Presidential candidate Donald Trump yesterday invited NC Values Coalition founder and Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald along with other pro-life, pro-family Christian leaders from around the nation to a gathering organized by United in Purpose and My Faith Votes. Fitzgerald attended to represent the organization’s stance on the sanctity of life, biblical marriage, and religious liberty.
Most of the 1,000 leaders who gathered in New York did not come to endorse the candidate. United in Purpose designed the event to give Christian conservative leaders a chance to hear directly from Trump so they could “understand” him better before the November election. The moderator, former Republican presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, told Trump at the start of the meeting that this was not to be an “inquisition,” but rather people had come because they want someone who will “lead this nation out of the abyss.”
Trump told the group his top priority was religious freedom. Many conservative Christians say they feel threatened by lawsuits aimed at requiring business owners to provide services for same-sex weddings, restrictions on prayer in public schools, and a growing move to allow transgender people to use the restrooms they choose.
For about an hour on Tuesday, Trump took questions from a pre-selected handful of Christian leaders, among them James Dobson, the outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, Tony Perkins, Marjorie Dannenfelser and Sammy Rodriguez. There was no time for most people in the room to directly question Trump.
Fitzgerald said she was encouraged to hear Mr. Trump reiterated his most important pro-life commitment made to date when saying, “We are going to appoint great Supreme Court justices… These will be justices of great intellect… And they will be pro-life.”
Franklin Graham pointed out that in lots of stories in the Bible, people messed up. “Moses led his people out of slavery in Egypt but disobeyed God; King David committed adultery and murder; and the apostle Peter, who, as one of Jesus’ closest followers, really should have had his back, denied Jesus three times that he’d ever known Him. None of us are perfect — there’s only one, and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ, but he’s not running for president of the United States.”
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said “He exceeded my expectations ten-fold. Trump was a very humble individual and he spoke very freely and directly about his love for his family, his faith, and how he will work tirelessly to ensure that religious liberty is protected in our country, regardless of your religion.”
NC Values Coalition will continue to encourage Mr Trump to reiterate the important commitments he’s made to date:
- Appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court
- Protect religious freedoms of individuals and business owners
- Advocate and sign into law the Pain-Cable Unborn Child Protection Act that would ban abortions after 5 months – a point by which the science is clear: Unborn babies can feel pain
- That he will defund Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business
Trump told the leaders, “You’re the most powerful group in the country, but you have to band together. You can pray for your leaders, and I agree with that — pray for everyone — but what you really have to do is you have to pray to get everyone out to vote for one specific person.” At the end of the meeting the Trump campaign announced an evangelical executive board including former congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ronnie Floyd and others.