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All the president’s clergymen: A close look at Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ ties wi …

Jared Kushner, middle left, senior adviser to the president, stops by a White House listening session with pastor Paula White, middle right, and other evangelical leaders, hosted by the Office of Public Liaison on July 27, 2017. Others present include Johnnie Moore, Jennifer Korn, Ronnie Floyd, Mac Brunson, Jack Graham, Greg Laurie and Skip Heitzig. Photo courtesy of Johnnie Moore

WASHINGTON (RNS) — The invitation was unexpected. Would any of the preachers and pastors and other religious leaders, who had come to hear the administration’s views on issues they cared about, like to meet the POTUS in person?

A number of them fumbled with their iPhones to get them selfie-ready as they made their way to the Oval Office. And when they filed in, President Trump greeted them warmly.

“Now this is a group that has the real power,” he said. “They have influence with God.”


RELATED: Conservative evangelicals revel in their ‘unprecedented’ presidential access


A little while later the crowd gathered round the president. Some laid a hand on him for a prayer that led the participant recalling the episode, Tony Suarez, to feel as though “the anointing of the Holy Spirit was in that room.”

Among those standing nearest the president were Florida prosperity gospel preacher Paula White; Tim Clinton, head of a national Christian counseling association; and South African-born TV evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, who is known for leading raucous worship services at his megachurch in Tampa, Fla.

“I remember being overwhelmed,” said Suarez, who is executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “It was a very spiritual moment.”

Trump’s close ties with this group of conservative Christian religious leaders is, by all accounts, unprecedented. They come after he was elected president with 81 percent of the white evangelical vote — a higher share than cast ballots for Mitt Romney, John McCain or George W. Bush.

Since inauguration, there have been meetings, dinners, photo ops and conference calls, according to participants. And there have been countless other encounters, including some at prayer events and signing ceremonies and a concert at the Kennedy Center.

On Sept. 1, some from the group were back in the Oval Office as the president declared a National Day of Prayer for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Texas pastor Robert Jeffress led another laying-of-hands benediction that cast Trump as a national savior.


RELATED: All the president’s clergymen: The issues


“Father, I thank you that we have a president … who believes in the power of prayer,” he said. “This country has been bitterly divided for decades upon decades, and now you have given us a gift, President Donald Trump.”

Evangelical leaders in the Oval Office thank President Trump for declaring a day of prayer for Harvey Hurricane victims

“When someone like Robert Jeffress or Jerry Falwell Jr. says ‘This is the most faith-friendly president we’ve ever had,’ in some ways they’re right,” said John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. “No other group of evangelical pastors has had such access.”

And unlike the business advisory councils that disbanded over the president’s response to violence by white supremacists last month in Charlottesville, Va., the evangelicals are still standing by him.

Extensive interviews with key participants — as well as public statements and photos — reveal that a cadre of conservative Christian religious leaders — mostly white and male (with notable exceptions such as White and Suarez) — has the ear of the politically powerful on matters of national priority, from judicial appointments to immigration and criminal justice reform.

President Trump meets with faith leaders inside the Oval Office on July 10, 2017. Photo by Mark Burns

And while presidents before have consulted with spiritual advisers — evangelist Billy Graham is the best-known example — the current group’s members certainly appear to care not only about Trump’s own spiritual well-being, but also have concrete views about a range of issues and make no secret of wanting policy changes.


RELATED: All the president’s clergymen: The key players


 

But exactly how much influence they wield — and whether they benefit from the association — is a matter of conjecture and debate.


July 10 meetings and prayer in Oval Office

About 30 evangelical pastors and heads of Christian organizations attended six hours of meetings July 10 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where most White House staff members have offices. Afterward, the religious leaders were invited to the Oval Office, where they prayed for Trump.

Hover over the photo below to see some of the people who were there, and click on the Twitter icon to see tweets shared from the event.


Just like alumni?

In June 2016, in the midst of the presidential campaign, Trump formed an evangelical executive advisory board after meeting with some 1,000 conservative Christians in New York.

That board, with around 25 members including Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land, was dissolved when he became president. But while the current group includes some of the same names, it has no formal status.

