Evangelical Christians have unprecedented access to President Donald Trump’s White House and are “on speed dial” with the administration, according to an activist who prayed over the president in the Oval Office.
The evangelical community overwhelmingly backed the Republican in November’s election, and Trump has been quick to repay it. The president has signed an executive order on religious liberty and cut funding to abortion providers overseas.
Now, it appears that the president is rewarding one of his most important support bases with a hotline to the White House and some of the most senior officials in the administration.
A photo emerged last week of a meeting between over 20 evangelical leaders and Trump, along with Vice-President Mike Pence, in the Oval Office. In the photo, Trump has his head bowed and several people have placed their hands on him in prayer; Pence is pictured with his eyes close, presumably praying.
Johnnie Moore, a Christian businessman and activist based in California, took the photo. Moore tells Newsweek that the occasion was an impromptu “time among friends” and that evangelicals feels like they can raise their concerns at the highest level in this administration—a contrast to the situation under former President Barack Obama.
“I couldn’t get the Obama administration to do anything. They denied a visa to an Iraqi nun that was petitioned to testify in front of our Congress, and I took it all up the chain to the State Department. It was a fight every step of the way and the White House was trying to block it and it was just crazy,” says Moore, a former senior vice president for communications at Liberty University, the largest evangelical Christian college in the U.S. and the venue for a commencement speech by President Trump in May.
(The nun in question was Diana Momeka, whose visa to testify before a congressional hearing on the persecution of religious minorities by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) was initially denied by the State Department in 2015, but was later granted.)
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SOURCE: Newsweek, Conor Gaffey