At the recent World Congress of Families summit, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was spoken of often and admiringly, but U.S. President Donald Trump was rarely mentioned from the stage. One exception came from Greg Johnson, a former Mormon turned evangelical pastor who now organizes evangelical-Mormon dialogues.
Johnson was moderator of a Saturday session called “Faith—Promoting the Family from Religious Perspectives.” He announced that each of the seven speakers would have about nine or ten minutes to speak, then took about twice that amount for himself.
Johnson urged unity among Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelicals and Mormon believers around their common belief in family, saying, “You see, the forces of evil are united, united they are, against our cause, against the sanctity of life, against the sanctity of marriage, against the sanctity of fatherhood and motherhood, against the sanctity of our children…”
Johnson cited Trump’s election as a reason for people not to lose heart:
Two years ago, in 2016, a very famous American evangelist, Mr. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, went to every state across America, to the capitals, and called upon Christians everywhere to pray to God for the future of our country. We did not ask God to elect Donald Trump, we did not ask God to elect Hillary Clinton, we just prayed that God would guide the process.
We all know what happened in America. Many of us in the faith community do certainly, honestly struggle with some of the behaviors of our president, some of his past actions. But then we say to ourselves… that he has stood for religious freedom, nominated members of the court that stand for the sanctity of life, and we are very pleased by that, and we believe that he is standing up for the unborn, and so we give thanks for the fact that God has answered our prayers in America for a president who will stand up against abortion, who will stand up for religious freedom, and who will do these kind of things.
Johnson said that Graham had urged people to pray about being more engaged, and said that he himself had been inspired to run for the state legislature in Utah. He said he is running against a “very liberal” incumbent who supports abortion. Commentators say his opponent has the money and influence to win, he said, but “David fought Goliath, and with God, David won. I will take the Lord in this effort, and I am responding to the opportunity, the invitation to engage and I will leave the result to God.”
Among the endorsers listed on Johnson’s campaign site are U.S. Sen. Mike Lee—rated the most ideologically right-wing member of the U.S. Senate in one study—and U.K. attorney Paul Diamond, another speaker at the World Congress of Families summit in Moldova.