On Tuesday morning, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump met with more than 1,000 conservative Christians and Evangelical leaders at a Time Square hotel in NYC.
Although Trump tried to attract religious leaders with various promises including the appointment of anti-abortion judges at the Supreme Court, repelling of the Johnson Amendment which bars religious groups from taking part in the political process, and creating a panel of Evangelical leaders to advise Trump when he reaches the Oval Office, the audience didn’t rush into fully endorsing Trump.
When the businessman-turned-politician asked religious leaders at the conference to raise hands if they endorse him, no one did. Religious leaders explained after the meeting that the talks were designed to see whether Trump’s direction matches their’s, not to guarantee an endorsement.
Evangelicals are not convinced that Donald Trump may fully represent them for various reasons. First, religious leaders don’t know how many of these promises will become reality as Trump does not have a track record in the White House.
Second, though Trump said he was pro-life, he zoomed in on the possibility to punish women who abort their children. He also has a habit of not getting biblical verses just right, said he doesn’t see the point of asking for forgiveness from God, and has doubts on whether Heaven and Hell are real.
As a result, top conservative Christians had condemned the presidential hopeful as amoral on various occasions prior to the NYC meeting. So, it would have been extremely awkward for them to fully endorse him now.
Evangelicals are also concerned that Trump’s misogynistic and racist statements in the primary may alienate conservative Christians in the general election.
On Tuesday, Trump reportedly pledged to protect religious liberty in America. According to attendees, the presidential candidate said that guaranteeing religious freedom would be his “greatest contribution to Christianity, and other religions.”
Other top-notch conservative Christians were present at the meeting including James Dobson, Franklin Graham and Ralph Reed. Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee were also present.
But the confab wasn’t free of controversy. Reportedly, during his speech Trump questioned Hillary Clinton’s religion. He noted that the public doesn’t know anything on her religion.
Clinton, however, had said that she is member of the Methodist Church despite her pro-choice stance when it comes to abortion.
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