President Donald Trump is steadily fulfilling the campaign promises he made to Christian voters during the 2016 race, and faith leaders are noticing.
Trump’s most recent victory came on the pro-life front when the Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new rule for Title X family-planning health services this week, which resulted in Planned Parenthood, the nation’s top abortion provider, choosing to stop taking federal dollars.
The rule precludes family-planning providers who receive federal money from recommending abortion. Title X funds were never authorized to pay for abortion procedures themselves.
However, because money is fungible, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have been able (until now) to use the federal dollars to help subsidize the overall costs of their clinics.
In addition to the HHS rule, Trump’s Labor Department proposed a rule last week “to clarify the civil rights protections afforded to religious organizations that contract with the federal government.”
The proposed rule upholds the right of religious organizations to “make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”
The Christian Post reported the new rule would countermand an Obama-era executive order that “added sexual orientation and gender identity to its list of anti-discrimination rules that disqualified religious organizations from retaining or seeking federal contracts because they did not comply with progressive views on LGBT issues.”
Also on the religious liberty front, HHS issued a waiver earlier this year allowing a Christian ministry in South Carolina to participate in a federally funded foster care program.
As The Hill reported, the Miracle Hills Ministry (founded in 1937) has a longstanding policy of only working with foster families that identify as Christian and live a lifestyle free from sexual sin, including homosexuality.
The policy violated the Obama administration’s directive that did not allow federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation.
Mat Staver, president of the legal advocacy organization Liberty Counsel, told The Associated Press that Trump has fulfilled about 90 percent of the goals on a list that he and other conservative leaders compiled for him.
“In the first two years of his administration, he’s achieved more than all of the presidents combined since Ronald Reagan,” Staver said. “He’s been the most pro-religious freedom and pro-life president in modern history.”
The Christian Broadcasting Network’s chief political analyst David Brody agrees.
“Let’s be very clear:@realDonaldTrump has been the best president conservative evangelical Christians have ever seen. There’s nobody close,” he tweeted.
“This @AP story is 100% correct. ‘Trump steadily fulfills goals on religious right wish list,’” Brody added.
Let’s be very clear:@realDonaldTrump has been the best president conservative evangelical Christians have ever seen. There’s nobody close. This @AP story is 100% correct. “Trump steadily fulfills goals on religious right wish list.” https://t.co/XrBoxzx9NB
— David Brody (@DavidBrodyCBN) August 20, 2019
Earlier this summer, the CBN News personality and author of “The Faith of Donald Trump” told The Western Journal that Trump has actually overdelivered on his promises to Christians.
“There is no doubt he has over-performed when it comes to the expectations that evangelicals had for this president,” Brody said. “They were hopeful and they thought he would deliver, but he’s done more than just deliver. He just in a way kind of delivered on steroids.”
“The enthusiasm is still there for Trump,” the author said. “It is kind of interesting that Donald Trump has become a culture warrior for evangelicals.”
Many of the nation’s top faith leaders have taken note.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins believes Trump’s strong record will drive evangelicals to the polls to vote for him.
“I think going into 2020, they are actually enthusiastic or will be given the track record that this president has established, thus far,” he said.
Evangelist Franklin Graham also thinks Trump’s support among Christians is strong because the president has been a man of his word.
“I think he has honored his commitments to the faith-based community,” Graham said. “He is pro-life, first president really in my lifetime that has been this vocal about life.”
The faith leader also pointed to Trump’s record on appointing conservative judges, including Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
American Values president Gary Bauer, former President Ronald Reagan’s chief domestic policy adviser, argued Trump’s willingness to engage in the cultural debate has “really endeared him with many evangelicals,” which will be reflected, he argues, in 2020.
Penny Nancy, president of Concerned Women for America, says Trump’s support among conservative women is “rock solid” because he has kept his promises and stood for life.
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