Trump Set to Meet More Than 900 Evangelical Leaders at New York Summit

The Stream's James Robison will be among those in attendance.

By Anika Smith Published on June 20, 2016

More than 900 evangelical leaders are preparing to meet with Donald Trump Tuesday to discuss such issues as the Supreme Court, religious liberty, abortion and national security.

The closed-door meeting will take place in New York City, with many waiting for the outcome as most of these leaders supported candidates other than the presumptive Republican nominee. Stream publisher James Robison will be in attendance, and according to reports, Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America will also be there.

Author and radio host Eric Metaxas said that he plans to vote for Trump in November. “My guess is most people in the room [at the meeting with evangelical leaders] are open to supporting him, even if they have huge issues with him,” Metaxas told The Washington Post. “When he famously said that he doesn’t have much to be forgiven for, something like that just revealed that he doesn’t think about himself the way a lot of people think about themselves. Especially Christians, who try actively to examine their souls.”

Trump surrogate Ben Carson will be there, a strong draw for those wary of Trump who supported the soft-spoken surgeon in the earlier primaries.

The meeting has been organized by United in Purpose and My Faith Votes, whose spokesman Johnnie Moore was special faith adviser on Carson’s failed presidential campaign. Moore told Christian Post that the purpose of the meeting is not to persuade anyone, “but to better introduce everyone to one another.”

It is neither an “inquisition” nor a “coronation,” but a “conversation,” said Moore. “The Trump campaign has been unbelievably cooperative to commit such time with these leaders … It is the largest, most representative gathering of national, Christian leaders I’ve seen in my lifetime,” he added. “This is not a political meeting.”

One important champion for religious liberty will not be in the room with Trump. Princeton professor Robert P. George declined his invitation to the meeting with a note:

I have been a severe critic of Mr. Trump and there is nothing he could say at a meeting in which he is courting conservatives that would alter my low opinion of him… For those of us who believe in limited government, the Rule of Law, flourishing institutions of civil society, and traditional Judeo-Christian moral principles, and who believe that our leaders must be persons of integrity and good character, this election is presenting a horrible choice.

The Stream will have more on the Trump-Evangelical summit Tuesday and in the days ahead.

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