“All the President’s Clergymen”

Trump_Prayer_090117_HD1080_img_408081The reporters at Religion News Service–Adelle M. Banks, Emily McFarlan Miller, Yonat Shimron, and Jerome Socolovsky–have produced the best piece on the court evangelicals to date.  The article is based on interviews with many of the prominent court evangelicals, as well as scholars and pundits who have been monitoring the comings and goings of Trump’s evangelical advisers.

And I am happy to have contributed to it.

Here are some things I learned from reading “All the president’s clergymen: A close look at Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ ties with evangelicals“:

  • Court evangelicals “fumbled with their iPhones go get them selfie-ready as they made their way to the oval office.”
  • Court evangelicals claimed to be “overwhelmed” by their encounter with the POTUS, although it is not clear if they were overwhelmed by the POTUS himself or the “Holy Spirit.”
  • There is no formal “Evangelical Advisory Council.”  Some court evangelicals are not sure if they are part of the group or not.  Others claim they have had up to a dozen meetings with Trump since he took office.
  • The court evangelicals do not want to be part of something formal.  A formal council would come with “certain legal ramifications.”
  • Despite what the court evangelicals say in their public statements, they have had very little impact on policy decisions.
  • The churches associated with the National Council of Churches (mainline Protestants, Orthodox, and historically black denominations) have been “frozen out” of the Trump administration.  The same is true of Muslim and Sikh religious groups.
  • The court evangelicals are divided over the degree to which they influenced the transgender ban on soldiers in the military.