Many of Trump’s promises, including his emphasis on “Merry Christmas,” included direct appeals to religious voters, especially to evangelical voters who came out and voted overwhelmingly in favor of him. His spiritual cabinet during the campaign was made up of conservative Christian leaders, many of whom identify with the prosperity gospel movement that links faith with wealth. So what exactly were those promises he made? Washington Post reporter Jenna Johnson, who covered Trump’s campaign, outlined 282 of his promises from speeches, tweets and websites. Here are some of the key religion-related ones.
Then-campaign manager Kellyanne Conway mistakenly said on television that Trump had a “five-point plan to defeat Islam.” She later corrected her comment to say “radical Islam,” and Trump’s plan to counter Islamic terrorism was a highlight of his campaign. His plan included a ban on Muslim immigrants, halting the arrival of refugees fleeing war-ravaged Syria and monitoring mosques in the United States.
During his campaign, Trump said he would support the creation of a database to register Muslims, telling NBC News that he “would certainly implement that — absolutely.” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is considered one of Trump’s top advisers, told Reuters that advisers have discussed preparing a policy proposal for a Muslim registry.
The Supreme Court and abortion
Trump said he would pick Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion, a direct appeal to voters who oppose abortion rights and see the court as a key battleground for abortion laws. Supreme Court observers note he might be in position to choose more than just a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died this year. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83, Stephen G. Breyer is 78 and Anthony M. Kennedy is 80.
The president-elect repeatedly told evangelical leaders he would get rid of the Johnson Amendment, which prevents tax-exempt organizations such as churches from endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit.
“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 told evangelical leaders in June.
Health care and LGBT issues
Conservative religious groups sounded the alarm during President Obama’s administration over concerns that LGBT rights and reproductive rights would override religious rights. These issues flared during the debates over the Affordable Care Act and funding of abortion and contraception and over issues such as whether a bakery would have to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Trump promised to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, legislation that would prevent any federal agency from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license or certification to an individual, association or business that discriminates against people who are gay. On his website, he also made reference to the Little Sisters of the Poor, nuns who have been in a long battle over a contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
“The Little Sisters of the Poor, or any religious order for that matter, will always have their religious liberty protected on my watch and will not have to face bullying from the government because of their religious beliefs,” his website said.
Trump said families would be allowed to spend education funds on private, charter, magnet, religious or home schooling, an issue Vice President-elect Mike Pence has been passionate about in Indiana as the state’s governor.
Trump said his first budget would provide $20 billion in federal funding to create state-run block grants to help students enroll in charter and private schools. His choice of Betsy DeVos for education secretary reflects his promises on education by choosing someone who has been an advocate for school vouchers, something she became passionate about while observing families at a Christian school.
Israel and foreign policy
Trump has promised to be a “true friend to Israel,” saying that the United States will “be working with Israel very closely, very, very closely.” Trump denounced the nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “catastrophic” for the United States, Israel and the Middle East and called for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He said if the United Nations were to impose an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, he would push for the United States to use its veto power.
In his speech at Liberty University earlier this year, Trump told the crowd that if he is elected, Americans will see the phrase “Merry Christmas.” “When was the last time you saw ‘Merry Christmas’? You don’t see it anymore. They want to be politically correct. If I’m president, you will see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me, believe me.”
Finally, Trump says we will be a nation under one God. “Imagine what our country could accomplish if we started working together as one people under one God saluting one flag,” Trump told voters this fall.