Televangelist Kenneth Copeland claims his prayers for Donald Trump at a meeting with televangelists last month was not an endorsement.
At the meeting, Copeland laid hands on the candidate and prayed:
No man can be successful as president of the United States without Your wisdom. And so we ask You today to give this man Your wisdom, boldly. Make sure and certain that he hears. Manifest Yourself to him. And we thank You and praise You for a bold man, a strong man and an obedient man.
Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor at Charisma magazine, which covers and features the writing of charismatic Christians and Pentecostals, including Copeland, writes that her Facebook page was filled with concerned and even “downright nasty” comments about the possibility that Copeland had endorsed Trump. She offered a sampling of commenters skeptical of Trump’s Christian bona fides:
“I wonder why they are only laying hands and praying for Donald Trump, but not trying to lay hands on Ben Carson. Who is a born again spirit filled Christian? Hmmm… ?” asked Ashlee Green.
“Kenneth Copeland, I think you need to take a step back. Before you pray for God’s blessings on Donald, I think you better be praying for God’s conviction to come on him. Why are you counting him as a ‘brother’ when he hasn’t accepted God yet? Donald has stated, ‘Why do I need to repent? I haven’t done anything wrong.’ He’s very proudful,” wrote Melody Nivens.
“This is a trick to get the Christian vote just like Obama!” argued Chira Johnson.
Copeland protests that his prayer was not an endorsement. A statement on his website says his and his wife’s Gloria’s “attendance at this meeting does not mean that they are endorsing Trump. Brother Copeland is willing to pray with any candidate that asks for prayer, no matter what the party affiliation. This is according to I Timothy 2:1 & 2.”
While the rest of the world gawked at the spectacle of scandal-plagued prosperity preachers laying hands on a leading presidential candidate, Copeland’s fans saw something else: one of their most admired men of God approving of a candidate with questionable religious cred, one that might be deceiving voters of his Christianity just like (horrors!) Obama.