Trump’s latest appeal to evangelicals: a new office to protect religious liberty

  • Vox | by: Tara Isabella Burton |
  • 05/03/2018
President Donald Trump will sign an executive order today launching a new initiative designed to bolster the influence of faith groups in government. The news was announced by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Twitter. The executive order, which will be signed in the White House Rose Garden during proceedings for the National Day of Prayer, is likely to please Trump’s evangelical base.

According to a White House document sourced by the Religion News Service, the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative will “ensure that the faith-based and community organizations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government.”

This initiative goes further than similar ones in past administrations

The institution of faith-based initiatives is not uncommon in the White House — Barack Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and George W. Bush instituted an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Both programs were designed to provide faith-based charity organizations with a clear avenue to get federal funding for their work.

That said, Trump’s initiative seems to expand previous offices’ remit in a number of ways. For starters, the office isn’t just focusing on community-based or charitable initiatives. According to the Religion News Service, it’s also charged with informing the administration of “any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law.” The Trump administration has consistently been a champion of religious liberty, particularly insofar as it pertains to evangelical Christian causes.

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