On June 21, I was honored to join about one thousand fellow faith leaders in a private meeting with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for President.
Concerned Women for America was both a convener and a co-sponsor of the event. We believe that there is great value in bringing together conservative Christian leaders from around the nation with the candidate who most closely aligns with our policy beliefs.
As you will read below, the event was successful on many levels, but I wanted to give you a realistic and brutally honest, thorough assessment. In particular I want to discuss the missing seventh question.
Let me begin with some of the many conflicting thoughts and emotions I have had this election cycle.
No one in the meeting expected it to be a theological discussion. Our moderator, Gov. Mike Huckabee, joked that this wasn't a pulpit committee trying to hire our next pastor. No one was laboring under the false notion that Donald Trump is a Bible-banging Evangelical. As most of you know, I worked hard in my individual capacity to help elect someone who more closely aligns with us from a faith perspective, but alas, that was not to be.
However, it's important to note that Donald Trump won the primary fair and square and, in the process, secured more votes than any other Republican in primary history. I understand the issues that many of my conservative colleagues have expressed and what gives them pause in supporting Trump. I, too, find troubling his divisive and sometimes demeaning language. I don't like some of what he says, but I don't like almost everything that Hillary Clinton does. Everyone has to answer to their own conscience before the Lord, but let's be honest about what's at stake.
I do lose patience with the false notion that there is any pathway to elect another Republican. There is no way a third-party nominee would win, nor is there even a path for creating a third-party candidate at this late date. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply wishful thinking. Neither is there any realistic delegate play that would somehow magically elect another person at the convention in Cleveland.
I supported others in the primary, but Donald Trump won. Everyone must come to terms with that fact, and the option now is to support him or not. I recently told a South Carolina radio host who was grousing about the outcome of the primary that he was going to have to join me in driving to Walmart, buy some giant size big boy pants, put them on and pull them waaaay up. We may have supported other candidates, but they LOST. People must face reality and move on.
So the question becomes, "Why support him?"
What are his governing principles? Only God knows Donald Trump's heart, but I doubt he is on the same page as most Evangelicals in his belief in Scripture as God's inerrant, final word on all matters. Hillary Clinton would also fail that test. Her roots are a sect of Methodism that is basically cafeteria-style Christianity, choosing passages of Scripture that they like while denying the authority of those they do not. It seems that the two candidates have those two things in common. Our only indication of the future performance of Clinton and Trump are their records and words.
Hillary Clinton has decades of votes and speeches that reveal a candidate in favor of abortion at any point in pregnancy, for any reason, all paid for by the taxpayer. She has no respect for the rule of law nor for religious liberty. Her foreign policy is as weak and apologetic as President Obama's. The day that Donald Trump spoke at CWA's cosponsored Road to Majority Conference, Hillary Clinton spoke to Planned Parenthood. She is far left by any measurable standard I would accept as real.
Donald Trump has no voting record. The only way we can judge his fitness for office is his words, which brings me back to yesterday's meeting.
The day started off with a veritable who's who of Christian leaders in the room, such as Ben Carson and Franklin Graham. There were well-known public policy leaders like Gary Bauer and Marjorie Dannenfelser, as well as mega-church pastors like Dr. David Jeremiah.
The tone of the gathering was hopeful optimism. As a major voting bloc, this was a room full of people appropriately prepared to be charmed and wooed. Although as organizers of the event we had hoped for a more in-depth give-and-take with the candidate, I am not sure those in attendance had the same expectation. In the end, they were right.
The day began with a passionate plea from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), chairman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, to help her get the word out about her Congressional committee's findings on Planned Parenthood's nefarious sale of infant body parts — heads, brains, hearts, lungs, tongues — for profit and the $500 million of taxpayer funds being used to prop them up.
Following her was a presentation by famous pollster George Barna reaffirming my own observation that culture is in crisis on many levels, including the fact that by 2050, unless things change, only about one-third of Americans will get married. Our culture cares only about our own pleasure whether in our church experience or our relationships. Hard stuff.
At that point in the program, I was asked to join a select number of leaders backstage for a private meeting with Donald Trump. He arrived late and, after a warm introduction by Dr. Ben Carson, spent a few minutes talking about the need for Evangelical leaders to speak up on the election. He assured the group that he understood the cultural shift that now has gone from post-Christian to anti-Christian and vowed to work to support our rights.
He lapsed at one point into the glib pol that gets him into trouble by flippantly suggesting we shouldn't pray for the president. Again, his understanding of Scripture is minuscule. The room, again, was warm and receptive after some brief eye rolling; with the exception of that one stumble, he did a great job overall.
Moving out to the main stage, after a wonderful introduction by Jerry Falwell, Donald Trump joined Gov. Huckabee in a talk-show-type format for the Q & A portion of the program. He was asked six questions. This number stands out to me, because I was slated to ask question number seven.