Trump’s evangelical pander: a sin or a violation of law?

By Jacob Lupfer

For a moment this week, it seemed as if the latest in a long line of President Trump’s political events with evangelical Christian leaders would pass without much notice.

Trump and the first lady hosted an event billed as a celebration of evangelicals’ contributions to our nation. Among the honorees were the Christian leaders who sit on Trump’s unofficial advisory board. What ensued was a political exchange designed to remind an important set of constituents what the president has done for them ahead of the midterm elections.

Normally, when Trump’s evangelical fan club enjoys the perks of presidential access — this occasion was billed as a “state-like dinner” — it hardly merits mention because its unfolding is so predictable: Evangelicals show up to laud the president, who in turn touts his own accomplishments on what supposedly constitutes their political wish list.

But this time the praise session backfired: On Thursday (Aug. 30), Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a watchdog organization, filed a letter asking that the advisory board stop meeting “until it complies with federal sunshine laws.”  

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