President Donald Trump was presented with a Bible on Monday night signed by more than 100 evangelical leaders who thanked him for his “courageous and bold stand for religious liberty.”
Trump’s spiritual adviser Pastor Paula White — who first gathered faith leaders to meet with the then-Republican candidate in Trump Tower in September 2015 — presented the chief executive with the Bible at the White House’s state dinner for faith leaders.
“This group would like to present to you and the first lady a Bible that is signed by over 100 Christians, Evangelicals that love you, pray for you,” White said.
She then read the inscription in the Bible, which says, “First lady and president, you are in our prayers always. Thank you for your courageous and bold stand for religious liberty, and for your timeless service to all Americans. We appreciate the price that you have paid to walk in the high calling. History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations.”
“We pray this prayer,” White said. “And if all of you agree with that, say ‘Amen,'” which garnered an “Amen” in response from those in the room.
About two dozen leaders who served on the initial Trump evangelical executive advisory committee during the president’s 2016 election campaign gathered at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Monday before the White House dinner, The Christian Post reported.
“We had a meeting of the original board members that go back to the election. We got together since it had been a while since we all got together and decided that we wanted to give them that gift (the Bible),” Georgia megachurch pastor Jentezen Franklin told The Post.
“They asked all of us to sign it. Paula White had gotten with all of us and kind of [came up with] a general theme that she wanted to say and then we could sign anything we wanted to say,” he explained.
In welcoming the leaders to the White House, Trump said, “We’re here this evening to celebrate America’s heritage of faith, family, and freedom.”
“As you know, in recent years, the government tried to undermine religious freedom. But the attacks on communities of faith are over. We’ve ended it,” the president added, which drew applause from the room.
Trump went on to list some of the accomplishments of his administration that are important to many in the evangelical community.
They included ending the Johnson Amendment, which threatened churches and religious non-profits with loss of their tax exempt status if they spoke out on political issues.
“We’ve taken action to defend the religious conscience of doctors, nurses, teachers, students, preachers, faith groups, and religious employers,” Trump said in reference to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate (which included requiring abortion inducing drugs in health care plans) and other related issues.
The president also mentioned efforts to restrict abortions, including reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, preventing federal dollars from being used to fund abortions overseas and proposing regulations to prevent federal money being used to subsidize abortions domestically.
Trump highlighted that he fulfilled his campaign pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Though he did not discuss it, evangelicals have no doubt been pleased with the president fulfilling his promise to appoint conservative, constitutionalist judges to the federal bench like Neil Gorsuch, as well.
Among those attending Monday’s dinner were Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Alveda King, Darrell Scott, Robert Jeffries, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, Greg Laurie, Eric Metaxas, James and Shirley Dobson, and David Jeremiah.
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Jack Graham — senior pastor at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas — told The Christian Post that Trump opened up the mic during the dinner and allowed the guests to share what was on their minds.
Graham said that for about 40 minutes, pastors expressed their appreciation for what the administration has done.
“They were getting up and saying what we appreciate and care about, expressing our faith and our love. It was very similar to a meeting that you would have at a church,” Graham recounted, adding that it was like a testimony meeting.
“With that many preachers and Christian leaders in the room, we believe the spirit of God was very present. Scripture was shared, verses were given to the president. The truth was delivered and love was delivered.”
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