A Christian pastor who will be among the faith leaders at Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as the next president is being flooded with messages of “very strong” hate, but says he’s unfazed by the vicious comments.
“Some are very, very strong in their emotions about me doing this,” Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, who leads Great Faith Ministries International in Detroit, told TMZ. “I’ve been called a sell-out.”
“Any time you’re in the forefront, you’re gonna be a target. But you gotta make sure that your convictions of why you’re doing it are pure,” he added.
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Jackson, who will be doing the benediction during the inaugural, explained his purpose for being there:
“My job is a job to represent, first of all, the Bible, the followings and the teachings of Jesus Christ. It’s not about Democrats; it’s not about Republicans. It’s about making sure that I do what Jesus says. And that is that we’re supposed to love everyone. That’s the message Jesus brought. And my position as a minister to be asked to pray at the highest ceremony of our country – it gets no higher than that – I do what I do because I’m called to do it.
“It’s two minutes, and we’re going to be praying for unity in our nation, praying for our president and also the vice president that God would give them wisdom to lead this country. It’s not over for America. America has a great future ahead of her.”
Watch video of Bishop Wayne T. Jackson’s remarks:
Trump spoke in person at Jackson’s Michigan church in September, drawing protests and fire from other black pastors.
But Jackson defended his hosting of the Republican candidate, telling the Detroit Free Press: “It’s not about being a Judas to my people. I love my people. I feel that we should be better off than what we are. This is not an endorsement. This is engagement, for him to tell us what he wants to do.”
Also taking part in Trump’s swearing-in Friday will be Rev. Franklin Graham, son of America’s most popular preacher, Rev. Billy Graham; Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York; Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Paula White, pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida; and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
“Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people,” inaugural committee Chairman Tom Barrack said in a statement.
“I am pleased to announce that a diverse set of faith leaders will offer readings and prayers at the swearing-in of President-elect Trump and honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.”
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