When Donald Trump became president on Jan. 20, 2017, evangelical Christians and their leaders drew up their "wish lists" of big goals he could pursue, opposing abortion and limiting the ever-invasive LGBTQ movement.
Two and a half years later, the Trump administration is being praised for fulfilling many items on those lists. Here's a quick list of just 5 of those big issues:
- 1. Pro-Life Moves, Like Forcing Planned Parenthood to Choose Between Abortion and Women's Health.
- 2. Protecting Religious Freedom Rights of Employers.
- 3. Appointing Conservative Judges to the Federal Bench
- 4. Limiting the LGBTQ Movement in American Life
- 5. Standing with Israel, Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital
Mat Staver, president of the legal advocacy organization Liberty Counsel, said Trump has fulfilled about 90% of the goals on a list that Staver and other conservative leaders compiled.
"In the first two years of his administration, he's achieved more than all of the presidents combined since Ronald Reagan," Staver said. "He's been the most pro-religious freedom and pro-life president in modern history."
One of the biggest steps came this week when the Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new rule for the federal family planning program known as Title X. Planned Parenthood, the nation's biggest abortion provider, quit the Title X program it had participated in for decades rather than obeying a new rule which would have stopped its clinics from referring women for abortions.
When the organization walked away, it left $60 million in federal funding on the table that could be used for women's health by other medical providers across the country. It was a move hailed by conservatives and condemned by liberals.
Last week, the Labor Department proposed a rule that is expected to shield federal contractors from discrimination complaints regarding hiring and firing decisions motivated by religious beliefs. In other words, they won't be forced to hire people who refuse to follow their faith.
The administration has also moved to appoint conservative judges to the federal bench.
"We are heartened by the appointment of constitutionalist judges, including two excellent Supreme Court justices (Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh), and look forward to more such appointments throughout the federal court system," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family.
But the president's promise-keeping didn't end there. As CBN News reported, Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in May of 2018.
The new facility opened on May 14, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel.
"First and foremost, it was the day that the United States put itself on the right side of history," US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told CBN News. "I would suggest maybe your audience might agree with me the move put itself on the right side of God. It was a day when we recognized one of the great historical truths of our time."
The Trump administration has also taken action reversing or revising policies and rules instigated by President Barack Obama. Obama pushed abortion rights and same-sex marriage, mandated that abortion-causing drugs be covered by the Affordable Care Act, required the military to allow transgender troops, and told school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice.
Like any other sitting president, President Trump has many critics of his new policies. Numerous organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are seeking to block some of the administration's moves in court.
Meanwhile, the Alliance Defending Freedom, one of several conservative legal law firms that litigated against numerous Obama-era initiatives, welcomes the president's action.
"The defense of life, free speech, and religious liberty should never be subject to political and cultural whims," said Kristen Waggoner, an ADF senior vice president. "They are constitutional guarantees, and we are grateful that this administration recognizes that reality and is taking serious steps to correct injustice and protect all Americans."
Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Dallas, has predicted that Trump's policies could win him even more Christian votes in 2020 than in 2016.
"When he ran in 2016 and promised pro-life, pro-religious freedom policies, most evangelicals who voted for him didn't know whether he would or could fulfill those promises," Jeffress said. "When they look back now, they see he checked off all of those goals. ...He'll win by an even larger margin on the basis of promises kept."