Pastors Under Attack For Meeting With Trump To Discuss Anything

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Written by Ann Brown

 

Black pastors and Trump.

Many in the Black community don’t see the connection and have outright criticized the religious leaders who meet and deal with someone they consider bigoted. But the Black pastors are speaking out and saying they are working for the good of others, and it is a necessity to work with the president of the country.

“I was one of a group of Black faith leaders from inner cities who attended a meeting with President Trump at the White House Wednesday to talk about the importance of the church in building community – especially in the area of prison reform and workforce development for former prisoners,” Van Moody, founding pastor of Birmingham-based The Worship Center Christian Church and author of “Desired by God: Discover a Strong, Soul-Satisfying Relationship with God by Understanding Who He Is and How Much He Loves You,” told Fox News. “Unfortunately, the political and cultural climate in our country has plummeted to such a petty and disturbing place that I fully expected I might be attacked afterwards. Nevertheless, I accepted the invitation. I believe that the ability to help others who are marginalized, disenfranchised and voiceless is an important pursuit, and I remain committed to the cause of Christ beyond pettiness and politics.”

Pastor John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina; Darrell Scott, a pro-Trump pastor from Ohio; Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; and Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Maryland, along with Moody met with Trump.

Moody said he was surprised when he and the other pastors in the meeting were “attacked after this meeting – both in our churches, our local communities and from others nationally.”

Moody said he feels his statements were taken out of context and that people are not looking at the bigger picture.

“Much has been made about my thanking President Trump for ‘caring for all people.’ Some individuals have misconstrued that statement to conclude I was giving a blanket endorsement of everything the president has done. That was not the intent of my statement,” he said. “I am on record as disagreeing with President Trump, including on aspects of his immigration policy. However, I would happily hop on a plane to Washington again if I were invited to sit down and talk through other issues that will help the disenfranchised, marginalized and voiceless.”

Trump and the pastors discussed prison reform, in particular, his proposed First Step Act prison reform legislation. If adopted, it will expand incentives in federal prison to prepare men and women for the workforce after they are released.

“The bill would not reform or reduce how long people are sentenced to prison for, which has been the prime target of criminal justice reformers over the past few years. Instead, the bill focuses on rehabilitating people once they’re already in prison by incentivizing them, with the possibility of earlier release, to partake in rehabilitation programs,” Vox reported.

Pastor Gray said he is not pro-Trump and knew meeting the president would alienate some, but he had to attend as a means to an end. Gray told CBN News:

“My first mind was no. The pain of so many is too real. The hurt. The isolation. The sense of disenfranchisement. The real hate that has bubbled to the surface of the national discourse. I myself have been vocal about my personal disagreements with key policy decisions of this administration. I have everything to lose. Credibility. Reputation. Every natural inclination says stay home. Don’t get played. But I did the one thing I can’t shake: I prayed again and asked God, ‘Do You want me in that room?’ My attendance gives the answer. My heart was pure as was my motive and intention.”