“It’s sort of an influential informal coalition of evangelical leaders that has a special relationship with the White House,” said Johnnie Moore, a minister and public relations consultant who serves as an unofficial spokesman for the group.


RELATED: Trump’s evangelical advisers discussed transgender ban at White House meeting


“It’s like being an alumni of a school, and so you’re no longer a student at the school but you continue to get together with your friends and people and you care about the same things. And you meet and you might interact with the school as alumni of the school,” Moore added. “You don’t work for the school. You don’t have any formal association with the school.”

Frank Page, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, attended one of the main meetings, on July 10 at a building that houses offices of White House staff. But he isn’t even sure of his own status.

“I don’t know if I’m actually a part or not,” he said. “I have not seen anything codified.”

While some who have attended events, including Franklin Graham, have referred to a “faith council,” Jeffress, the Dallas pastor, rejected the term. That would come with “certain legal ramifications,” he said.

Which is true. Sunshine laws such as the Federal Advisory Committee Act establish procedural and transparency standards for “any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group” established to advise members of the executive branch.

Asked about its links to the group and its members, the White House declined to provide specifics of meetings or contacts.

And a number of individuals who are known to be part of the group said through spokespersons that they were unavailable for interviews for this story — including White, the Florida preacher whom many described as one of the key leaders of the group; radio hosts Dobson and Eric Metaxas; and Franklin Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association named after his father.

But participants who did respond confirmed that most of the group, estimated to be at least 50 people, got together on July 10 for extended sessions at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.

“It was a day hearing reports from various administration personnel and, yes, seeking advice from evangelicals as to what we cared about, what mattered, what issues were on our hearts,” said Page. “So it was both a reporting and speaking gathering.”

Moore said a number of lower-level White House staff attended the meeting, and he described them as “taking prolific notes and those notes being delivered as memos, is what we’re told, to the various departments.”

As for the high-level officials, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser to the president, was there “in a listening capacity,” according to Suarez. 

Kushner also got up and spoke, said Mark Burns, CEO of The NOW Television Network in Easley, S.C. “And then, of course, right after Jared leaves, he comes back with” Vice President Mike Pence.

Pastor Mark Burns’ family with candidate Trump. Photo by Gene Ho Photography

“No one there really thought that we would be contacted by the vice president or the president but the vice president came in and gave us a brief word,” said another former SBC president who was there, Ronnie Floyd. “He just gave us a kind word and said, ‘Hey, the president heard that you guys are working over here, wanted to come by and tell you thank you and he would love for you to come to the Oval Office.’”

That prayer session that ensued was a particular point of pride for Burns.

“Matter of fact, if you see the picture of that circulating, I think my hand is the only African-American hand that you see in the picture,” he said, adding that he’d been to the Trump White House “a handful of times.”

The day of meetings at the Eisenhower Building and the Oval Office followed a much-tweeted dinner in the White House Blue Room on May 3, on the eve of the National Day of Prayer, when a handful of evangelical leaders were pictured standing behind the president along with leaders of several other faiths as he signed an executive order about religious liberty.

Jeffress characterized the dinner as a “thank you” to the campaign’s evangelical advisory board.

Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks during a dinner with religious leaders on May 3, 2017, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

On July 27, some from the group met again at the White House, the visitors this time consisting of what Jordan Easley, pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., called the “Faith Leadership Initiative.

Moore said there have also been conference calls “every few weeks.” And in-person meetings involving some of the key players appear to have taken place on the margins of other events — such as the National Prayer Breakfast and the July 1 “Celebrate Freedom” concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, co-sponsored by Jeffress’ church, First Baptist Dallas.

“There are more meetings now than there were during the campaign,” said Suarez, though he wasn’t able to participate as much then because his wife was battling a cancer that took her life.

Pentecostal preacher Harry Jackson said he’s had as many as a dozen meetings with Trump, Kushner and others since the inauguration.

Bishop Harry Jackson of Maryland speaks at the unveiling of the “Justice Declaration,” a statement by Christian leaders on criminal justice, in Washington, D.C., on June 20, 2017. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

“My experience is I’ve had more access with these guys than I did under Bush and other GOP leadership,” Jackson said, referring to President George W. Bush’s administration.

