In a Rose Garden ceremony on the National Day of Prayer, President Donald Trump signed an executive order launching a new faith-based initiative. In place of the White House faith-based office orders of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, the Trump order establishes a “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative” and highlights the importance of ministries that serve people “through means that are different from those of government and with capacity that often exceeds that of government.” The order declares that such ministries are “essential to revitalizing communities” and that the executive branch wants them to be able “to compete on a level playing field” for relevant government funds.
In his remarks in the Rose Garden, Trump said, “We take this step because we know that, in solving the many, many problems and our great challenges, faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God.”
This new White House initiative will provide recommendations regarding policies that may affect faith-based and community organizations and will pay particular attention to the religious liberty rights of such groups. It will be led by a new advisor within the White House Office of Public Liaison who will coordinate with faith-based offices across the executive branch. For those agencies that do not have such centers, the executive order calls for them to designate a “Liaison for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.”
Vice President Mike Pence called this a “strong step to protect and promote Americans of faith, because in this White House, believers of every background have a champion in President Donald Trump.”
Moreover, Trump declared, “As President, I will always protect religious liberty.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: May 4, 2018