Evangelical leaders met with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump today in New York City. The reports were mixed, as has often been the case following a meeting with Trump.
Going into the meeting, Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council was candid:
"This is not the outcome I was looking for. I thought we had a wonderful field of candidates, many who come from our community, who are professing evangelical Christians, who have track records on the issues. And not just one or two [candidates]; there were several in this campaign. We are where we are, but we have to work through it ... to be faithful witnesses to the truth."
Afterwards, Perkins and others offered their assessments (see video at right).
Two meetings convened with Trump: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. AFA president Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, was among those who participated in both sessions. He described the afternoon session during an interview on American Family Radio.
"It was a big hall with a thousand people, but the questions were from about seven different people. They were questions I would have asked had I personally had the opportunity to. But they were asked by people like James Dobson, David Jeremiah, Sammy Rodriguez, Tony Perkins – [First Liberty attorney] Kelly Shackelford was one of the persons who asked questions. So there were some good, meaty questions asked of Mr. Trump today."
Wildmon elaborated on what he saw as Trump's weakness and strength.
"I don't think he understands the religious freedom issue as it relates to the LGBT movement and Christians. He was asked point-blank about that by Kelly Shackelford. We all know the stories about the Christian businesses that have been either put out of business or fined ... by the LGBT people who want to force them to participate in 'gay marriages' or '[gay] weddings.'
"He did say he is for religious freedom, but I don't think he really understands that issue. Either he doesn't understand it or he doesn't agree with us and he doesn't want to tell us that. I think that's his weakness."
"... I think his strength is on judges, which is very, very important. He said his judges will be screened by the Federalist Society, [which is] a bona fide constitutional, conservative group. So if they put their seal of approval on a candidate, then you can go with it."
And on the issue of the sanctity of life?
"[Trump] says he's pro-life. He says he's been converted, if you will, as a pro-life person. He wasn't always, as we know well. And he says his judges will all be pro-life. He thinks he's a Christian and he wants our friendship. He wants our input and those kinds of things, but I can't tell from his own personal story that he's ever really received Christ as the Bible talks about."
6/22/2016 - AP video added; headline revised.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.