Hundreds of pastors, evangelical leaders and social conservatives met with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in New York City Tuesday (June 21) to address "long-standing concerns" about his candidacy issues, including abortion, the pro-life movement, transgender rights and the question of religious liberty in the military and armed forces. During Trump's 2-hour window on stage, he answered pre-selected questions from attendees, and talked directly with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rev. Franklin Graham.
The event, called "A Conversation About America's Future with Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson" was held at the Marriott Marquis.
Kelly Shackelford, one of the nation's legal experts on religious freedom, was a member of a select group of conveners who organized the meeting. He also was one of six people designated to ask Trump a question during the conversation.
Shackelford said it was important to learn more about Trump's potential judicial appointments to the Supreme Court, as well as hundreds of judicial seats across America.
"For me, there are two ultimate issues in this election: religious freedom and the federal courts," Shackelford said following the meeting. "I was grateful that the No. 1 topic of today's conversation was religious liberty, giving us a good starting point to understand where Mr. Trump stands on the issue."
Shackelford asked Trump to explain what he would do to ensure religious liberty is protected for those of faith, which includes people such as First Liberty's client, Coach Joe Kennedy and other high school football coaches who could be fired for praying after games.
"Mr. Trump said attacks on faith like this need to stop, and I agree," said the religious freedom advocate.
Trump noted court officials will decide these types of cases, and said he plans to release a list of four to five more judicial candidates he would consider appointing.
"Although there is still more to learn about where Mr. Trump stands on some of the top religious freedom cases in America, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and military chaplains, I think today was a good start and I look forward to continuing the conversation," said Shackelford.
Other pastors and evangelical leaders in attendance, according to Fox News, included James Robison; Ralph Reed; Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Tony Perkins of Family Research Council; Carl Lentz, Hillsong church pastor and former Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Bill Dallas, head of the faith-based political non-profit United in Purpose, who co-organized the event along with Carson, told Fox News important issues to be ironed out were jobs, the economy, a strong military and Supreme Court picks.