Pastor Michael Anthony, who is president of the company Godfactor and founder of the National Week of Repentance, says he witnessed a much different Donald Trump at Tuesday’s evangelical meeting in Times Square.
“The meeting had an effect that I did not expect on me,” he said. “I saw a different Trump than I’d seen on television.”
“His posture said it all,” Anthony explained. “He sat the whole time and had his hands to his side for the majority of time. I saw a gentler demeanor here.”
During the meeting, in which Trump hosted 1,000 Christian activists and leaders from around the country, the GOP nominee shared how he was raised in a Presbyterian home and attended Sunday school on a regular basis. He lamented that we don’t see that anymore and we need to see it happen again, according to Anthony.
“He doesn’t speak evangelicalize…It was kind of like we’re checking each other out.”
“There was a palpable humility in the room that gets me kind of emotional to talk about it,” Anthony shared. “It was really unique.”
It ended, he said, with the entire room on their knees praying for revival for the country.
“I’ll tell you, it was something to see him on the platform. There was like an energy, there was a palpableness in the room, a tangible sense of seriousness about what we’re here for. A seriousness about where the nation is going and a humility that was truly amazing.”
About 10,000 questions were submitted ahead of the conference so not all the topics could be discussed. As such, Trump stuck to some of the most prominent issues like the First Amendment and the Supreme Court.
“He was very big on religious liberty,” Anthony said.
In what sounded like one of the most powerful moments of the day, Trump challenged the faith leaders to take advantage of their First Amendment rights.
“In a very calm, quiet way, with his arms folded, he said, ‘you religious leaders,’ he called us, ‘have every right to speak up and express yourselves, and you don’t. The First Amendment protects that right and yet you don’t.’”
Anthony said the room knew he was spot-on.
“He’s exhorting us and yet we know he’s right when he said it.”
In that moment, Anthony is convinced God was using Trump to move Christians to act to defend their religious freedom.
“I think God was speaking through him at that moment, to the church, to tell us why are you being silent about the most important thing about your lives?”
In regards to the Supreme Court vacancies, Anthony left the meeting convinced that Trump wants to appoint justices that believe that the Constitution should be adhered to.
Trump dove into specifics, Anthony said. He got especially “impassioned” when speaking about a law President Lyndon Johnson introduced that mandated churches can’t endorse political candidates or remark on policies from the pulpit.
“When I get in, we’re going to change that,” Trump said.
Anthony caught up with a few fellow Christian leaders after the event. He found that “leader after leader” was impressed by the meeting, including Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “I’m very encouraged” and Rev. Bill Owens, who Anthony said was “super encouraged.” Dr. James Dobson said he had “never seen anything like this in his years in ministry” and it was “historic.”
Anthony agrees. In his 20 years’ experience with pastors, Tuesday’s meeting was “unique” and “amazing” for its “vibe of humility.”
“I think that no matter what political party you’re a part of, if you were in this room today, you would have to admit there was a unity and a gentleness in this meeting that was remarkable.”
“If we can do this in a room of 1,000, I think there’s hope for the nation.”