- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2018

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday creating a White House office on faith initiatives that will help to ensure religious groups have access to government funding.

At a Rose Garden event on the National Day of Prayer, Mr. Trump signed the order that he called an “historic action to promote religious freedom.”

“This office will also help ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and the equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs,” Mr. Trump said. “We take this step because we know that in solving the many, many problems and our great challenges, faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God.”

Previous administrations have established faith-based offices in the White House; Mr. Trump said his new office will provide recommendations on policy with a special aim of delivering more effective solutions to poverty.

“The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities and our great country,” he said.

Among those attending the ceremony were John Ponder of Las Vegas, a convicted felon who turned his life around through faith and established Hope for Prisoners, an organization that helps former inmates. He was joined by FBI Agent Richard Beasley, the man who arrested him and later became his lifelong friend.

“John and Richard, you are a living testament to the power of prayer,” the president told them. “Your story reminds us that prayer changes hearts and transforms lives.”

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