“To say no to President Trump would be saying no to God. And I won’t do that.” This is just one of many statements made by President Trump’s longtime spiritual advisor, Paula White. Besides what’s on the surface, what makes this statement particularly troubling is that the “prosperity gospel” pastor was just named as head of the White House’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative.
Once upon a time not so long ago, one would be shocked to hear such a statement from a West Wing advisor. Unfortunately, White joins a long list of extreme Christian conservative advisors to the president who demonstrate a blatant disregard for the separation of church and state. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will explore how the religious right has made a home in the Oval Office.
The United States was founded on religious freedom, and for decades, the executive branch has respected the importance of government free from religious persuasion — particularly in terms of policy. Since the Trump administration took office, this ideal has seemingly eroded from the top down, as Christian supremacists continue to have the president’s ear in various offices and departments. Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss his ongoing work documenting the rise of this theocratic ideology in the highest office in the land.
On this show, we often discuss constitutional liberties and religious freedom. But, to many, these concepts may seem abstract, irrelevant to daily life, or even out of reach. Melissa Rogers, former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is aiming to fix that with her new book, Faith in American Public Life. Welton will sit down with Melissa to learn more about her book, which focuses on the role of religion in the public square and uniquely provides both scholars and general practitioners with the tools to champion pluralism.