There may be hope for the court evangelicals.
According to this report in The Washington Post, court evangelical Jentezen Franklin, the pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, spoke frankly to the POTUS in an attempt to stop him from ending the DACA program.
Here is a taste of Frances Stead Stellers’s piece at The Post:
Pastor Jentezen Franklin looked at President Trump across his desk in the Oval Office last week and made an impassioned plea for empathy.
For several minutes, Franklin, leader of a multiethnic megachurch near Atlanta, pressed Trump to understand the plight of the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who had been brought to the United States illegally by their parents, received legal status under the Obama administration and now feared that Trump would order their deportation.
“I know these kids,” Franklin recalled telling Trump.
“They are good kids?” Trump asked, according to Franklin.
“Yes, sir,” Franklin said he replied. “They are.”
Then the pastor, a father of five, noted the president’s love for his own kids. “I want to see that kind of heart toward these children,” Franklin said he urged.
The extraordinary meeting represented an opportunity for Franklin and a handful of black, Hispanic and white evangelical pastors to describe to the president the racial tensions they know, three weeks after Charlottesville and just days before the president’s anticipated Tuesday announcement of a delayed rollback of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. It also illustrates why Franklin and other members of an evangelical advisory board formed during last year’s campaign have decided to remain by Trump’s side despite widespread calls for them to resign after his response to the white-supremacist demonstrations.
Read the entire piece here.
I am thankful for Franklin’s work here.
This article seems to suggest that the court evangelicals are trying to craft a new narrative (perhaps with the help of “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer” and PR man Johnnie Moore) in the wake of the widespread heat they took over their failure to criticize the POTUS for his post-Charlottesville remarks. They are now arguing that if they had resigned from the evangelical advisory board after Charlottesville they would not have been there to urge Trump to keep the DACA program.
A few quick thoughts:
1. We will see what Trump says later today, but he apparently did not listen to Franklin or the other court evangelicals. All reports suggest that he will end the DACA program. (But there will be a way in which the court evangelicals can spin this. See below).
2. I hope Franklin and others on the evangelical board will continue to speak out against the POTUS decision to end the DACA program. Mark Burns is still defending the POTUS’s decision to end the program.
3. Some of the more well-known court evangelicals are still silent on Trump’s decision to end DACA. This includes Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Franklin Graham. In the Washington Post piece, Jeffress says “We are not lemmings…If [Trump] ever renounced or returned on these major positions, I think he would see a lot of support evaporate.” Apparently deporting 800,000 kids is not a “major position.” Sad.
5. Johnnie Moore is putting a court evangelical PR spin on it. In the tweet below he praises the good work of court evangelical Samuel Rodriguez and seems to show his support for DACA without criticizing Trump. Expect Moore and others to do even more spin by suggesting that the six month extension, which will allow Congress to pass a new Dream Act, was granted by Trump because he listened to the court evangelicals.
— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) September 5, 2017
6. I don’t know what Eric Metaxas is saying because I am still blocked from viewing his Twitter feed.
7. One also gets a sense from the Washington Post piece (if you read the entire thing, not just the excerpt) that some of the court evangelicals are comparing their role on the evangelical advisory board to Jesus Christ dining with sinners in order to reach them with the Gospel. I am sure we will be hearing more of this as the weeks and months go by. At least some of them are saying Trump is a sinner.
8. I imagine that the court evangelicals are not united in opposition to Trump’s decision to end DACA. Some probably take a “law and order” position similar to Iowa congressman Steve King:
Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide. https://t.co/iYOLxFWp7V
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) September 4, 2017