NEW YORK (BP) — Immediate past Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress are among a diverse group of evangelicals Donald Trump named June 21 to advise him on religion and politics.
Trump’s 25-member Evangelical Executive Advisory Board includes at least eight Southern Baptists. They were among more than 1,000 conservative faith leaders who attended a June 21 invitation-only question-and-answer session with Trump and Ben Carson in New York, hosted by United in Purpose and the one-year-old My Faith Votes, and moderated by former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
In the seven-hour Q&A at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Trump answered pre-submitted questions from conservative Christians on religious freedom of speech and conscience, sanctity of human life, U.S. Supreme Court nominations, national defense and other issues pertinent to the presidency.
Floyd said his attendance at the meeting and advisory board membership are not an endorsement of Trump’s U.S. presidential quest, but an “avenue to voice what matters to evangelicals.”
“In this critical time in America, knowing the stakes have never been higher in our nation and after seeking the counsel of godly men and praying through this decision, I have agreed to serve on the Evangelical Executive Advisory Board for Donald Trump,” Floyd told Baptist Press. “With the evangelical concerns of Supreme Court appointments, the sanctity and dignity of human life from the womb to the tomb, religious liberty at home and abroad, Israel and the Middle East, poverty, crime, violence, lack of opportunity in urban areas, and racial tension, I believe it is incumbent on me to serve in this advisory capacity.”
Event visionary, organizer and United in Purpose CEO Bill Dallas said the attendance of major ministry leaders and small-church pastors alike shows the concern and power of faith leaders to transform culture.
“This is not a political rally, but rather an opportunity to unify leaders spiritually in worship and pray together and interact with a candidate in a way that can have a profound impact on our nation,” Dallas said. “Our society often exalts those with the most influence but the real impact is all of us coming together. As Christian leaders, we must engage — not just in politics, but in all areas of culture. Jointly, we can make a difference.”
Newly elected SBC president Steve Gaines attended the meeting but chose not to comment to BP about the event, according to communications director Jim Barnwell at Gaines’ pastorate Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis.
Executive advisory board member Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, has supported Trump for months.
Read more at Floyd, Jeffress, others new Trump advisers.