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PASADENA, CA: Episcopal Parish Won't Pray for President by Name

PASADENA, CA: Episcopal Parish Won't Pray for President by Name

By Jeff Walton
January 10, 2017

Citing "an active danger to health and safety" a California Episcopal parish has ceased to pray for the President of the United States by name.

Episcopalians and other Anglicans regularly pray for their bishops and others in authority during the course of a normal Sunday liturgy, including the President of the United States. It is also common to pray, by name, for the President-elect during the window of time between the election and the inauguration.

Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, blogged this week:

"If you come to All Saints this Sunday, you'll notice that we have removed the proper names from our prayers for those in authority. Whereas before we prayed for "Barack, our president," we are now praying for "our president, our president-elect, and all others in authority." This practice will continue for at least the near future.

We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people -- particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety."

Kinman goes on to explain that the election of Donald Trump to be President of the United States "presents a challenge":

"We are rightly charged with praying for our leaders ... but we are also charged with keeping the worshipping community, while certainly not challenge-free, a place of safety from harm. As I have said before, for some it could be as if we demanded a battered woman pray for her abuser by name. It's not that the abuser doesn't need prayer -- certainly the opposite -- but prayer should never be a trauma-causing act.

The question is -- does saying the president's name in prayer in this way compromise the safety of the worshipping community? Let me be clear that I believe this is a high bar ... much more than "I disagree with the president" or even "the president deeply offends me." This is the level of compromising the safety of the worshipping community."

All Saints Pasadena is legendary as a hotbed of radicalism, but this is over-the-top even for them. The parish's activism has alternated between alarming and silly: In 2012 All Saints' made news by hosting an Islamist Convention, months later hosting another event promoted with then-Rector Ed Bacon dancing to stop violence. In 2015, an associate priest on staff at the church serving as vice-chair of the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advocacy Board praised employees of the abortion provider for "doing God's work."

While the congregation has, over the decades, carved out a reputation as among the most newsworthy of activist churches, the new policy of refusing to name Donald Trump when they pray lest people are triggered is a new achievement.


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