Jeffress argues that there’s “nothing unusual” about evangelical leaders meeting at the White House. He believes they are not the only group being consulted in this way.

If that’s true, maybe the other groups haven’t posted about it on social media as prolifically. But it’s certainly not the case with mainline or progressive Christians.  

“I’d absolutely say we’re frozen out,” said Steven Martin, the communications director for the National Council of Churches, a group that includes mainline Protestant, Orthodox and historically black denominations.

Muslim and Sikh groups have also reported little or no contact.

RNS asked the White House whether similar forums exist to consult with leaders of other faiths. A White House spokesman replied with a statement saying that the president and his staff’s participation in events such as the National Prayer Breakfast and a Passover seder dinner is “showing his commitment to the faith community.”

The statement cast the issue in general terms.

“The Trump Administration looks forward to creating our own initiatives to continue our work with communities of faith,” it said. “The White House continues to invite different faith leaders on an ongoing basis, like we do with all groups, for meetings and briefings to talk about a variety of issues important to them.”


May 3 dinner before National Day of Prayer

A number of prominent evangelicals gathered for dinner May 3 in the Blue Room of the White House. Jeffress characterized this as a “thank you” to members of the Trump campaign’s disbanded evangelical advisory board, though some who tweeted photos from the event, including Franklin Graham and Metaxas, had not been members of that board.

Hover over the photo below to see some of the people who were there, and click on the Twitter icon to see tweets shared from the event. 


Charlottesville

Whatever the group’s status, A.R. Bernard, a black megachurch pastor in Brooklyn, left it after the president said there were “fine people on both sides” of the conflict in Charlottesville.

But Jeffress stayed on, saying he agreed with the president.

“President Trump said exactly the right thing in exactly the right way in his comments on Charlottesville,” he said.

Suarez, the Hispanic pastor, said he’d received a thousand phone calls and emails over the issue.

“I think there’s this perception that we’re just the amen corner to President Trump. This is a group made up of people with pastoral hearts that will share praise, they’ll share inspiration in the sense that they’ll pray with the president, they’ll share Scripture with the president, but they’ll also share concern,” he said.

Suarez cites Scripture to explain how he could work with a man who has hardly been seen as a paragon of moral virtue, especially in the way he has dealt with and spoken about women.

In the Book of Samuel, the prophet Nathan confronts King David over his seduction of Bathsheba, the wife of a top general he got rid of by deliberately sending him on a fatally doomed military mission, Suarez recalled.

“I don’t see Nathan saying, ‘Oh, you slept with Bathsheba? We’re done, bud. We’re done with you.’ But I do see him call (David) out and say, ‘Thou art the man.’”


July 27 meetings

On July 27, evangelical leaders again gathered for meetings in Washington, D.C., though these seem to have been shorter and more pointed than the daylong meetings earlier in the month.

Hover over the photo below to see some of the people who were there, and click on the Twitter icon to see tweets shared from the event.


A short list of accomplishments

The hope is that they can influence key policies. And the meetings with White House officials have covered a range of issues, including health care, taxes, religious liberty and judicial appointments, according to participants.

In small ways, evangelical advisers seem to be having some influence. Several said they had a hand in Trump’s nomination of Sam Brownback to be religious freedom ambassador, and it’s believed they also applied pressure to ensure that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson kept a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, despite cuts at the department.

But given the amount of access they’ve had, the list of accomplishments is relatively short.

Some accounts say that at the July 10 meeting, one of the subjects that came up was a transgender ban on soldiers in the military, which the president announced two weeks later. One of those present, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, later told The New York Times that he pressed Trump about it for months.

But Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors, who was also at the July 10 meeting, disputes that evangelicals pushed for the ban.

Tobin Grant, a political scientist at Southern Illinois University, says that with a few exceptions — such as Land, former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, and Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition who now runs an organization called the Faith & Freedom Coalition — these evangelicals are pastors, not political operatives.

“They tend to be people who are not involved in politics or policy,” he said. “They’re newbies on this.”

