*The following is an editorial by Mark Shiver.
Rev. William Barber fancies himself a type of mouthpiece for morality.
With his ever-present clerical collar, he plots civil disobedience and engages with his followers on the Left about what he characterizes as the immorality of Republican-led policies and legislation.
And, he verbally chastises those in ministry who would dare to pray for the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
He is completely wrong.
In an appearance on MSNBC this past Saturday, Barber said that those who pray for Trump are committing a sin.
Barber said, “When you can pray for a president and others while they are preying on the most vulnerable, you are violating the most sacred principles of religion.”
He also said church and ministry leaders who recently “laid hands on” Trump and prayed for him had committed “theological malpractice.”
If quoting Scripture accurately were truly a goal of Barber’s, he would have commended those who prayed for the President, as the apostle Paul wrote that we should pray, “for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
Barber should join with those calling for people of faith to pray for Trump and others in positions of leadership, political and otherwise, rather than criticizing those who would follow the clear exhortation of the apostle Paul.
“You know there’s a text in Amos chapter two that says this is what religious and moral hypocrisy looks like when a nation of political leaders will buy and sell upstanding people,” Barber said. “When they will do anything to make money. When they will sell the poor for a pair of shoes. When they will grind the penniless into the dirt and shove the luckless into a ditch, and extort from the poor. That’s an actual text.”
It is unclear to what Barber is referring, when the United States government has spent and will spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to help the poor and less fortunate.
The “grinding of the penniless” has more accurately occurred at the hands of those like Barber who would keep their constituents dependent on the government, never able to rise to their potential because they are corralled by programs intended to dissuade advancement and personal success.
Scripture also speaks of the church helping the poor, one’s fellow man stooping to lift the downcast. It does not speak to growing government in the name of helping those less fortunate.
Barber went on to call the proposed Senate Republican healthcare plan, “a transfer of wealth to the greedy.” Barber may find in the company of many conservatives and people of faith who disagree with the proposed healthcare plan, but for different reasons. It is an expansion of government interference in the lives of hard-working citizens, and could likely end up morphing into single-payer, nationalized healthcare, something Barber would ultimately welcome.
Barber’s ranting about hypocrisy among Republicans is laughable. Again, his view of government dependence versus freedom is completely without Scriptural foundation. Enslaving the poor comes from the very government he wishes to grow. Occupational licensing and other regulations keep the very downtrodden he claims to represent out of opportunities to start a business and break free from the chains of government dependence.
Rev. Barber would best serve those who ascribe to his words by using Scripture correctly, instead of as a hammer with which to strike a blow against smaller government and free markets. And, he most definitely should be leading the movement to pray for Trump and our nation’s leaders, that they would have wisdom and courage to make decisions that are in the best interest of American citizens.