President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to create a new faith-based initiative ensuring the government’s cooperation with religious communities.
Trump unveiled the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative in a Rose Garden ceremony on the National Day of Prayer. The executive order established the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative within the Office of the President to help ensure that all departments of the federal government, as opposed to only faith offices, work with faith-based communities on issues like poverty and the preservation of religious liberty, according to the White House.
“Today we are launching another historic action to promote religious freedom,” Trump said at the ceremony, surrounded by leaders of various faiths.
“The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, in our communities, and in our great country. This office will also help ensure that faith based organizations have equal access to government funding and the equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs,” Trump added.
The initiative will advise the administration on opportunities to partner with faith-based organizations and communities to address poverty. It will also alert the administration to any ways in which current policies breach religious liberty and make recommendations on how to rectify those breaches. Executive departments without Centers for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives will appoint liaisons to the initiative.
“We take this step because we know that in solving the many, many problems and our great challenges that faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God.”
Trump signed the executive order after sharing the testimony of John Ponder, a former bank robber-turned-Christian minister who runs the ministry Hope For Prisoners, and invoking God’s blessing on the U.S.
“Today we gather to remember this truth – we thank God for the faith of our people. We praise God for the blessings of freedom. And we ask God to forever bless this magnificent land that we all love so much. America,” Trump said.
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