The evangelical advisers were also not known to have been involved in picking Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, though they backed the choice. Trump publicly thanked the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation for help with that nomination.

They are, however, pushing for socially conservative judicial appointments — an issue of critical importance to evangelicals who would like to see the courts reverse abortion rights and LGBT protections while carving out religious liberty exemptions.

And they also support a repeal of the Johnson Amendment, the law — which the president has promised to “destroy” — that prohibits tax-exempt churches from endorsing political candidates.

Dream come true

What is beyond doubt is that the access evangelicals are getting to Trump and his advisers has been a dream come true.

Since the late 1970s, conservative evangelicals have wanted to influence the direction of the country through politics. Groups such as the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition were set up to accomplish just this.

The idea was to get Christians elected to every level of government, from school boards to statehouses. At the same time, leaders such as Reed and Jerry Falwell Sr. never hid their desire to bring change through the election of a president who could elevate and enshrine conservative Christian values on issues such as school prayer, abortion, marriage and gay rights.

John Fea teaches American history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Photo courtesy of John Fea

Fea, the Messiah College historian, calls this “the playbook,” and he says it’s as operative today as it was 40 years ago.

Of course, modern presidents before Trump have surrounded themselves with people who prayed with them or provided them spiritual guidance.

George W. Bush notably created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The office, located on Jackson Place near the White House, allowed for federally funded partnerships between the government and faith-based groups for the delivery of social services, such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation or after-school programs.

But before President Obama, no modern-day president asked religious advisers to play roles in recommending policy, said Melissa Rogers, former special assistant to Obama and director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Obama was the first president to create a faith-based advisory council. During his eight years in office he appointed three such councils consisting of 20-25 members that met for about a year and were tasked with studying particular issues, including human trafficking, poverty and interreligious cooperation.

The councils were diverse; they included members of Baha’i, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Native American, Orthodox Christian and Sikh faiths.

But Obama met with each faith-based advisory council only twice, first when they were appointed and second when they concluded their work.

And critically, Rogers said, the Obama faith-based councils held public meetings, produced public reports and were subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Just why Trump keeps soliciting these evangelical advisers is probably a political calculation, said Fea.

“Donald Trump knows that he can ride these evangelicals,” the historian said. “He needs this as part of his base. I still can’t believe that at some deep level of spiritual or moral conviction he believes what these evangelical pastors believe. I think it’s utilitarian: ‘Let’s keep these people close.’”

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

About the author

Yonat Shimron

About the author

Jerome Socolovsky

47 Comments

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  • I am embarrassed for my country. To put it in biblical terms they can relate to – they are the harlots cavorting with the wild beast of Revelation. I see no good coming from this association.

  • The nicest group of Machiavellians you could ever meet.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, ‘Evangelical’ these days is best described as a political, rather than religious, label.

  • Except for White that’s a pretty straight forward group of conservative, bible believing christians.

    Contrary to the previous administrations group of liberal or otherwise false teachers:

    “The councils were diverse; they included members of Baha’i, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Native American, Orthodox Christian and Sikh faiths.”

    Who are really the harlots?

  • All of the followers of John Calvin & Oliver Cromwell who began the cult which leads people away from Christianity.

  • So, Sir J.C. Samuelson, how would you describe the mainstream Christians who have all definitely been in the tank for the Democrat presidents (TWO of them I believe, over the past 24 years?!) They DEFINITELY weren’t apolitical and solidly dedicated to the preaching of the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

  • What is the Gospel Truth?

    Truths are two types; the natural truth that applies to physical nature which is “relative” and the spiritual Truth, which is of our Supernatural Father God and as it is Light, no relativity applies but it is “Absolute Truth”.

    Here is a video:-

    https://youtu.be/WGuAme-ThNI

    The gist of Gospel Truth:-

    http://www.gnosticgospel.co.uk/gospelgist.htm

    Why call Easter? How Sunflower represents people pre-destined of God? Why is Western wall being worshipped by the Jews?

    https://youtu.be/2QXn34izvXI
    In Jesus, prayer is Anti-Christ:-
    https://youtu.be/Fp5RHEmrtYo

    Donald Trump would make Jews run for Israel to fulfil Matt. 13v24-30, which Hilary wouldn’t.

    https://youtu.be/4TgQqovWous

  • I don’t care if they support Democrats, Republicans, or lizard imposters. They’re all seeking to use government to promote sectarian policies. The fact that I might personally prefer more progressive versions of these policies is beside the point. I still wouldn’t (and don’t) support this kind of relationship existing between clergy & government.

