Pruitt Says God Justifies His Environmental Policies

EPA chief Scott Pruitt told the Christian Broadcasting Network that his religious convictions led him to conclude that America should use coal freely.

Said Pruitt: “The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind.”

Billy Graham Is Dead

New York Times: “The Rev. Billy Graham, a North Carolina farmer’s son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nation’s best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died on Wednesday at his home. He was 99.”

“Mr. Graham spread his influence across the country and around the world through a combination of religious conviction, commanding stage presence and shrewd use of radio, television and advanced communication technologies.”

Trump Adviser Says You Don’t Need a Flu Shot

Gloria Copeland, a controversial minister on President Trump’s evangelical advisory board, said flu shots aren’t necessary when you have Jesus, the HuffPost reports.

Said Copeland: “Inoculate yourself with the word of God.”

She said the faithful who don’t have the flu can ward off the infection by repeatedly saying, “I’ll never have the flu. I’ll never have the flu.”

Millions Believe God Made Trump President

“If Donald Trump gets a little bored on his flight home from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he can always page through a book handed to him by a delegate not long after he arrived: God and Donald Trump,Politico reports.

“The volume, written by Stephen Strang, a leading Pentecostal figure and the longtime publisher of Charisma magazine, is an easy read—part spiritual hagiography, part Fox News bulletin and part prophecy. It ultimately says far less about Trump than about the charismatic Pentecostals who were some of his earliest religious supporters and who now view his election as the fulfillment of God’s will.”

Brownback Will Get Another Shot at Trump Job

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is going to get another chance to join the Trump administration, the Kansas City Star reports.

“President Trump will formally renominate the Kansas Republican late Monday to become ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom… Brownback was first nominated last July but failed to receive a confirmation vote in the Senate after resistance from Democrats over his record on LGBT rights.”

Bannon Bashes Romney Over His Religion

“Steve Bannon bashed Mitt Romney for, as he put it, hiding behind his religion to avoid getting drafted into the Vietnam War,” CNN reports.

Said Bannon: “Mitt, here’s how it is, brother: The college deferments, we can debate that — but you hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam.”

First Read: “After Bannon’s vicious attack on Romney and his sons, how does Romney – who’s a competitive guy – respond? Does he think about potentially challenging Trump in 2020? Does he consider running for the Senate, even with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) looking like he’s gearing up for another term? Or does Romney back down?”

“Remember, Romney and Trump are pretty much the polar opposites of the Republican Party. And if 2020 started tomorrow, Trump would probably get a primary challenge from someone like a Romney or a Flake or a John Kasich.”

Why Evangelicals Stick with Trump

Stuart Rothenberg: “I’ve been watching evangelical voting behavior since I worked for Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation in the 1980s, and I’ve come to believe that, in most cases (though certainly not all), white evangelicals get their religion from their politics, not their politics from their religion.”

“That is, many evangelicals are first and foremost political conservatives drawn to a church (or a pastor) that confirms their worldviews and, in turn, their political views.”

“They gravitate to evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches that are spread across the American landscape, particularly in rural and small-town America, because those churches hold views about the Bible and human behavior that are traditional rather than pragmatic. Not surprisingly, most of those church members are politically conservative, particularly on social/cultural issues but increasingly also on the role of government.”

GOP Tax Bill Would Politicize Churches

Think Progress: “The newly unveiled Republican tax reform bill includes a provision that will likely make leaders of the Religious Right very happy—by amending a part of the tax law that keeps churches from engaging in explicit political advocacy.”

“Embedded within the bill’s more than 400 pages is a small provision that would change an aspect of the so-called ‘Johnson Amendment,’ a provision of the tax codes that prohibits churches, faith communities, and other non-profits from outright endorsing political candidates.”

The Dawn of the Evangelical-Nationalist Alliance

Politico: “For many evangelicals and conservative Catholics, ‘Make America Great Again’ meant above all else returning to a time when the culture reflected and revolved around their Judeo-Christian values. When there was prayer in public schools. When marriage was limited to one man and one woman. When abortion was not prevalent and socially acceptable. When the government didn’t ask them to violate their consciences. And yes, when people said ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays.'”

“Anyone expecting the evangelical right to shy away from Trumpworld’s hardball approach to politics hasn’t been paying attention the past 18 months. Many Christian voters embraced Trump not despite his provocative style but because of it, betting on a brash street brawler to win the culture battles they had been losing for generations. And their faith has been rewarded: From abortion policy to religious liberty to judicial appointments, Trump has delivered for social conservatives more than any other constituency, making them the unlikely cornerstone of his coalition.”

Bannon Blasts Church Response to Trump’s DACA Plan

Stephen Bannon criticized the response of the Catholic Church to President Trump’s plan to end DACA after the decision was condemned as “reprehensible,” CBS News reports.

Said Bannon: “They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. That’s– it’s obvious on the face of it.”

He added: “I totally respect the pope and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion.”

Trump Calls on Religious Leaders to Thank Him

Mediaite: “So, remember that one time when President Donald Trump held a Cabinet meeting and everyone at the table outdid themselves when it came to heaping praise on POTUS? Well, we got a similar situation today during a signing ceremony in the Oval Office in which Trump had a bunch of religious leaders surround him and profusely thank the president for his response to Hurricane Harvey.”

“With the president proclaiming that this coming Sunday will be a day of prayer for Harvey victims, he began going around the room and calling on different faith leaders to give remarks. And, wouldn’t you know, they all tripped over each other to express their gratitude for all the president had done so far.”

“After he was finished going around the room to get his praise, Trump turned it over to Pastor (and Fox News contributor) Robert Jeffress to lead the room in prayer, with some placing their hands on the president.”