President Donald Trump has tapped two former evangelical leaders to serve as his new religious leaders in his administration.
Trump, who has frequently invoked the Bible in his speeches, announced Thursday he had tapped Dr. David Lane, the Rev. William Barber II and former Rev. Rick Warren to serve in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Lane, a former evangelical minister in the United Methodist Church, has served as a counselor for the Trump campaign, as a surrogate for Trump and as a co-chair of the President’s Faith and Family Advisory Council.
Barber was the first African-American to lead the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Lanes father, Dr. James Barber, was a nationally prominent evangelist and pastor in the UMC, and he has been involved in religious revival efforts in the South.
He has also led efforts to address the legacy of slavery in the past.
Warren, who previously worked for the National Association of Evangelicals, is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Lands father, former Baptist minister and founder of the First Baptist Church of Texas, died in 2005.
He is best known for his work as a religious leader in the 1990s as well as for his advocacy for the desegregation of public schools.
The Rev. Billy Graham, who was a mentor to Barber and Warren, will serve as the acting pastor of the UCC.
“We want to bring in somebody who is going to be really, really, deeply engaged in the mission of the president,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a speech announcing the appointments.
“He’s a very, very good leader, very, really committed to the mission.”
The appointment of the new religious advisers comes amid the Trump administration’s focus on religious outreach.
The president has made several visits to the region in recent weeks, most recently during his recent trip to the Middle East and North Africa.
During his visit to Saudi Arabia, the president told the Saudis to open up their schools, “not only to Christians, but to Muslims.”
The White House is also launching an outreach to evangelical leaders.
In January, the administration announced a plan to hire a group of prominent evangelical leaders, including Barber, Warren and the Revs.
Ralph Reed and Larry Harvey, to work on a national evangelical outreach effort.