CLEVELAND — The theme of a united nation under Christian values was clear Thursday during the opening of the final night of the Republican convention with prominent Christians as the opening speakers.
“We are not here tonight to ask you to bless what you have designed. We are here to ask you to transform us,” Rev. Steve Bailey of North Coast United Methodist Church prayed in the invocation. He later added, “we will only be a great nation when we are a good nation.”
The stated theme of the final night of the Republican convention is “Make America One Again.” “In the pledge that we just cited we said that we are one nation under God,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in the first speech of the night.
Perkins spoke about the context of that phrase being added into the Pledge of Allegiance during “the existential threat” of the Cold War. He said “a lot has changed since then but the source of America’s hope and future has not.”
This source, according to Perkins, is “under God.” Jerry Falwell Jr, president of Liberty University, in a speech following Perkins echoed this sentiment. “We are at a crossroads were our first priority must be saving the nation.
During Falwell’s speech, the Clinton campaign sent out a press blast to reporters with the subject line: “[In Case You Missed It] – Christian Post (Editorial): Donald Trump Is a Scam. Evangelical Voters Should Back Away.”
Falwell’s speech was followed by fiery black pastor Mark Burns who spoke of uniting all Americans, including “yellow Americans” and “red Americans.” Burns led the crowd in an “All Lives Matter” chant after speaking of “race-baiting Democrats.
At one point he yelled out “together” five times before asking the crowd twice to shout “together!” He said that America will not be divided as “we are the United States of America.”