By Dominic Holden
When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, moderates and liberals noted he hadn’t embraced the strident right-wing agenda of his evangelical running mate, Mike Pence. But on Thursday, Trump’s White House kicked off a press briefing with a few words of fealty to the faithful base: “Happy Religious Freedom Day.”
And what a day it promised to be for Christian conservatives, who have witnessed their agenda rise the past three years in a mountain of new policies. On a call with reporters, the White House announced a dozen new rules and guidance memos designed to ensure less regulation and more money flows to religious organizations, churches, and social service providers — while advancing prayer in public schools.
Most theatrically, Trump will hold an Oval Office event with kids on Thursday “celebrating” new guidance to affirm the right to prayer in public elementary, middle, and high schools, according to Joe Grogan, a former pharmaceutical lobbyist who is now director of the US Domestic Policy Council. “It will empower students and others to know and exercise their rights,” he said.
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