Texas megachurch pastor and longtime Donald Trump supporter Robert Jeffress has defended the president amid criticism over his not reciting the Apostles’ Creed during the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush.
During the service when the Christian statement of faith known as the “Apostles’ Creed” was being recited, many noted that Trump was not reciting the creed or reading the text from the bulletin, even as the former presidents beside him were doing so.
In a statement emailed to The Christian Post on Thursday, the lead pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas explained that he has personally seen President Trump sing hymns and recite Christian prayers.
“I’ve stood next to President Trump and heard him recite the Lord’s Prayer, and I sat behind him at Billy Graham’s funeral and watched him and the first lady sing ‘All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name,’” said Jeffress.
Jeffress labeled the outrage over Trump not reciting the Apostles’ Creed a “manufactured controversy” and a “nothing burger” that was “cooked up by the perennial Trump haters.”
“There are times in my own church services when I fail to sing the hymns or recite the Scripture because I’m distracted by my own thoughts,” continued Jeffress. “I imagine the leader of the free world has a few things on his mind, as well.”
On Wednesday, the Washington National Cathedral presided over the funeral of George H.W. Bush, with Trump and his wife Melania sitting in the front row along side the remaining living former presidents and their wives.
Many took to social media when video of the worship services showed Trump not reciting or reading the creed, especially in light of the strong support the president has among white evangelicals.
“Striking that all the former Presidents and First Ladies recited the Apostles Creed, but Trump and Melania stood silently and did not. The creeds are at the heart of historic orthodox Christianity,” tweeted journalist and author Jon Ward.
Other Twitter users offered up denunciations, claiming that this showed that Trump was “playing like he is a Christian just to get Christians to support him” and that they “can’t believe Evangelicals anointed a man who doesn’t recite the Apostles’ Creed.”
Liberal comedian and practicing Roman Catholic Stephen Colbert also poked fun at the president for his not reciting the creed during the funeral on a segment of CBS’ “The Late Show” on Wednesday evening.
“I’m sorry, I zoned out there for a minute,” said Colbert, impersonating Trump. “I was thinking about all the evangelicals who voted for me. What are we doing, the Macarena? I’m in.”