Religious leaders gathered in the Oval Office laid hands on President Donald Trump to pray that God gives him guidance, wisdom and protection.
A photo of the gathering made the rounds on social media but didn’t sit well with the Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.
On MSNBC’s “AM Joy” on Saturday morning, Barber called the prayer “theological malpractice bordering on heresy.”
“It is a form of theological malpractice that borders on heresy when you can p-r-a-y for a president and others when they are p-r-e-y, preying on the most vulnerable,” Barber said. “You’re violating the most sacred principles of religion.”
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Barber’s comments set the North Carolina Republican Party ablaze.
In a news release on Sunday, the party said it was “shocked and outraged” over Barber’s “claim that it’s a sin to pray for President Trump.”
“In the strongest possible terms, the NCGOP condemns the hateful actions of Dr. Rev. Barber, who cast tens of millions of people, of all faiths, who pray for the president, as sinners in a nationally broadcasted interview,” NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in the news release. “As a pastor in North Carolina, Rev. Dr. Barber has crossed the line this time. Using his role as a supposed faith-based leader to falsely drive citizens away from praying for the good of our nation and our nation’s president is absolutely grotesque. The idea that it is a sin to pray for any individual, much less the commander-in-chief of our country, goes against any religious teaching that I have ever heard of. Rev. Dr. Barber is spreading a repulsive lie, and he should apologize immediately.”