May 3 was the National Day of Prayer, and President Trump used it to unveil a massive faith-based initiative: an executive order that creates a new faith-based office to partner with religiously affiliated groups and help provide them with government grants.
The event yet again touched off all kinds of speculation about the strength of the president’s faith. The Washington Post was rather unsubtle in their headlining: “Amid Stormy Daniels news, Trump announces faith-based effort on National Day of Prayer.”
I don’t claim to know the president’s faith. There have certainly been gaffes (one cringes at the memory of the “Two Corinthians” moment) and sins, given that he’s a human being.
However, the fruit of the Trump White House has been an administration that’s publicly emphasized faith like none other in recent memory. It’s also led to a new emphasis on prayer inside the White House itself, as Vice President Mike Pence revealed during an interview with CBN News.
“There’s prayer going on on a regular basis in this White House,” Pence told the Christian news service Thursday.
“And it’s one of the most meaningful things to me, whether it’s public meetings or not, I’ve lost count of the number of times that the president has nudged me, or nudged another member of the Cabinet and said, ‘Let’s start this meeting with prayer,'” he added.
During the interview, Pence also touted the administration’s new faith-based policies.
“This is really about making sure that as we develop policies for the country, that we are always making room for those inalienable rights, the free exercise of religion that Americans cherish,” Pence said.
There are probably going to be a lot of people angry about this news. Take the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which has sued the Trump White House over a Bible study that Pence has been a part of organizing.
The FFRF sued because it wants to “determine whether or not the bible study uses government resources, whether staffers may feel coerced into organizing or even participating in the religious event, and to ascertain government access granted to Capitol Ministries, a group that seeks to evangelize elected officials.”
They also claimed in the lawsuit that the Department of Housing and Urban Development wasn’t giving them the fee waivers that they wanted in order to dig up more information about the Bible study.
“The pious affair is apparently co-sponsored by Vice President Mike Pence,” the FFRF noted.
“The list of bible study attendees includes officials whose appointments FFRF objected to because of their inability to keep their personal religion separate from their public office: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and, of course, Secretary Ben Carson, the surgeon whom President Trump tapped to run Housing and Urban Development.”
Yes, to these people, a Bible study in a work environment means you can’t keep your personal religion separate from public office. They also noted, for obvious reasons, that “Trump himself rarely makes an appearance.”
Well, whatever. I’m not Trump’s creator and I know not his personal views on God or whether or not his public views on God are merely for popular consumption. What one can say is that his administration has been great for the protection of religious liberty and the sanctity of life. Prayer is also back at the White House, something that surely makes the FFRF and the ACLU unhappy but which conservatives can take solace in.
Say what you will about the president’s private beliefs, but his presidency has been a lot better for Christians than eight years of Obama was or four years of Hillary would have been. And, quoth Matthew 7, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” That’s something we ought to meditate on when talking about the president’s faith.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.