Category Archives: Christians in Politics
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder FaithInspires.Org
This afternoon President Trump leveraged off the National Day of Prayer to sign a much anticipated Executive Order expanding and expressing support for religious freedom. Many Christian leaders welcomed his action as signaling a welcome change in the Washington mindset, or at least a step in the right direction.
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel had this reaction “We commend President Trump for sending a message to Congress and the rest of America that religious freedom must be protected. This is an appropriate way to commemorate the National Day of Prayer as our President commits to protect and promote religious freedom,”
Meanwhile Carl Anderson CEO of the Knights of Columbus had this to say, “We applaud President Trump’s executive order on religious liberty. While there is still work to be done to restore the reverence for religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment, this order marks an important step in restoring those constitutional principles guaranteed to every American. Guided by their beliefs, people of faith contribute in important ways to every aspect of this country, and this order will begin to restore the principles upon which this country was based: that people of faith should be able to exercise that faith with the protection rather than the opposition of their government.”
A leding Hispanic Evangelical added, “This new executive order not only signals President Trump and Vice President Pence’s commitment to fighting for and representing the Evangelical community, but also the larger struggle for religious liberty. For years now, people of faith—especially Christians—have been essentially told that their faith has no place beyond their front door. A subversive oppression has taken a hold of our nation and sincerely held beliefs are subject to not only social ridicule but also legal retribution.” Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez President National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Today’s executive order among other things provided relief from the so called Johnson Amendment. This provision enacted in the 1960’s greatly restricted endorsements of political candidates by non-profit groups including churches. This has been a very unpopular provision among evangelical Christians and others since. So rolling it back even if by a bit will meet with at least some pleasure among those groups.
But will it be enough. An earlier draft of the executive order would have provided a much wider range of protections. Especially for average Christians ( as opposed to clergy, churches and ministries.) who acted or refused to act out of religious conscience. From what I can gather it was Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump that convinced the president to leave these additional protections out of the EO. Over time I fear this will be seen as the loss of an opportunity to cement the president’s relationship with a core part of his winning coalition.
My personal opinion is that as time passes today’s order will be seen as doing very little to advance the wishes of evangelical Christians, and will have done much more to anger those on the left. The result will be to leave us father from common ground on some issues not closer. For someone who sees himself as a master negotiator, this move seems like more of a weak compromise than anything else. Evangelicals are growing tired of weak compromises and disappointments. Today’s executive order may cost the administration more than it gains.
Statement by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), Following President Trump’s Address to Congress
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “The nation watched with anticipation tonight as President Donald J. Trump gave his first address to Congress. Americans are hoping for a change of direction, for real solutions to the many issues plaguing our country and for a better, stronger and more prosperous future. President Trump’s speech reflected that hope, and now we wait to see what can be accomplished by both the White House and Congress toward these commonly shared goals.
“For Latinos living in the United States, the issue of immigration reform is of obvious concern and is being carefully watched and monitored. Further, it was not only a part of President Trump’s speech but was evident by the guests invited on both sides of the aisle and by one of the individuals chosen to give the Democrat response. It is evident that immigration reform continues to be a divisive issue that needs to be addressed in a comprehensive way.
“Our hope is that Congress will make it their utmost priority to immediately pass comprehensive immigration reform. The legislative process is the best way to respect the people living within our borders and better protect the sanctity and security of our country’s founding ideals.
“While immigration reform is important, it is not paramount to the Latino community as evidenced by recent polling and through our daily conversations with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s (NHCLC) member churches. Tonight we heard the president address strengthening education, boosting the economy to create jobs and building a better America for ALL Americans. These are areas in which we have common ground with the president’s vision and in which we are hopeful that real progress can be made through his administration.
This speech set the stage, not only, for this session of Congress, but for the next four years. During this time, the NHCLC will continue to work with the administration to make progress on the priorities of Latino Evangelicals including the issues of life, religious liberty, education equality, immigration reform and racial unity.”
The NHCLC serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and hundreds of thousands of additional congregations spread worldwide throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. Seeking to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham’s message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march of prophetic activism, the NHCLC emphasizes “7 Directives” of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
(Austin, Texas) Texas is a very large powerful state so at least the broad strokes of what is going on here should be of interest all over the country. The new Texas Freedom Caucus formed by a dozen members of the Texas Legislature definitely fit in the category of things worth watching nationally.
The Texas Freedom Caucus’ mission is to amplify the voice of liberty-minded grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the bill of rights, restrain government and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in Texas.
The Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) will be focused on first principles that are the hallmark of liberty-minded Texans. The policies supported by the TFC will be developed thru collaboration with grassroots leaders to identify priorities that are often dismissed in Austin.
“Go five blocks in any direction from the Texas Capitol, and you will see what interests are hard wired into the Austin establishment,” Caucus Chairman Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) said. “The mission of the Texas Freedom Caucus will be to hard wire liberty-minded grassroots into policy making in Austin.”
