While the mainstream media focuses on a joke made by President Donald J. Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, they’re ignoring his much more substantive comments such as his vow to protect religious liberty, defend persecuted Christians and repeal the oppressive Johnson Amendment which has been suppressing free speech at churches for decades.
Breitbart is reporting on the speech which took place at the annual multi-faith breakfast which is traditionally held on the first Thursday of February each year.
“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 promised to protect religious liberty in America and specifically mentioned repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a law which prohibits churches from opposing or endorsing political candidates and threatens offenders with the loss of tax-exempt status.
“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.
He was equally emphatic when speaking about the oppressive Johnson Amendment which has been a thorn in the side of churches for more than 60 years.
“I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution,” Trump said.
The president also warned about the targeting of Christians and “peaceful Muslims” by Islamic State terrorists as well as attacks against Jewish people.
“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.”
He went on to speak about his decision to temporarily restrict immigration from seven high-risk Middle East countries, saying it was necessary 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.
“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.”
Catholic League president Bill Donhonue cited the president’s most compelling remark to be about the right of Americans to “practice their beliefs without fear of hostility or fear of violence.”
“He did not say we are entitled to our beliefs—no one can stop us from believing what we want anyway—he said we have a right to practice them,” Donohue writes. “Thus did he separate himself from the language of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom spoke about ensuring our ‘freedom to worship’.”
The former president’s term suggests the right just to pray in church but not to practice that faith outside of those hallowed walls.
“Trump’s willingness to underscore our right to practice our religion rightly suggests that religious liberty is undermined if it does not entail our right to publicly act on it,” Donohue added.
This morning’s gathering included lawmakers and religious leaders from about 70 countries. First organized in 1953, the event is aimed at bringing political and religious leaders together to meet, pray, and build relationships.
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