Evangelicals diverge on Trump’s Haiti comments
by Evan Wilt
Posted 1/12/18, 04:07 pm
WASHINGTON—Evangelical leaders offered mixed responses Friday to President Donald Trump’s reported comments about Haiti. Michael Farris, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, said he’s tried to praise the president when he does well but called his latest comments indefensible. “He speaks for our country on the international stage,” Farris wrote on his Facebook page. “We want and deserve to have him act with dignity. Just once I would like to hear him say that he was wrong and ask for forgiveness.” The Washington Post first reported on Thursday that Trump used an obscenity to refer to Haiti and other impoverished nations to which the United States offers refuge after natural disasters. Trump denied he made disparaging comments about Haiti—a claim some lawmakers in the room with him on Thursday say is untrue. Ed Stetzer, a Southern Baptist who teaches at Wheaton College and serves as interim pastor at the Moody Church in Chicago, slammed the president in an op-ed published Friday morning. “Trump has courted evangelicals, some of whom have had access to him and his administration,” Stetzer wrote. “I hope those evangelical leaders will speak clearly, reminding Trump that all people are worthy of dignity and respect because they are made in the image of God.” But Johnnie Moore, spokesman for Trump’s evangelical advisory council, defended the president, telling the Post in a statement the reported comments are “absolutely suspect and politicized.” Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, said he supported the president’s views, if not his choice of words. Many of Trump’s other top evangelical advisers and supporters, including Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association president Franklin Graham, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson have not weighed in publicly.
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Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.