In the days after Donald Trump’s surprise election in 2016, conservative evangelical Christians made clear their high expectations for the president they had helped put into office.
Has Trump met those expectations?
“When it comes to his very strong statements on life, on support for Israel, on the Iran nuclear deal, on religious freedom and on judges, we fully expect him to keep his pledge … to the American people,” Faith and Freedom Coalition founder and chairman Ralph Reed said at the time.
Fully 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump.
Here’s a look at how he fared on some of the issues they most care about in his first year of office.
EVANGELICALS IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Just this week, the Senate narrowly approved Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Catholic, as U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom.
Brownback shares conservative evangelicals’ views on same-sex marriage and abortion. And he’s one of many high-ranking evangelicals in the Trump administration: Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Vice President Mike Pence are just a few with evangelical bona fides.
Other evangelical religious leaders have reveled in their “unprecedented” accessto the White House, including dinners in the Blue Room, prayer sessions in the Oval Office and daylong listening sessions at the next-door Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
THE JOHNSON AMENDMENT
“I will get rid of, totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear,” Trump announced at his first National Prayer Breakfast.
One executive order and a proposed provision of the tax reform bill later, not much has changed practically. But some evangelicals still point to Trump’s actions on the issue as further proof that he is listening to them.
Trump’s order directed the IRS not to enforce the Johnson Amendment, which prevents pastors and churches from endorsing a candidate from the pulpit without potentially losing their tax-exempt status. But since the IRS only has investigated a handful of churches in recent decades, and only one has lost its nonprofit status, one legal expert said it amounts to “pretty much nothing.”
Only Congress has the authority to repeal the amendment. And while the House’s version of the Republican tax bill lifted the restrictions for houses of worship and all nonprofits, it didn’t make the final cut.
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEES
After calling for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., Trump has signed executive orders temporarily suspending the refugees program, banning Syrian refugees and restricting travel to the U.S. from several predominantly Muslim countries and giving preference to refugees claiming religious persecution. He confirmed to CBN News he saw persecuted Christians as a priority.
Those orders have met with mixed reviews from the courts, as well as from conservative Christians, many of whom are involved in refugee resettlement through faith-based agencies including World Relief, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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Source: Christian Headlines