  • Sins were till John, the Baptist – Luke 1ter him is the age of hypocrisy. All politicians tell you sugar-coated sermons of Falsehoods. Only Gospel can expose them. Priests in the Churches who work for money and not God are THIEVES of the order of Judas Iscariot. So, what you expect?

    Watch my over 5900 Youtube Videos explaining Gospel from heart and not from the dead scritptures forbidden by Christ Jesus.

  • Well Sir JC, we agree on that one! Personally, I’m putting my $$ on their support for the “lizard imposters,” as all those who attempt to thrown the weight of their religious titles behind either liberal or conservative political causes, seem a great deal like slimy reptiles to me!

  • “pretty straight forward group of conservative, bible believing christians.”

    AKA people with no regard for the 1st Amendment religious freedom protections and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection under the law.

    “Contrary to the previous administrations group of liberal or otherwise false teachers”

    Because obviously our nation should have no other religious influence except for your faith./sarcasm

    “Who are really the harlots?”

    The people who have obviously no regard for the democratic system who have ingratiated themselves into the government for the purposes of undermining its principles. Trump’s latest entourage of Evangelical grifters fits that bill.

  • What we have here is a gang of con artists and fake Christians (“pastor” is Latin for someone who herds sheep) worshiping the leading con artist and pseudo-Christian (der Gross Obergropenfuehrer). Disgusting. And from Trump, the Awful Oaf in the Offal Office, on down we have people who have little respect for religious liberty or our constitutional principle of church-state separation, people who want government to impose their sectarian religious views regarding reproductive choice on all women, people who want to undermine our public schools and divert tax dollars to sectarian private schools. We must RESIST> — Edd Doerr

  • Hey, I don’t get his stuff, but the man’s got a right to be here, just like you and me.

    If you don’t like his preachin’s, go do your homework and refute ’em !!

  • ACTIONS speak louder than words. Watch Trumps works and see if he truly understands and follows what the Bible says.

  • Encouraging that readers are seeing through the religious fraud while these leaders protect their own interests by tapping into government power, not exactly original. Brought out this point in my new book: Christianity and Ethnicity.

  • What can you say – when Evangelicals declared that Trump is divinely blessed by God whenever he grabs women in their “privates”, who are we to question that? God wanted Trump to have three wives, and so he has, so what’s the problem? When Trump said “look at that face!” with regards to Meg Whitman, he was just following the example of Jesus. After all, Jesus denigrated women based on their looks and how fat they are many times. You all want to argue about all this – take it up with God. He’s the one who put his divine mantle on Trump per the Evangelicals. Unless they’re lying. Nah – that wouldn’t happen.

  • I think the end of this article summed it up: Trump is supporting the Evangelicals to keep them on side. Oh yes, he’ll duchess them, but he won’t be pushed around by them any more than is absolutely necessary for his political ends.

  • This Dark Age is of the psychic. Politicians and the clergy are number one Anti-Christs who deliver sugar-coated sermons of Falsehoods for their own popularity. They scratch each other’s back.

    For Gospel Truth, watch my Youtube videos; channel nijjhar1.

  • You decide to respond negatively to my post, but not to others such as Samuleson’s. That clearly demonstrates your position. BTW, when faced with such drivel it is not necessary to “do your homework and refute ’em” as it only leads to an argument with an uneducated fool, lowering oneself to his/her level which is why I will not respond again to your post.

  • I minored in New Testament in grad school. This guy is sooo confused and deluded. When people start spattering the bible the way he does, you knowe he’s hearing voices you’re not hearing.

  • When evangelicals say ‘Christian Country’, they don’t mean Christian values. They mean Christians only. So it’s no wonder they like Trump. He will deport the competition.

