On May 3, religious leaders in the United States celebrated the National Day of Prayer. As a political event, the day has grown in influence — and this year was no exception.
President Donald Trump enthusiastically embraced his new role as a gatekeeper of “religious liberty” for Christian evangelicals and Catholics throughout the nation. And this year he offered even more opportunities to the religious right than ever before, with the establishment of the “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.”
So what exactly does this initiative declare? Here’s everything you need to know about the push for even more — Christian — religious power in the US government.
1. Religious organizations can no longer be excluded from grants because they discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation or religious grounds.
The executive order reads:
The executive branch wants faith-based and community organizations, to the fullest opportunity permitted by law, to compete on a level playing field for grants, contracts, programs, and other Federal funding opportunities. The efforts of faith-based and community organizations are essential to revitalizing communities, and the Federal Government welcomes opportunities to partner with such organizations through innovative, measurable, and outcome-driven initiatives.
2. Faith-based organizations will be working in more areas of public policy than ever before.
According to the executive order, a liaison from the Faith-Based Initiatives program will seek out “experts” for potential opportunities in “poverty alleviation, religious liberty, strengthening marriage and family, education, solutions for substance abuse and addiction, crime prevention and reduction, prisoner reentry, and health and humanitarian services.”