Donald Trump is launching a new drive to give faith groups a stronger voice in government.
The US president is expected to sign an executive order on Thursday, which is the National Day of Prayer, for the new initiative that will also act to restrain government's interference with religious liberty.
The White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative will 'ensure that the faith-based and community organisations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government', a White House document read, according to RNS.
The order will be signed in a Rose Garden ceremony, the site reported, and was immediately welcomed by Trump's evangelical supporters, including Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham.
NEW: @realDonaldTrump to sign Executive Order Thursday establishing the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. @Franklin_Graham says, “I’m extremely grateful that we have a president who realizes the importance of prayer, faith, and religious freedoms to our nation.”— David Brody (@TheBrodyFile) 3 May 2018
The initiative will mean faith groups can make policy recommendations for 'more effective solutions to poverty,' the White House said, and also act as a watchdog for 'any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law'.
It comes after President Obama launched the the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and George W Bush Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
However Johnnie Moore, a public relations specialist who acts as an unofficial spokesman for the informal body of evangelical advisers to Trump, said Trump's initiative would be more wide reaching and prominent.
'Ordering every department of the federal government to work on faith based partnerships – not just those with faith offices – represents a widespread expansion of a programme that has historically done very effective work and now can do even greater work,' he told RNS.
But Michael Wear, Barack Obama's former faith adviser, criticised evangelical leaders' praise of Trump.
Rudy Giuliani just confirmed President Trump paid off a porn star in order to HELP the president, and so of course evangelical leaders will be at The White House tomorrow for the National Day of Prayer and signing of Trump's faith-based executive order.— Michael Wear (@MichaelRWear) 3 May 2018