  • .
    Matthew 7:15-20New International Version (NIV)
    True and False Prophets
    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

  • Why O why only now you tell us, Adelle M. Banks, Emily McFarlan Miller , Yonat Shimron and Jerome Socolovsky: That Trump’s “evangelical executive advisory board … was dissolved when he became president” and “has no formal status” anymore other than as busybodies at the White House clearly “not involved in politics or policy”?! That, therefore, “the[ir] list of accomplishments is relatively short” – shorter even than my “list of accomplishments” back in 5th Grade?!

    I know why. It’s breaking news everywhere that the only source of influence on Trump (and never vice-versa) is, not this laughingstock that, trust me, these fellow born-again Christian brothers and sisters of mine are – but – wait for it –

    T
    H
    E

    D
    E
    E
    P

    S
    T
    A
    T
    E

  • Don’t you get it after reading this breaking news? If you’re right about “False Prophets” in the White House, they sure have 0 influence on the guy, which is the point of this article. What sort of “False Prophets” is that, then?!

  • To Mr. Suarez: perhaps the writer of this piece edited out any further reflections you might have had on the passage in 2 Samuel 12 that you reference. As it stands, however, with all due respect, your citation is rich with irony as used in the present context. Nathan sure did stick with David; he led David to say “I have sinned before the Lord,” and confession and repentance follows. Love to see the President’s Evangelical counselors be more like Nathan and the President be more like David.

  • Your argument is old and ineffective, Good and evil is what the world and life are all about, the battle between God and Satan (Lucifer). We all choose sides and in the end God separates the sheep from the goats. The separation of church and state only means that the government cannot also be the religion, and since President Trump includes all religions he is not violating the constitution. He in fact is being consistent with our founders. Those of you who try to eliminate religion and turn government into a god are the ones violating this amendment, as though everyone in the country must put government before God, and eliminate Him from the public square and imprison Him in the privacy of our hearts, we call that “communism”, it leads to dictatorship, and destruction. Countries need God’s protection otherwise failure and destruction ensue, history gives us a sure reminder of that.

  • God uses more than “pure” saints to do His work, King David is a good example, and there are many more in the bible. Just remember, it also says in the bible that we will be judged by the same measure we use to judge with, so be careful with your judgments. There are many who after a horrible life have had great conversions (the prodigal son), be patient and let God do His work, trust in God’s ways are a blessing and a virtue.

  • Your mileage may vary on acceptance of such beliefs. I am under no compulsion to believe in your god or version of it. I cannot be compelled to care what your beliefs are in that regard either.

    “The separation of church and state only means that the government cannot also be the religion”

    When government is entangled with a given religion, is that not the case? People who argue for ultra narrow interpretations of the establishment clause seek to make their religion the only one with official government approval and validity. They are showing contempt for the very concept of religious freedom.

    It’s not a matter of eliminating God from the public square, it is about showing respect for all given faiths not just one to the exclusion of others. I have no problem with public displays of faith, provided it is not singular in nature. That it respects all significant faiths in a community.

    “Trump includes all religions he is not violating the constitution”

    But he is doing nothing of the sort. He is not only favoring only one small subset of a given religion, he has shown outright hostility to others. Even to the point of demanding religious based discrimination. The poster I responded to actually was annoyed the prior administration showed the ecumenism you erroneously ascribed to Trump.

    You want government and the public to show respect for your religious belief, but are you willing to do so for others? You don’t give that impression. It’s a two way street. Religious freedom applies to all religious beliefs. Not just yours.

  • Hi Brethren,

    My views are not common. The common person does not know in whose name John baptised Jewish men in water? John never baptised a woman, Gentile or a Samaritan. It is all written in the Bible and unless you have the grace of God or holy spirit, common sense, you cannot have a clue of Gospel. Because the Preaching of Christ Jesus died that Second coming of Jesus in the name of Christ = Satguru Nanak Dev Ji appeared in the Punjab, not far away from our village. His Word is called Logo and here is how you get it.

    GOSPEL IS CALLED “LOGO”
    AND LOGO IS THE EXTRACT/NECTAR OF “LOGICAL REASONING”.

