Court Evangelical Support For Kushner May Be More Than Just Political

Kushner

Earlier today we published a post on the court evangelical’s support of Jared Kushner as he testified before Congress this week.

Over at The Washington Post, Sarah Pulliam Bailey points out that many of these court evangelicals like Kushner because he is an orthodox Jew.

Here is a taste of her piece:

While there is a deep divide in the Southern Baptist Convention over whether pastors should continue to vocally support Trump, several Southern Baptist pastors continue to support the president. Jeremiah, a pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in California, said that Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who are Jewish, may have been chosen by God to help Christians.

“It’s just like God to use a young Jewish couple to help Christians in the United States, defend their rights, and secure their religious freedom for now, and for subsequent generations,” Jeremiah wrote in his statement.

Moore said that many evangelicals feel “a connectedness” to Kushner’s Orthodox Jewish faith because it’s so “seamlessly integrated in his life. ”

Many white evangelicals have warm attitudes toward Jews because they believe God has set them apart as chosen. White evangelicals rate Jews more positively than any other non-Christian religious group, but Jews rate white evangelicals least positively among Christian groups, according to the Pew Research Center.

Read the entire piece here.  I wonder if the court evangelicals believe that Donald Trump’s “Presbyterian Christian faith” is “seamlessly integrated in his life.”

The Court Evangelicals Back Kushner

File Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with Jerry Falwell Jr. at a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa

The court evangelicals have remained largely silent about the President’s moral indiscretions and tweets. But when the President’s son-in-law and adviser testifies before Congress about possible Russian ties, the court evangelicals come out of the woodwork.

ABC News reports:

A host of Christian leaders, from South Carolina Pastor Mark Burns to Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., have been taking to Twitter and releasing statements voicing their support for Kushner as he spends two days speaking with congressional investigators on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve known Jared for many years. He’s a man of integrity, character, and a great, personal friend,” wrote Paula White, a gospel preacher and Trump friend who prayed at Trump’s inaugural. “(E)nough-is-enough,” she wrote.

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. blasted the “endless attempts by the media to keep the fake Russia collusion story alive— solely to obstruct the president’s agenda” in a statement Monday.

“In Jared Kushner, they’ve picked the wrong fight. I don’t know a more competent person. He is brilliant and he is a man of the highest integrity,” Falwell wrote.

Kushner insisted Monday that he had done nothing improper during the campaign as he met with members of the Senate intelligence committee for nearly three hours behind closed doors. He’s set to meet with lawmakers on the House intelligence committee Tuesday.

Read the rest here.

Pence vs. Kushner/Ivanka on Religious Liberty?

PenceThis is an interesting report from Jon Ward at Yahoo News.  Next week Donald Trump will apparently be issuing an executive order on religious liberty.  Trump has promised evangelicals that he will protect their views on marriage (and other issues) by exempting them from anti-discrimination statutes.  Vice President Mike Pence is as evangelical as they come on these issues.

Yet, as Ward notes, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka are “more aligned with gay, lesbian and transgender groups on these issues.”

Here is a taste of War’s article:

“The Jared and Ivanka thing, that’s real,” said one congressional aide.

One Senate aide said the rumor on Capitol Hill was that “President Jared has it on hold. … I haven’t seen any evidence that Pence has the pull to trump Jared.”

And that gets to the heart of the matter. Pence has a long history with the issue of religious liberty, having been embarrassed by a bungled attempt in Indiana when he was governor to implement a law on the matter.

Pence, widely criticized after signing the Indiana legislature’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the spring of 2015, then bowed to pressure and altered the legislation in a way that angered religious conservatives. So in the view of some in the community, the vice president has an obligation to make it up to them.

But a fight with Trump’s own family is a formidable task. This is not the only issue that Pence cares about, though it is a high priority one for him and many others in the faith community. So the question for Pence has been how much political capital is he willing to expend on this matter.

The broader context is that Pence is always thinking about how to gain influence in the Trump administration while also keeping a certain distance from the president.

Keeping that distance will help Pence if the Trump presidency ends up being judged a failure, giving him the vice president the deniability he would need to mount a credible run for the White House himself.

Read the entire article here.