President Trump won the support of most evangelicals and other pro-lifers, some of whom had qualms about him but believed that he would govern in their best interest. So how has he done after one year?
He became the first president to address the March for Life. Speaking by satellite, he pledged to help build “a society where life is celebrated, protected and cherished.” He told the thousands of demonstrators gathered for the annual protest against the Roe v. Wade ruling on Friday that “We are with you all the way.”
On the same day, the Trump administration announced two significant initiatives that prolifers and evangelicals will welcome.
The Department of Health and Human Services is adding to its civil rights office a Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom. This will protect health care professionals who refuse to participate in abortions or other medical procedures–such as sex change operations–that violate their beliefs.
This reverses an order to the contrary by the Obama administration that was set aside by a court order. The division will enforce previous federal laws protecting medical professionals from being forced to violate their conscience. With this new office, individuals whose rights are violated can file complaints, and offending institutions can lose their federal funding.Also on Friday the Trump administration announced the revocation of Obama-era guidelines that prevented states from defunding Planned Parenthood.
In addition to these substantive policy changes, President Trump has appointed conservative judges who will presumably be sympathetic to the pro-life cause, not just to the Supreme Court but on every level. He has also changed U.S. foreign policy away from promoting abortion in developing countries. He has also supported religious liberty, with his administration setting forth 20 principles of religious freedom that federal agencies must abide by.
Despite these tangible pro-life accomplishments, many Christians, of course, continue to criticize the president for his crudely-expressed prejudice against certain countries, for what they consider to be his heartless immigration policy, for his record of sexual transgressions, and other alleged moral failings. They also criticize him for ineffective management, poor national leadership, and what they consider to be various bad policies. Then again, there are other Christians who have problems with the president’s attitudes, while still appreciating his practical achievements in managing an improving economy and in enacting tax reform.
How should conservative Christians assess President Trump’s first year? Hasn’t he come through on the abortion issue? How does that balance out against some of these other concerns?
Photo of President Trump with Pro-life activists after signing H. J. Res. 43, removing an obstacle to states that wish to defund Planned Parenthood, by The White House from Washington, DC (President Trump’s First 100 Days: 79) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons