Mauchese Franklin: “Trump in Prayer”

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Religious experiences are interactions between the divine and human beings, which seem to take hold of the individual who is having the experience. However, these experiences are not limited to individuals, groups of people can create such an experience. This can occur when a group is praying or even during a sermon at church, where some may feel enlightened and compelled by divine forces to express their praise for such. During a stop on Mr. Trump’s campaign trail, he met with a group of Christians and Jews to discuss policy, but sometime during the meeting the group decided to pray. Mr. Trump is seen in a video holding a Bible and is surrounded by the group. Members of the group are seen touching each other’s shoulders, to strengthen the connection they have with God, while one can hear the sporadic quiet murmurs of praise. Half way through the video a man reaches his hand out to place on Mr. Trump’s head and begins to speak in foreign language and transitions into English to finish off his prayer. Many people raise their hands, to be filled with God’s presence during the prayer session, but at the end many people say amen and clap to express their gratitude and hopefulness that God will lead Mr. Trump.

Trump’s meeting and prayer with the group of people is what can be considered a religious experience. The environment and actions that took place during this meeting created such a thing. In Daniel Pals book, Introducing Religion, an excerpt was written by William James called the Testimony of Religious Experience, to provide a generalization about the enigma of the religious experience. James describes these experiences as mystical and provides four marks of this mysticism. In the case of Mr. Trump’s prayer session one mark of the religious experience was Noetic quality; which is described as a feeling of enlightenment and novel knowledge that “God” bestowed upon that individual. Prayers are a form of a request to God and essentially the group was requesting that Mr. Trump be bestowed with knowledge to lead the United States. James describes noetic quality as, “ Insights into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance” ( Pals 189) which would benefit Mr. Trump significantly if these aspects of the religious experience were valid. James also writes about passivity of religious experiences and “the oncoming of mystical states may be facilitated by preliminary voluntary actions, as by fixing the attention, or going through certain bodily performances” ( Pals 190) which can be seen by the touching of shoulders and raising of hands. These things are meant to grasp the effects of praise, to guide Mr. Trump. The actions are meant to contribute to Mr. Trump’s enlightenment and wisdom from God. The video shows how religious experiences can influence our policy makers. The fact that Mr. Trump had this encounter with Christians and Jews shows his commitment to the two religious sects. This can be a problem for Muslims and other religious groups because it seems to be conflicting with American core values of being a secular nation. If Mr. Trump wants to be considered, a more inclusive president he should have met with other religious groups. It is disheartening that he would not do such an act of worship with other religious groups, but it could be contradictory if he did such a thing. Never the less I hope Mr. Trump is granted with the wisdom and clout from God.


Link to video:


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