You might have heard or read about a recent conversation that was organized between faith leaders across the country and Presidential candidate Donald Trump. It took place on Tuesday, June 21 in New York City. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, shared his opinion about it while being interviewed on Fox News this past Wednesday, June 22. Click HERE for that interview.
Much more has been said already about this conversation in terms of supposed intentions, outcomes and assumptions going into and following this, what has been called, historic gathering of more than 1,000 faith-based influencers. No matter what was said at this event, Americans are blessed with the opportunity to vote for those representatives who lead us. We must make our voices heard because every vote counts.
I was honored to have been invited to this gathering but was unable to attend. However, FHA Board Chair Scott Craig, did attend at the invitation of the Family Research Council. Scott wrote of this event:
“Donald Trump told a historical gathering of the nation’s most influential evangelical leaders that the Church’s potential is in its ability to unite. He said, “remember this, you are the most powerful group in this country, but you have to realize that. You need to band together. If you don’t band together you’re really not powerful. You…are great within your audience, but outside you don’t have it. And if you do that (band together), you’ll bring it (the power of the Church) back like nothing has ever been brought back.” I doubt Donald Trump knew that he had essentially quoted Jesus’ prayer for His followers to be “one” as recorded in John 17. It’s a sad commentary on the Church when Donald Trump has to rebuke it. But it was a tremendous insight into Donald Trump’s vision that the Church should impact this nation, including its politics! Jesus said, anyone that is not against us is for us. With that in mind, Trump is for us, compared to Hillary who is most definitely against us.”
Twenty-Four hours after this event I joined in a Conference Call hosted by our National Associate Ministry – Family Policy Alliance (formerly CitizenLink). This was an opportunity to hear some insights from a number of my colleagues who were in the room that day.
Pastor Franklin Graham opened the event in prayer and former Governor Mike Huckabee interviewed Mr. Trump. Despite what you might have heard, the response was not overwhelming support as the press would have us think. It was polite and done with Christian dignity. The 1000 Christian Leaders in the room were there to have a ‘Conversation With Trump’. Period.
Regarding what Trump said, it seemed clear that the biggest concern from those who attended was a matter of TRUST. Can we know that what he says he will actually do? Who Mr. Trump surrounds himself (i.e. Vice-President, etc.) with will have significance as November nears. That being said, Trump emphasized issues that are encouraging to those who are animated by and make decisions based on their faith –
- He understood and expressed an interest in overturning The Johnson Amendment— a horrible provision that has muzzled pastors for decades from addressing cultural issues of the day from the pulpit.
- He would overturn Obamacare.
- He supports building back up the military.
- He stated that he will be a friend to Israel and that the Iran nuclear deal was wrong.
- Most importantly, his response to religious liberty was to state that he would appoint to the U.S. Supreme Court, nominees in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia. They would be vetted by The Federalist Society and would be Pro-Life. These lifetime appointments, possible three made at the U.S. Supreme Court, will have profound impacts well beyond a Trump Presidency.
Although this is just the beginning of a dialogue, here are three takeaways that should be considered by every South Dakota Value Voter –
- There are dozens of upcoming races at the local and state level that will affect the principles we hold dear — life, family and religious liberty. In the coming weeks and months, Family Heritage Alliance will be providing resources for social conservatives to get informed and vote their values.
- Some data show that in the last election cycle, nearly 38 million people who identify as Christians didn’t show up to vote. That added up to a big difference in the outcome of the election. We will be mobilizing Christians to vote because we know every vote really does matter.
- It is the right of every American to vote their conscience. We understand there are some within the Christian community who are opposed to Mr. Trump – and some who already have or are ready to embrace him. We respect those views and the friends who hold them. We also value and appreciate dialogue and believe that we have a responsibility, both as Christians and as a policy organization, to listen and dialogue with anyone seeking office. We plan to continue those conversations as part of our commitment to inform, inspire and engage our constituents.
Stay engaged. Don’t lose hope. Our ultimate trust is in – God Alone!
For Faith, Family and Freedom,
Family Heritage Alliance