    ONCE-BORN PEOPLE ARE INCAPABLE OF LOGICAL REASONING AND, THEREFORE, LOGO IS FOR THE TWICE-BORN PEOPLE OF DISCERNING INTELLECT CALLED THE “HOLY SPIRIT”, SURTTI OR “COMMON SENSE”.
    SO, IF YOU WANT GOSPEL, THEN YOU MUST THINK LOGICALLY OVER YOUR OWN HEART. THUS, LISTEN TO EVERYONE AND PONDER OVER IT IN YOUR OWN HEART. THEN, GOSPEL WOULD BE WRITTEN OVER THE LIVING TABLETS OF HEART – 2CORN 3.
    SCRIPTURES, THE DEAD LETTERS ARE “DEADLY POISON” TO GOSPEL.
    SCRIPTURES, THE “DEAD LETTERS” THAT THE ONCE-BORN PEOPLE ARE TAUGHT IN THE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES. THEY ARE “OLD WINES” OR “MILK FOR THE BABIES”. THIS IS THE JEWISH LEAVEN FORBIDDEN BY CHRIST JESUS.
    TWICE-BORN PEOPLE OF “DISCERNING INTELLECT” LIKE THE “BIRDS OF THE AIR” ARE CAPABLE OF “LOGICAL REASONING” TO BREW THE “NEW WINE” WITHIN THEIR OWN HEART. FOR THIS YOU NEED TO BE “IMPARTIAL” LIKE THE LITTLE CHILDREN.
    THUS, YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO A UNIVERSITY TO KNOW GOSPEL BUT A HEART BURNING FOR “GOSPEL TREASURES”.
    UNIVERSITY DEGREES IN “DEAD LETTERS” WILL TURN YOU INTO A SUPER DONKEY CARRYING “HOLY BOOKS”.

  • The founders we speak of formed this as a Christian nation, but in doing so placed in the constitution the rights of all other religions to practice and worship in freedom. No one forces Christianity on them, and they do not have the right to remove our heritage from us. Now if one speaks of Satanism for example, that is not a “religion” it is an anti-religion, religion deals with a belief in God, Satanism is an anti-religion simply because it is anti-God, like I said above, the “war” is between God and Satan, there are only two sides, we must choose which side we take. As Christ has said “if you are not for me, you are against me”, and yes, I am for him.

  • Not even close. Proof positive is the first amendment and no evidence whatsoever in our constitution which is dedicated to Jesus or Christianity. If it were their intention they would have done so explicitly. Nor does Christian belief (especially yours) espouse religious freedom outside of marginalized Anabaptist sects. Sects you would decry as not being Christian enough to your liking. Certainly not indicative of the majority of those identifying themselves as Christian.

    When you talk of a “Christian Nation”, you speak of one where Christianity is the state sanctioned religion and all others are proscribed or subordinate under the law. Exactly the kind of nation the Founders did not want.

    You are telling me you have no respect for our first amendment or the concept of religious freedom.

    I don’t ever have to care what you think of God, Satan, or any religion, nor must our laws ever have to be in line with such thoughts.

  • The US was not founded as a Christian Nation. That is a falsehood perpetuated by those who wish to establish a theocracy and abhor a democracy. You are neither a patriot or a Christian if you truly believe such propaganda.

  • I’ve always wondered – and have yet to hear a coherent response – why, if we were founded on Christian principles, the words god, christ, savior, creator, etc. are nowhere found in the constitution. Seems simple enough that if the founding fathers were so intent on a christian underpinning, inserting these words would be easy enough.

  • Bottom Line? It’s all about Power. These evangelicals want Political Power. Now please explain to me why Christ turned down Satan’s invitation to acquire Political Power? I guess Christ got it wrong.

  • I wish you would include secular humanists or just plain atheists when you speak of the protection ot the First Amendment. Donald says we all have the same values and worship God because the Declaration of Independence Contains: “We were endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights…” Jefferson was a Diest which meant belief in an unknown god. He wrote later that he followed the teachings of Epicurus. His God was unknown and unconcerned with this world after he created it. Science tells us it is now unnecessary to need a creator to explain the designs in nature. Therefore a secular humanist could claim nature as the source of the rights.

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