Chris Mitchell/CBN NEWS | May 25, 2018
JERUSALEM, Israel – After the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, members of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board discussed the importance of a new White House executive order. Some say it is one more sign of the president’s emphasis on employing the faith community to strengthen society.
“I will soon be signing an executive order to create a faith initiative at the White House,” Trump announced. “The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities and our great country.”
The new executive order established the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. Members of the advisory board told CBN News the initiative could revolutionize the relationship between faith-based organizations throughout the federal bureaucracy.
“All departments that have faith offices and all federal offices will have a liaison appointed so that the departments along with the White House, the president’s agenda, can work together with several initiatives,” Paula White told CBN News. “There are initiatives of course for religious freedom, reducing crime, prison reform, poverty, marriage and family, human sex trafficking, several others that are important and on the heart of our president.”
Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition told CBN News the order returns the initiative to the White House.
“His executive order is bringing it back to the White House,” Reed said. “Barack Obama moved it over to the Department of Health and Human Services. And if you’re not in the White House, frankly, you’re not where the action is.”
Reed explained how the move could potentially make a difference for people who need help.
“What we really are going to be doing is rallying armies of faith and compassion that are caring for the poor, the marginalized, those in prison, those who have been left behind,” he said. “The faith community has a lot to offer in that area and I commend the president for tapping into that resource.”
“[About] 90 percent of all the homeless shelters in America are either operated by a church or a ministry or a faith-based organization. Whenever there’s a natural disaster, whether it’s Operation Blessing or the Salvation Army or the American Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention or Catholic Charities, they’re right there on the front lines after a hurricane, after an earthquake, after wildfires, whatever it is offering love and compassion to people who need it,” Reed said.
Evangelical Advisory Board members also met with US Ambassador David Friedman. Evangelicals and the Trump administration have forged a common bond.
“As you know, the evangelical community was very key in the election of President Trump and very key in prayer and being able to speak to the president even regarding the movement of the embassy,” said Pastor Mario Bramnick with the Latino Coalition for Israel.
“We went to the Oval Office after the decision to thank the president for his bold action, and as I mentioned in the meeting, many came against the president but he still did the right thing and we’re so honored to have a president who promises something and does what he promises,” Bramnick said.
“He is the most – as many people have said – the most faith-friendly president that they have known in their lifetime,” said White. “We had over 1,800 faith leaders come through the White House alone. I believe this year we will double or triple that. So he continues to reach out first and foremost in prayer.”