Did Melania Trump's invocation of the Lord's prayer violate the separation of church and state?

Melania Trump’s Lord’s Prayer Speech: Was Trump’s Wife’s Religion Quote Illegal?

Did Melania Trump’s invocation of The Lord’s Prayer at a Florida campaign rally violate the separation of church and state? And what is Melania’s religion? These, and other questions, have been raised by the event, and the Inquisitr is here to help separate the facts from the hype.

The Context

As Fox News Insider reports, Melania and Donald went to Melbourne, Florida on Monday to hold a rally for his supporters. Melania was with him, and before the ceremonies got started, Melania invoked The Lord’s Prayer, which she read from a piece of paper.

For those readers who may not be particularly religious, “The Lord’s Prayer,” as it’s been called in English for centuries, comes directly from The Bible. Specifically, it comes directly from the pages of the New Testament, Luke 11. Jesus teaches his followers how to pray, and this is the example he gives (from the King James Version):

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”

Christian tradition in the English-speaking world has added a couple of sentences and moved around some of the wording, but the general gist of The Lord’s Prayer has been the same, in English-speaking Christendom, for centuries.

So What Is Melania Trump’s Religion

That Melania Trump would recite a centuries-old Christian prayer before an event is a pretty good indication that she’s a Christian, at least culturally. But of course, Christianity is filled with varying denominations and sects, so just saying that she’s probably a Christian doesn’t tell the whole story.

Born April 26, 1970, in what was then part of Communist Yugoslavia, Melania hails from a region that is now its own independent nation: Slovenia. And according to Slovenia’s own website, the majority of the country’s Christians (almost 58 percent) are Roman Catholic.

Melania Trump's Lord's Prayer Invocation raised controversy.
The majority of Slovenia’s Christians are Catholic. [Image by ViktorCap/ThinkStock]

For her part, Melania appears to have kept the specifics of her personal religious practices to herself, so speculating as to her religion, at this point, is futile. Melania’s personal religion will, for the time being, have to remain just that: something that is hers personally.

Did Melania’s Lord’s Prayer Invocation Violate The Separation Of Church And State?

The invocation of the Lord’s Prayer by the First Lady of the United States has caused controversy, to put it mildly. But was it a violation of the law?

As Israeli English-language newspaper Haaretz reports, the answer is: probably not. Specifically, writer Alexander Griffing notes that for American presidents, and their families, public displays of religious faith are par for the course.

“Concern that her prayer somehow shows a new joining together of church and state in the Trump administration is unfounded… U.S. presidents have often and openly offered Christian prayers while in office, and never mind their wives, who are not officially elected members of government.”

Further, Trump’s predecessor in the Oval Office, Barack Obama, himself also led public prayers during his administration.

“President Barack Obama prayed every day, his White House advertised, and offered prayers in public, including this past July at the memorial service for police officers slain in Dallas, Texas. Obama also quoted scripture and offered a prayer every year in office at the National Prayer Breakfast.”

Needless to say, Melania Trump’s invocation of The Lord’s prayer may have rubbed some observers the wrong way, and it gives little indication as to her religion, but it was neither a crime nor even a cultural or political faux pas.

[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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