- The Washington Times - Monday, January 16, 2017

Leaders of a California church have come to the decision to stop praying for the president of the United States by name, because they say “Donald Trump” is a “trauma trigger” for some parishioners.

Mike Kinman, the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, said in a Jan. 6 open letter that the church is removing the names of all leaders from its prayers as a compromise to fulfill their duties as Episcopalians while also protecting the “vulnerable among us in this hour.”

“As Episcopalians, we pray for our leaders. It’s one of those things we do,” Mr. Kinman wrote. “If you come to All Saints this Sunday, you’ll notice that we have removed the proper names from our prayers for those in authority. Whereas before we prayed for ‘Barack, our president,’ we are now praying for ‘our president, our president-elect, and all others in authority.’ This practice will continue for at least the near future.

“We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people — particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety,” he wrote.

Mr. Kinman’s letter created a buzz on social media, prompting him to post a follow-up Friday further explaining the decision to protect church members, specifically illegal immigrants and “women who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of men.”

“We can agree that Jesus loves Donald Trump and that we all should pray for him,” he wrote. “And we also know that Jesus stands with and as those who are most marginalized, traumatized and abused. And so our job as a community is to be sensitive to the needs of those among us who are experiencing trauma — and to love one another into a place where we can all ‘feel freedom’ — in this case into a place where praying for Donald Trump by name doesn’t create a trauma reaction and compromise the safety of the worshipping community.

“That means not just saying ‘OK, we can’t handle it’ — but recognizing that the inability to pray for Donald Trump by name represents a continuing power that abusers are having over people,” he added. “Our job — and joy — as Christian community is to liberate one another from the continuing power of the abuser and help us get to a space where no abuser has power over us … where we can ‘forgive and feel freedom,’ and, in this case, where we can pray by name — and that prayer can be a source of strength, lamentation, love and resistance.”

The letter was picked up Monday by Fox News columnist Todd Starnes, who called Mr. Kinman a “pious punk” and his decision “liturgical lunacy.”

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