NEW YORK, New York, June 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1000 evangelical, pro-life and conservative leaders assembled for a closed-door meeting with Donald Trump Tuesday, ready to size up the presumptive GOP nominee and his commitment to issues of concern to faith-based voters.
Originally planned as a private gathering of 400 social conservatives, “A Conversation About America’s Future with Donald Trump” was organized by the Christian groups United in Purpose and My Faith Votes.
Attendees of the invitation-only event were treated to a mixed bag of answers from Trump and came away with varied reactions.
The event drew some 50,000 questions for Trump on topics such as religious freedom, homosexuality, abortion and Supreme Court appointees, submitted to organizers in advance.
Religious leaders heard responses to their liking from Trump in the areas of religious freedom and potential Supreme Court appointments, but some expressed concern afterwards that he didn’t say enough on the life issue, and appeared to skirt other matters, including directly addressing threats to religious liberty via the advance of the gay rights agenda.
Event leaders met with Trump privately before he took the stage for questions in the morning after introductory remarks from Doctor Ben Carson, Reverend Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee moderated the Q and A.
After Trump left the event, a panel of conservative and pro-life leaders took questions directly from the audience, allowing participants and leaders to voice their thoughts.
Religious freedom was the preeminent topic at the event. The 1954 Johnson Amendment forbidding churches from endorsing candidates – controversial for what many argue has been its chilling effect on the First Amendment – repeatedly surfaced throughout the day.