Each yr, a who’s who of pastors, politicians and enterprise leaders collect in Washington, D.C., to interrupt bread and bow their heads on the National Prayer Breakfast.
The annual occasion attracts hundreds from world wide to the nation’s capital and gives Christian fellowship and a few good old school Washington elbow rubbing, too. The custom of presidents attending was begun by Dwight D. Eisenhower. So on Thursday, President Donald Trump will ship a keynote deal with to the evangelical occasion, which is co-chaired by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Chris Coons, D-Del.
The president’s speech will possible give attention to the areas the evangelical group say the president has delivered, which incorporates appointing conservative judges and taking an anti-abortion stance.
Trump, a thrice-married, former playboy, has emerged as an sudden champion for the evangelical group. Those within the evangelical group say they don’t thoughts the president’s previous — and even his cursing and abrasive, sometimes-offensive on-line presence.
“He’s a fighter and he fights for things he believes in like the right to life – he’s not politically correct but he’s willing to take on the difficult issues,” Jack Graham, a Southern Baptist preacher and member of the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, mentioned. When individuals increase considerations in regards to the president’s phrases and actions, Graham mentioned he tells his congregation in Dallas, “Look at the actions not the reactions of the president.”
The night time earlier than the National Prayer Breakfast, the president and vp hosted members of the occasion’s committee, together with Pastors Paula White and Robert Jeffress and Coons and Lankford, to the White House for dinner. An attendee mentioned the president touted his scores from the State of the Union, the newest polling on evangelicals and in addition requested for enter from individuals within the room on points like human trafficking.
Evangelical leaders say the Trump White House regularly takes their temperature on necessary points — whether or not its abortion, immigration and even Middle East peace plans. Multiple members of the White House’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative mentioned they’re in contact with the White House nearly day by day. Jennifer Korn, deputy director for the Office of Public Liaison, works because the go-between the White House and evangelical leaders.
“We’ve never seen an administration more inclusive to the evangelical community,” Jentezen Franklin, an evangelical pastor, mentioned. “It’s unlike any that many of us have been around have seen. We don’t agree with everything he says or does, but [are] thankful for his policy — for being pro-life, and for a traditional family.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, was a part of a small group of Trump administration supporters who went to a gathering on Monday on the White House to preview the State of the Union deal with. He mentioned he gave suggestions on the route of the speech, and pushed for the president to take a powerful stance on the “sanctity of human life.”
Perkins mentioned that the White House understands that evangelicals helped Trump win in 2016, and they should retain the evangelical base in 2020. According to an ABC News/Washington Post ballot, 60 % of evangelical white Protestants say they plan to help Trump within the subsequent election.
This yr on the State of the Union, evangelicals praised the president’s hard-line stance towards abortion. In his speech, the president took direct goal at current laws handed in New York state which might protect the proper to have an abortion even when Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. He additionally blasted Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for stating “he would execute a baby after birth.” A spokesperson for Northam mentioned his feedback, made to a Washington radio station final week, referred to a hypothetical occasion involving doctor choices when the mom’s life was in danger.
“I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” Trump mentioned. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”
It was a message some evangelical leaders particularly hoped to listen to, they usually say these few sentences made a robust impression.
“I’m just thankful he was willing to take that stand,” Franklin mentioned. “It ignited his base perhaps greater than anything I’ve seen. I’ve been getting texts all day, phone calls all day.”
The small group of evangelical leaders get pleasure from uncommon entry to the White House.
White, Trump’s longtime religious adviser, mentioned she has labored with the administration on points like reunification and peace on the Korean peninsula. Other leaders say they’re in fixed contact with the Trump administration, from the White House to the State Department.
“You name an issue and people in the White House want to know our view point,” Graham mentioned. “It’s the most faith-friendly White House, including the Bush administration. And not to name drop, but George W. Bush is a friend.”