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Pastor Samuel Rodriguez
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez

White House faith advisor: Donald Trump values faith input more than past presidents

by Tola Mbakwe

US megachurch pastor Samuel Rodriguez has praised Donald Trump for valuing input for faith leaders more than the past two American presidents. 

Pastor Rodriguez, senior Pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California, is also a current member of the White House Evangelical Advisory Board. He's advised President George W Bush, Barack Obama also, but insists that the board has been far more successful under Mr Trump. 

He told Premier Christian News:" This President has given us more access than any other president in American history. We can meet with this president on a monthly basis, and I don't mean for five minutes, and I don't mean with his chief of staff.  I mean with the president, and the president listens. 

"The President has given more access to the evangelical community than any other president in American history, arguably, without a doubt. And what we talk about later on becomes policy. That how I know it's not hype. It's not patronizing. It's not a political gimmick. It's not a pat on the back when we have conversations."

Rodriguez, who's also the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said during a dinner with the president and the Evangelical Advisory board in May 2017 that he told the Trump's senior advisor Jared Kushner about his passion for racial reconciliation and justice reform. 

He said that conversation eventually led to the First Step Act. The bipartisan law came into effect in December 2018. It reforms federal prisons and sentencing laws in order to lesson recidivism and decrease the federal inmate population. 

"I said let's look at the way that we sentence African-American young men in a way where their white counterparts got away for a nickel bag of marijuana back in the day, and then they're still in jail. It's not right," he recounted.

"So we looked at that, and that became law. That conversation inevitably became a piece of legislation that the president signed, and a number of African-Americans that were incarcerated have been released.

"It's not hype. It's actually our conversations are becoming productive outcomes, fruitful for the greater good."

Pastor Rodriguez, who when asked gave Mr Trump an eight out of ten for the way he led his presidency, told Premier he disagrees with the president's rhetoric and tone, but it hasn't stopped his support. 

"A tweet can't stop my destiny. A tweet doesn't impact my religious liberty. A tweet does not address a baby in the womb in the third trimester, but a policy does," he said. 

"When a President signs a bill making that a law that can impact my ability to preach the gospel because I'm a Christian, first and foremost. 

"There are values that drives me. I'm 100 per cent pro- life, 100 per cent pro-religious liberty and 100 per cent pro-biblical justice. So these tweets, I mean, on occasion, they're troublesome to me, but they're not policy. A policy is much more dangerous than a tweet. A policy can impact my children and my children's children."

The pastor urged UK Christians to pray for how the US Church responds to the election results. 

"Pray that this election does not harm the church," he said. 

"The church can't be divided. We cannot let our political affiliation cancel our prophetic assignment. Our primary assignment is to advance the gospel of Jesus to preach Christ."

Tune into Premier Christian Radio at 11am on 2nd November to listen to Premier's 1 hour US Election Special show. You will hear from US Christian leaders from both sides of the political spectrum. 

Listen to Premier's full interview with Pastor Samuel Rodriguez here: 

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