. They should struggle. There's not even a struggle with this man. And I agree with Pastor York speaking the truth to power, but this man's destroying truth. This is an administration of perpetual, continual lying. So much is at stake for our faith and the soul of the nation. And how we respond as Christians has got to be more than the ends justify the means," he said.

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