President-Elect Donald Trump’s inaugural committee has chosen six notable clergy figures to pray during the 2017 inauguration on Jan. 20, including some who have been particularly outspoken about his proposed immigration policy. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Pastor Paula White, the Rev. Franklin Graham, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez are all set to give readings during the inaugural ceremony, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Jackson, pastor of Great Faith Ministries International Church in Detroit, and White, who leads a ministry in Florida, both lent their support to Trump during his campaign. Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham who now heads Samaritan’s Purse, has also advocated for Trump over the past year. But the three remaining clergy members haven’t necessarily been supporters of Trump during his campaign, but have still agreed to pray and spread hope for the future of the U.S. and its new leader.
Rodriguez, who runs the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, spoke out against Trump’s stance on immigration and proposal to build a wall across the U.S./Mexican border, along with several other issues that could negatively impact Hispanic Christians. While speaking about Trump during an NHCLC event in May, Rodriguez said he was “actually very opposed to [Trumps] rhetoric on most issues” specifically his “rhetoric on immigrants and immigration.”
“The NHCLC agrees with Donald Trump that the safety of the American people is a priority, but we are also very disappointed that his speech did not include practical solutions for the 11 million undocumented immigrations who call the United States their home — the people following our laws who are here to provide a better life for their families,” Rodriguez said at the time.
However, Rodriguez has seemingly changed in tune in regards to the incoming president following Trump’s interview with Time magazine, during which Trump said he was “going to work something out” for the “Dreamers,” or children of undocumented immigrants whose status have been temporarily blocked from deportation under President Barak Obama. Following an early December call with Trump, Rodriguez released a statement saying he was “impressed” and “maybe astonished” by “the accessibility and responsiveness of the president-elect and his senior team to our leaders within the Hispanic, Christian community.”
Dolan, the archbishop of New York and the most notable Catholic member in the U.S., has also disapproved of Trump’s plans for immigration, using Trump’s proposal as an example of nativism in a Washington Post op-ed in July 2015.
Following Trump’s comment to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., Heir, who founded human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, expressed his disdain for Trump’s stance on immigrants.
“Mr. Trump, by lumping all Muslims in the crosshairs of the terrorism crisis only hurts the legitimate campaigning against Islamist Fundamentalism and demeans law abiding American citizens. Such a policy would only serve to strengthen Isis recruitment around the world,” Heir wrote in a statement at the time.
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