President Donald Trump praised America’s faith-based values, vowing to defend them from an increasingly dangerous world, in a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday.
“America will thrive as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God,” Trump said. “That faith in God has inspired men and women to sacrifice for the needy, to deploy to wars overseas, and lock arms at home to ensure equal rights for every man, woman, and child in our land.”
He vowed to protect religious liberty in America, specifically promising to get rid of the Johnson Amendment, which prevents churches and faith-based organizations from endorsing and opposing political candidates.
“Our republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God,” Trump said.
But Trump warned that Islamic State terrorists were specifically targeting Christians and “peaceful Muslims.” He also mentioned that the Jewish people were under attack from terrorists.
“The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out. That’s what I do,” Trump said. “I fix things. We’re going the straighten it out. Believe me.”
The president paid tribute to slain Navy SEAL Mark Owens and quoted John 15:13 to recognize his sacrifice. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” he said.
Trump also used his speech to defend his decision to restrict refugees and immigration from seven high-risk Middle East countries, calling it a “necessary” step to prevent opponents of American values from entering the country.
“We will not allow a beachhead of intolerance to spread in our nation,” he said, promising to develop an immigration system to only allow people into the country who would share American values.
“In the coming days, we will develop a system to help ensure that those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty and that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination,” Trump said. “We want people to come into our nation, but we want people to love us and to love our values, not to hate us and to hate our values.”
Trump spoke about his mother, who raised him with faith, and he explained that personal wealth fails to bring true happiness.
“I tell you that from somebody who has had material success and knows tremendous numbers of people with great material success, the most material success,” he said. “Many of those people are very, very miserable, unhappy people, and I know a lot of people without that, but they have great families. They have great faith.”