Finding the faith angle in Tuesday night’s first of three presidential debates has been a bit of a challenge. There is one story, though, that attracted some attention on social media — because that’s where it happened.
At the height of the often contentious contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, it appears a Hillsong Church staffer forgot to logout of the megachurch’s official Twitter account.
“Can’t they just mute Trump’s microphone!!” read the since-deleted tweet. “He is coming across as such a bully. No respect for him sorry.”
The post, published during the latter half of the 90-minute debate between Biden and Trump, was soon erased, but not before other social media users took screenshots of the tweet. The internet is forever, they say.
A little over an hour later, Hillsong apologized for the mishap.
The Australian-based charismatic church said a staff member “accidentally posted on this account personal comments about the US presidential debate.”
“Hillsong does not comment on partisan politics [and] apologizes,” the statement continued. “These comments do not represent the views of Hillsong Church.”
Christian actor and conservative commentator Candace Cameron Bure, known for her role in Netflix’s “Fuller House,” responded to the apology. “Oooof,” she wrote.
Other Twitter users were quick to rebuke Hillsong — not for the initial post, but for the megachurch’s apology.
“Y’all are spineless cowards,” wrote one respondent, pointing out the fact that Hillsong’s founding pastor, Brian Houston, has visited the White House, where the preacher said he prayed for Trump.
Another commented: “If you can’t name evil for what it is because you’re afraid of offending members who are complicit in that evil, you’ve lost the plot of the gospel.”
Lisa Sharon Harper, a Christian writer and progressive advocate who supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for president, rebuked Hillsong Church for apologizing for the erroneous tweet. She went on to call Trump an “abuser.”
“Trump was an abuser in this debate,” she wrote. “He abused the moderator, [former Vice President Joe Biden], the process and the American people. Silence is complicity. So, are you actually siding with America’s abuser?”