Evangelical advisers stay with Trump as others criticize him

(AP) One of President Donald Trump’s most steadfast constituencies has been standing by him amid his defense of a white nationalist rally in Virginia, even as business leaders, artists and Republicans turn away.

Only one of Trump’s evangelical advisers has quit the role, while presidential boards in other fields saw multiple defections before being dismantled. The Rev. A.R. Bernard, pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn and one of the most influential clergymen in New York, announced his decision Friday night, saying “there was a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration.”

Trump’s evangelical council members have strongly condemned the bigotry behind the Charlottesville march by white nationalists and neo-Nazis over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. But regarding Trump, they have offered either praise for his response or gentle critiques couched within complaints about how he has been treated by his critics and the media.

Like other presidents before him, Trump has turned to religious leaders for counsel and support. Trump’s evangelical advisers include pastors who had worked with his campaign, and now pray with him and consult with his staff on issues ranging from religious liberty in the U.S. to the persecution of Christian minority populations in the Middle East. [More]

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