Laying on hands: When Trump needs support, he calls on pastors, and they call on him

In May, Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist preacher from Texas perhaps best known for attacking Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, stood among a host of Christian ministers in the White House Blue Room and addressed President Trump.

“Mr. President, we’re going to be your most loyal friends,” Jeffress said then.

That prediction was accurate. At some of Trump’s lowest moments over the past few months, conservative religious leaders have materialized at the White House to literally lay hands on him in prayer.

The photos of these moments have a powerful resonance for many American Christians who are steeped in a fundamentalist form of the faith that is individualistic, populist and places a high value on outward forms of religiosity. Their faith practice is characterized by a fascination with emotional experience and with big, dramatic gestures and story lines. The extraordinary is…

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