Donald Trump attacks Pelosi and Romney at National Prayer Breakfast

President Donald Trump holds up USA TODAY front page at the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Feb. 6, 2020.

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Prayer is a spiritual discipline. In the Christian tradition, spiritual disciplines take the focus off us and put it on God and others. They are practices that relieve us of our narcissism.

The National Prayer Breakfast is a bipartisan event. It brings politicians and religious leaders together to seek common ground through a shared faith.

While the breakfast is not without its problems, as we saw in the recent Netflix documentary “The Family,” it is the closest Washington comes each year to laying aside political bickering and seeking something akin to what Jesus called for in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 when he prayed that his followers would be “brought to complete unity.”

But President Donald Trump showed at the Thursday morning breakfast that he lacks the spiritual compass and moral understanding to rise to such an occasion.

Gloating and contempt

It was the second squandered opportunity this week. In his State of the Union performance Tuesday night, speaking from the floor of Congress, Trump could have tried to heal the country amid a divisive impeachment trial. Instead he turned this annual sermon of American civil religion into an extended campaign advertisement.



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