Religious rhetoric is not uncommon on Capitol Hill, where politicians often thread references to the Almighty into speeches while participating in political theater. But in the drama-filled final week of President Trump’s impeachment trial, God was essentially a supporting character.
Senator Lindsey Graham said he used his God-given common sense to decide the impeachment case against President Trump was “BS.”
Senator Mitt Romney declared his faith compelled him to believe the president was guilty of an impeachable crime.
The President himself insisted that faith was a crutch used by his rivals — and admitted that following Jesus’s advice about “loving your enemies” was hard for him.
All three were part of a theological war of words over Trump’s impeachment that has been going on for months, with the commander-in-chief and his opponents invoking the divine and questioning each other’s faith.
Lawmakers from both parties — including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Georgia — quoted scripture in December to shore up their respective arguments regarding the impeachability of the president’s actions. The faith debate heated up days later when the editor of Christianity Today garnered a rebuke from the president for penning a bombshell editorial calling for Trump’s removal from office.
But the God talk escalated in earnest on Wednesday (Feb 5.), when Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cited his faith while explaining his decision to break with his party and vote to convict Trump of at least one offense.
“I am profoundly religious,” he said in explaining the decision. “My faith is at the heart of who I am.”
Romney’s remark and eventual vote triggered a heated reaction from Donald Trump when the president delivered a speech on Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual religious gathering in Washington, D.C.
“I don’t like people who use faith for justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Trump said in a reference to Romney.
The president would voice a similar critique a few hours later during an address at the White House. After celebrating his acquittal, he railed against lawmakers who supported his impeachment and removal from office, singling out Romney in particular.
“And then you have some that used religion as a crutch,” he said, noting that he was referring to a “failed presidential candidate” and suggesting that Romney had “never used” faith in political discourse in the past.
Romney has spoken about his faith often as a politician, and once delivered an entire speech on his religious beliefs while running for president in 2007. His office declined to comment on the president’s remarks.
Trump received backup on Thursday from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was asked about Romney during an appearance on “The Brian Kilmeade Show.”
“All I can tell you is that God gave us free will and common sense. I used the common sense God gave me to understand this was a bunch of BS,” Graham said. “They hate Trump, they were going to impeach him the day he got elected and if you can’t see through this, your religion is clouding your thinking here.”
He also doubted Trump’s impeachment would play a role in his pursuit of eternal salvation.
“When I go to meet God at the pearly gates, I don’t think he’s going to ask me, ‘Why didn’t you convict Trump?’ I may be wrong, but I don’t think that’s going to be at the top of the list,” Graham said.
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Source: Religion News Service