A recent New York Times article featured an in-depth look at the unprecedented access Religious Right leaders have to President Donald J. Trump and his administration. And, these leaders say the “access across the administration is bearing fruit.”
That might explain why the Religious Right—perhaps the last bloc the president has solidly in his corner—remains extremely loyal to Trump.
According to the Times, “With so many like-minded officials in influential government roles — and a newfound willingness by the administration to listen to their concerns — social conservatives say they see an unparalleled era of cooperation under President Trump.”
Richard Land, president of the conservative Christian Southern Evangelical Seminary in North Carolina, for example, said that he has “regular, ongoing, and continuing dialogue” with the Administration and “never has he felt his advice and input were more welcome in the White House since Mr. Trump became president.” (Remember, Land has been working with Republican administrations since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.)
The article also highlights a six-hour meeting the White House arranged with evangelical leaders that involved briefings from White House staff and appearances from Vice-President Pence and other high-ranking officials. It also included a meeting in the Oval Office and the laying of hands on the President.
The Religious Right has a strong alliance with Trump.
Many of the suggestions made by the Religious Right leaders at that meeting, quickly became law.
For example, the Times notes that at that meeting Tony Perkins, president of Religious Right group Family Research Council (FRC), suggested banning transgender people from serving in the military to Trump administration officials in a meeting and was backed up by others.
The Times reports that “Within days of the meeting, Mr. Trump took action, announcing his transgender military ban” via tweet and without first consulting military leaders. They also suggested ambassador at large, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
We’ve seen the unfortunate influence of the Religious Right on a host of other issues, including efforts to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment (which protects the integrity of houses of worship by prohibiting them from intervening in partisan elections), attempts to undermine birth control access and the Justice Department’s recent decision to side with a Colorado bakery that wants a constitutional right to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.
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