Donald Trump has won a standing ovation from hundreds of skeptical Christian conservatives in New York City as he pushed the right buttons for many of them, but he has still left significant evangelicals rejecting him.
In his comments June 22, the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee said he would end a decades-old ban on tax-exempt groups that included churches, politicking, called religious liberty "the No. 1 question," and he pledged to appoint antiabortion Supreme Court judges.
"I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity - and other religions - is to allow you, when you talk religious liberty, to go and speak openly, and if you like somebody or want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do it," Trump said.
A ban was put in place by President Lyndon Johnson on tax-exempt groups making explicit political endorsements and Trump said religious leaders in America today, "are petrified," The Washington Post reported
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee spoke from the stage and said the reception for Trump was warm Dobson and he thanked him for spending time with the group.
James Dobson. Richard Land. Ralph Reed, Ronnie Floyd, who just ended his term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention and Jerry Falwell Jr. were there to wave the Christian Right flag, The Atlantic reported.
The Atlantic noted, however, "Only three women made the cut on the list of 25 names: Paula White, the pastor at New Destiny Christian Center in Florida; Michele Bachmann, the former congresswoman; and Gloria Copeland, who's listed with her husband as the founder of Kenneth Copeland Ministries."
Many of those Chrisitans might have been hoping that Senator Ted Cruz, was the man on the stage, but he fell short in challenging Trump and they had to settle for a man who has Chrsitian credential they do not necessarily embrace..
Marjorie Danenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, a group working to oppose abortion said, "I believe that he came across very well as a messenger for everybody in the room, not just as a beneficiary of evangelical votes but as a fellow traveler.
"That's not necessarily an easy distance for him to have traveled because people didn't see him like that before."
She said, "He made no missteps. There were no explosions."
But that was not how all conservative evangelicals viewed the meeting.
"Trump's meeting with evangelical leaders marks the end of the Christian Right," opined The Christian Post in an op-ed piece on June 21.
Michael Farris, chancellor of Patrick Henry College a Christian Right leader was at the very first meeting of the Moral Majority held in Indianapolis in February of 1980.
He explained that he was told by the meeting organizer he had not been invited for being too vocal in his criticism of the presumptive Republican Party candidate for the U.S. presidential election.
"While I don't question the motives of those who are trekking to the Tower, I strongly dissent from the wisdom of their chosen path," Fariss wrote.
"This meeting marks the end of the Christian Right.
"The premise of the meeting in 1980 was that only candidates that reflected a biblical worldview and good character would gain our support."
Farris said, "Today, a candidate whose worldview is greed and whose god is his appetites (Philippians 3) is being tacitly endorsed by this throng.
"They are saying we are Republicans no matter what the candidate believes and no matter how vile and unrepentant his character.
They are not a phalanx of God's prophets confronting a wicked leader, this is a parade of elephants."
Religion News Service cited seven Christian leaders who have made less-than-enthusiastic statements about "the businessman-turned-reality TV star-turned candidate."
They were: Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & R, teligious Liberty Commission; Denny Burk, a professor of biblical studies at Boyce College; author Max Lucado; Thabiti Anyabwile, the pastor of Anacostia River Church and council member of The Gospel Coalition; Erick Erickson, the conservative blogger behind The Resurgent; Robbie George, a Catholic who is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and Alan Noble, editor of the website Christ and Pop Culture.