By Will Hall, Message Executive Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C. (LBM)—While declaring “we are in a fight” because “certain religions are under siege” President Trump took time to honor Pastor Gerald Toussaint of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church which was one of three St. Landry Parish church campuses torched in 2019 by an anti-Baptist arsonist.
Recognizing the debt America owes “our nation’s African-American churches,” the president said Toussaint “embodies the miracle of faith and the power of prayer.”
Recalling the “fires set by a wicked hate-filled arsonist,” Trump said despite “such shocking evil” our country “witnessed the unshakeable unity, devotion and spirit of Rev. Toussaint and his entire, highly spirited beautiful congregation.”
“On Easter Sunday, just days after he lost his church, Rev. Toussaint preached about what it all meant,” the president continued. “The Easter season, he said, is a fitting metaphor for recent events. It was dark the day that Jesus was crucified. It was dark at night when they burned our church. What has happened since is like a resurrection.”
Trump added his encouragement to Pastor Troussaint, saying, “Old things are gone, but it’s going to be a brand-new start, and it’s going to be better than ever, reverend.”
President Trump also touted the religious heritage of our country as well as the progress his administration has led in a number of areas of religious liberty. But he also used the event as an opportunity to comment about the just completed impeachment process, thanking “the courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, the fortitude, and strength to do what everyone knows was right.”
But he also expressed disappointment in “people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong” (an apparent reference to Sen. Mitt Romney who invoked God’s will in justifying his vote to convict the president). He also added that he did not appreciate “people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that that’s not so” (referring to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s remarks during the impeachment proceedings in the House).
Regardless, he acknowledged that everyone gathered in the audience of an estimated 3,500 or more persons, including leaders from 140 or so countries, affirmed three “timeless truths”: “Faith keeps us free. Prayer makes us strong. And God alone is the author of life and the giver of grace.”
“This morning, let us ask Father in Heaven to guide our steps, protect our children, and bless our families, President Trump said in closing. “And with all of our heart, let us forever embrace the eternal truth that every child is made equal by the hand of Almighty God. Thank you. God Bless you. And God bless America.”