The TFC will engage grassroots Texans on matters before session, during session, and long after session when policies are implemented at the agency level. The caucus is committed to restoring first principles – the right to life, liberty and property that are at the core of the freedom of America and the exceptionalism of Texas. The caucus will outline a set of legislative priorities after it holds a series of discussions with grassroots representatives from all across Texas. Thereafter, the TFC will support or oppose legislation in accordance with those principles.
“We don’t want our priorities to be determined from Austin down, but from the grassroots up. That includes taking things like the Texas Republican Party platform seriously,” said Schaefer. “There are thousands of people too busy working and raising their families to embed themselves in the legislative process. Their voices matter too, and we want to make sure they are heard, and their efforts are multiplied.”
The Texas Freedom Caucus will share many policy goals with other existing conservative organizations and caucuses, and it will buttress and complement rather than compete with those groups. The TFC will distinguish itself by providing a specific focal point for grassroots Texans interested in conservative policy-making in Austin.
The Vice Chair of the Caucus will be Rep. Bill Zedler (Arlington). The Policy Director will be Rep. Jeff Leach (Plano), the caucus Grassroots Liaison will be Rep. Matt Shaheen (Plano) and the Secretary-Treasurer will be Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington). Other members include representatives Kyle Biedermann (New Braunfels), Briscoe Cain (Houston), Matt Krause (Fort Worth), Mike Lang (Granbury), Rep. Matt Rinaldi (Irving), Jonathan Stickland (Bedford) and Valoree Swanson (Spring).
James Bernsen will serve as Executive Director for the Texas Freedom Caucus.
RALEIGH, N.C., March 10, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — The Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc., the oldest state-wide Christian public-policy organization in the Tar Heel state, is endorsing Ted Cruz for President of the United States. The League has a 501c4 tax status and is allowed to declare support or opposition to a candidate for office.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director, released the following statement Thursday morning:
“We are witnessing possibly the most dangerous time in American history. It’s not that our great country hasn’t faced incredible challenges in the past, but today the enemies of our Republic strike at the heart of our national identity – the meaning of America. Such issues will determine the preservation of liberty for the generations to come.
“Although the Christian Action League concedes there are many pressing considerations in choosing a President, none are more important than marriage and family, restoring a culture of life, and preserving our first right – the right to practice one’s faith freely. No current candidate in the Democratic field demonstrates a proper commitment to any of these necessary supports for a healthy society. All the candidates in the GOP field have shown some commitment to these three, either with lip service or some demonstration of allegiance, but none has the long track record of their zealous defense and promotion as Senator Ted Cruz.
“Voters today are angry at their elected officials for showing little or no courage in standing up for their rights and representing their concerns. They rightly feel betrayed. They feel most politicians are willing to sell them out and leave them hanging. Therefore, many people, including evangelicals, seem to prefer an outsider. Ted Cruz, however, should not be counted among your run-of-the-mill, go along to get along, kind of elected official. Instead, it has been his undaunting commitment to fight for his constituents – to fight for principle over politics – that has made him an undesirable among established powers in Washington.
“Many years ago, John Ruskin contended that ‘[s]kill is the unified force of experience, intellect, and passion in their operation.’ Ted Cruz has extensive experience debating, crafting and pushing legislation, as well as defending in court the values dearest to evangelical Christians. What is more, he has done it with keen intelligence and fervor.
“Last, the issues tearing away at the moral fabric of our nation have largely, almost exclusively, been foisted upon us by run-away federal courts, most certainly the U.S. Supreme Court, which has abandoned the original intent of the U.S. Constitution in too many of their rulings. To sustain freedom, this form of tyranny must stop. Because the next President will likely fill the seat of recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia and other seats that may become available, it is imperative we have a President who is a strong constitutionalist. We believe Ted Cruz would best serve this need.
“Therefore, the Christian Action League urges its supporters and its vast network of churches and citizen evangelicals in North Carolina to vote for those eternal verities that should take precedence over all other concerns – those that go to the character of our nation. A country that remains compromised on marriage and family, the right to life and the right to live according to the dictates of their faith in public or private, is likely to perish from the earth.
“Every leader has clay feet, and none is without blemish. Nevertheless, evangelicals should choose for their leaders those who by their persons and promotion of policy reveal a consistent commitment to a strong Christian worldview.
“We believe Ted Cruz best fits this need and endorse his candidacy for President of the United States.”
Dr. Mark H. Creech
Dr. Creech added that he didn’t think the Christian Action League had ever endorsed a candidate for President before, at least not during his tenure as executive director. “Still, the Board felt there was entirely too much at stake in this election,” he said, – “matters that could affect the nation for many years to come – matters that required we break away from our tradition and provide some needed direction for evangelicals in the stat