President Trump's controversial ban on transgender individuals serving in the US Military, announced this week, was reportedly discussed at a meeting with evangelical Christian leaders two weeks prior, and has won the approval of other high-profile evangelicals.
David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network reported the news via Twitter on Wednesday, tweeting: 'NEW ON @TheBrodyFile: Faith advisors to @realDonaldTrump discussed strategy to reverse transgenders in military policy at WH two weeks ago'.
He added that evangelical leaders had also sent a signed letter to Trump this week advising him to reverse the current transgender policy. He summarised: 'The transgender announcement by @POTUS is more proof that @realDonaldTrump has become a dream come true for conservative evangelicals'.
The President tweeted on Wednesday: 'Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military'.
It hasn't been confirmed, but the meeting Brody referred to may have been the July 10 gathering of Christian leaders at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, as RNS reported. It was after that meeting that a viral image of evangelical leaders laying hands on Trump in prayer was taken and shared online.
Adding to evangelical Christian support for Trump's decision, the evangelist and Trump-ally Franklin Graham also backed the decision in a post on Facebook yesterday. He shared an article from 'former transgender' Walt Heyer which made the case for Trump's decision, saying: 'the US military is a fighting force, not a gender clinic.'
Graham commented: 'Why should our military veterans suffer without the medical care they need while we pay extravagant medical costs for people who think they want to change their gender!'
Trump's decision drew a range of reactions from religious leaders, including intense criticism, as RNS reported. But established Trump-allies were clear in their endorsement of the move. These included Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church Dallas, and founder of Focus on the Family James Dobson who called the President's decision 'heartening'.
However, The Episcopal Church's presiding bishop Michael Curry was among those who criticised Trump.
He said: 'I am compelled to oppose these actions and to affirm the moral principle of equal rights for all persons, including the LGBTQ communities. I do so as a follower of Jesus Christ, as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and as a citizen who loves this country.'