President Donald Trump signed an executive order on May 3 launching a new initiative designed to bolster the influence of faith groups in government. The order was signed on the National Day of Prayer.
“The new executive order is designed to protect religious liberty from government overreach.
“According to a White House document 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.’
“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 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.
“The reach of this office also seems broader than its predecessors. Unlike in other administrations, the office will work with all government agencies, even those without department-specific faith-based initiatives. Agencies without faith-based offices will be assigned a liaison to work with the Faith and Opportunity Initiative.
“The Trump administration also said that Trump’s office would worry less ‘where the church-state barriers are,” allowing government-religious partnerships to function “without all of these arbitrary concerns as to what is appropriate.’
“Members of Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory council, a loose umbrella of faith advisers with close access to the president, celebrated the news. ‘I could not be more proud to stand with President Trump as he continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with communities of faith,’ evangelical preacher Paula White [said], ‘This order is a historic action, strengthening the relationship between faith and government in the United States and the product will be countless, transformed lives.’
This isn’t the first time Trump has used the National Day of Prayer to court evangelical supporters. Last year, he used the day to announce his plan to rescind the Johnson Amendment, the provision that prohibits religious institutions from directly endorsing political candidates lest they lose their 501(3)(c) nonprofit status.
Where is this headed? End-time prophecy makes it abundantly clear.
“The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The Great Controversy, page 592.