On Tuesday, MSNBC's Chris Hayes interviewed David Brody, Chief Political Correspondent of the Christian Broadcasting Network and author of "The Faith of Donald J. Trump," which Hayes noted must be a short book.
Arguing that Donald Trump has been transformed while President into a God-fearing man, Brody maintained
You can Google it, Chris. I interviewed him in 2015 in August – excuse me, September of 2015 and he said he does ask God for forgiveness. He`s talk about that. Now, look, that`s his word. I mean, I`m not God –
So we (by which I mean I) "Googled it" and found something even more interesting than Brody's claim.
Two months earlier, In June of 2015, Trump famously appeared at a gathering featuring such organizations as the Family Research Council, Liberty University, and the National Organization For (opposite-sex) Marriage. Although at the reverse of an atheistic, secular, or theologically ambivalent group, when Trump was asked whether he ever asks for forgiveness for his actions he conceded
I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so," he said. "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't.
Three months later, in the interview (video, below) to which David Brody evidently was referring, Brody (at 6:10) asked Trump "Do you believe it is important to ask God for forgiveness?" The latter responded
Well, I do. I think it's great. I consider communion to be a very important thing. When I go to church and I take communion I consider that asking for forgiveness in my own way. I do think it's a great thing and I do think it's an important thing. It makes you feel good.
Brody's assertion thirty-one months later that "I interviewed him.... and he said he does ask God for forgiveness" is as inaccurate as possible without meeting the formal definition of a "lie." Donald Trump did not say that he asked for forgiveness for anything he says or does, let alone for specific statements or actions. He contended he is "asking for forgiveness in my own way."
There is no Christian- Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, or even unafilliated- who ever would qualify the assertion that she asks for forgivenss with the qualifying "in my own way." None. One does not ask for forgiveness in any special, unique way. She asks God for forgiveness- period. It may be for all of the sins she has committed, or for ones specified, but it is forgiveness from sin, and the objective is not to "make you feel good."
Prayer is an acknowledgment of sin, commonly accompanied by discomfort, which may itself be evidence of a repentent heart. Notwithstanding what the President believes, it reminds us of what we have done and is not intended to make the sinner feel good or to lay the groundwork for futher commission of sin. Christians would typically agree "the primary purpose of prayer is to change us! But either way, the chief objective remains the same: to glorify God in any and every situation."
David Brody knows this. He knows also that the purpose of communion is not to ask for forgiveness, but rather to "reflect on Christ's sacrifice and look forward to his return."
Aside from being unacquainted- understandably- of the ins and outs of the September, 2015 Brody/Trump chat, Chris Hayes conducted a very skillful interview. However, it is extraordinarily difficult to anticipate the twists and turns of an evangelical conservative's rationalization of the acts or statements of a Republican politician.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) (probably "Two Chronicles" to Trump), we learn
You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord.
Donald Trump does not seem to understand that this is the prayer God hears because, as we read here, "God wants to hear sincerity in our prayer, not vanity. As we pray, let's determine to stay steadfastly humble before the Lord."
Ironically, the author is Hannah Goodwyn writing on the website of the..... Christian Broadcasting Network.