Trump campaign event to feature evangelical pastors and right-wing extremists

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Thursday's 'Evangelicals for Trump' event will include anti-LGBTQ activists, a prosperity gospel televangelist, and a live band.

Six of Donald Trump's most virulently anti-LGBTQ supporters are planning to host a campaign event on Thursday evening in Georgia.

The Trump campaign announced Tuesday that "Evangelicals for Trump: Praise, Prayer, and Patriotism" will feature "a local live band, prayer, and remarks." The event will be held inside a luxury hotel in Alpharetta, a suburb 30 minutes north of Atlanta.

The six evangelical Trump backers listed as attending the event have a long history of anti-LGBTQ activism and right-wing extremism. They are Jentezen Franklin, Harry Jackson, Alveda King, Richard Lee, Ralph Reed, and Paula White.

Jentezen Franklin

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Jentezen Franklin is a televangelist and senior pastor of a Georgia-based church called Free Chapel. He has a long record of opposing LGBTQ rights.

In 2012, he tweeted that he felt "a real sadness for America with the announcement of Gay Marriage support from Pres. Obama. Bible is clear this is sin."

In 2014, he posted on his website that it was time to "stop complaining that there is not a voice in government that will speak against immorality, against the business of murdering unborn children, against human trafficking, against the homosexual agenda" and called on his followers to become that voice.

Two years later, he suggested in a post that because "over 4 million Christians stayed at home and didn't vote" in the 2012 presidential election, marriage had been "redefined," "Catholic hospitals and Christian doctors and pharmacists [had been] forced to administer care that is in direct conflict with their values and beliefs," and businesses had been "sued again and again for not toeing the line on social agendas supported by activist judges with clear political bias. And we have seen violence and racial divide all across our land as division sets in, instigated by the highest offices in the land," Franklin said.

Earlier this month, Michael Evans, an evangelical who serves as an adviser to Trump, filed a lawsuit against Franklin and his ministry, alleging fraud, unjust enrichment, and deceptive practices. Evans claimed Franklin had raised money that he said would go to feed and support Holocaust survivors in Israel but had not delivered most of the funds as promised.

Franklin did not immediately respond to an inquiry for comment for this story, but his office told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that there was no basis for the accusations.

Harry Jackson Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, is a leading opponent of LGBTQ equality. In 2009, he unsuccessfully pushed to include on the ballot in Washington, D.C., a referendum on declaring marriage to be between one man and one woman. "I just feel like I'm on a mission," he told the Washington Post at the time. "It's not a mission of hate. It's a mission to protect godly boundaries."

At a 2012 rally, he warned that Satan was behind the push for marriage equality, saying, "The Enemy wants it to be a legacy, or a seed that is planted in this generation that corrupts, perverts and pollutes."

In 2013, he told a rally hosted by the anti-marriage equality group National Organization for Marriage that God had "given us an architectural plan of how to heal the barren places in urban America. He says that marriage between a man and a woman will heal the desert places in urban America."

"When a man and a woman are in the house, poverty is lessened. When a man and a woman are in the house, kids don’t go to prison. When a man and a woman are in the house, there’s less domestic violence. When a man and a woman are in the house, sexual abuse does not happen," he falsely claimed.

Jackson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for comments for this story.

Alveda King

Alveda King, head of the anti-abortion Alveda King Ministries and a Fox News contributor, is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In 2010, King likened marriage equality to genocide. "It's been statistically proven that … [marriage between a man and a woman] guarantees the continuity of the generations. We don't want genocide, we don't want to destroy the sacred institution of marriage," she said at another rally hosted by the National Organization for Marriage.

In 2015, she opposed legal recognition for same-sex marriages, saying, "I believe the Bible. I don't believe that two men or two women can join in what's called 'holy' matrimony and so should I be forced to go against my own beliefs in favor of a different belief?"

Asked about her anti-LGBTQ views, King said in an email that she is for "humanity" and supports the U.S. Constitution and "the clear connection to a biblical world view therein."

"As such, I believe we are not separate races; we are one blood, one human race. Racial division is a socially engineered, divisive concept," she wrote.

Richard Lee

Richard Lee, the former pastor of several Atlanta-area churches, runs There's Hope America broadcasting.

In his book "In God We Still Trust: A 365-Day Devotional," published in 2011, Lee wrote, "Preserving the traditional family is vital to America's future. We must join together to maintain the God-ordained truth that marriage is one man and one woman committed to each other for life. Beyond being a basic unit of society, the family is a sacred institution."

In 2016, he wrote that Georgia's "Pastor Protection" bill, which affirmed that clergy would not be forced to officiate at same-sex weddings, was "a first blow against the liberal/progressive/perverted agenda that wants to declare God dead and His people helpless."

In a 2018 blog post titled "Why Libs Hate America's History," Lee denounced the "rioting and destruction by so called students and the social justice warrior/thugs who are instructed and rewarded for acting out like spoiled rebellious little brats instead of maturing young adults studying how to improve their lives and the lives of others."

Lee did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed, the head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and the former executive director of the Christian Coalition, has been a major figure in the Christian conservative movement for decades. He was also an unsuccessful 2006 Republican candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor.

In a film titled "Gay Rights Special Rights," produced by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1993, Reed compared LGBTQ people with polygamists and unfaithful spouses. "No one should have special rights or privileges or minority status because of their sexual behavior. We don't have it for people who are polygamists; we don't have it for people who have affairs on their wives or husbands," he said.

In an op-ed published in 2013 by USA Today, Reed called a federal employment nondiscrimination bill "a dagger aimed at the heart of religious freedom for millions of Americans."

That same year, the Faith and Freedom Coalition pushed for the federal government to stop giving grants to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., because the church performed same-sex unions. "We demand an immediate suspension of any current or future federal funds to this institution, until such time that it ceases the practice of homosexual 'marriage' certification," it wrote.

Reed did not immediately respond to a request for comments for this story.

Paula White

Paula White, a prosperity gospel televangelist and one of Trump's "spiritual advisers," heads Paula White Ministries. She joined Trump's White House Office of Public Liaison in November to work on his Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

White has called down the power of God against those she views as satanic and demonic enemies of Donald Trump. "We are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, against rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places," she said in a sermon in June 2019. "So right now let every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken, let it be torn down in the name of Jesus."

In a sermon in January, she said, "We declare that anything that's been conceived in satanic wombs, that it will miscarry, it will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm.” She later said she had been speaking metaphorically.

This past weekend, the twice-divorced White told congregants, "It's not okay to have an abortion. It's not okay to marry the same sex ... it's not okay, even if it's culturally acceptable."

White did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Coronavirus cases have spiked in Georgia, where more than 145,000 people have tested positive for the virus and at least 3,176 have died.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.