President Donald Trump emphasized the importance of religious liberty Thursday, saying, “In America, we celebrate faith.”
Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Trump discussed the many different groups around the world who endure religious persecution.
“As I said on Tuesday in the House chamber, in America, we don’t punish prayer, we don’t tear down crosses, we don’t ban symbols of faith, we don’t muzzle preachers, we don’t muzzle pastors,” Trump said.
“In America, we celebrate faith. We cherish religion. We lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our eyes to the glory of God.”
Trump also pointed out that dignitaries from over 140 countries attended the National Prayer Breakfast.
“Everyone here today is united by your shared conviction,” the president said. “We know our nation is stronger, our future is brighter and her joy is greater, when we turn to God and ask him to shed his grace on our lives.”
Trump said that as his administration seeks to revive the American economy, it is also “renewing our national spirit.”
‘Today, we proudly proclaim that faith is alive and well and thriving in America and we are going to keep it that way,” the president said. “Nobody will have it changed, it won’t happen as long as I’m here. It will never, ever happen.”
“We are standing up for persecuted Christians and religious minorities all around the world,” Trump added. “Like nobody has ever done.”
Trump reminded the audience that “last year at the United Nations, I was honored to be the first president to host a meeting of religious freedom that was based all on religious items.”
“That was the first meeting of its kind ever held at the United Nations,” Trump said. “And there, I called upon all nations to combat the terrible injustice of religious persecution. And people listened. I know countries that we give billions of dollars to, they listened because they had to listen. It’s amazing how that works, isn’t it?”
The National Prayer Breakfast came less than two days after Trump’s Tuesday night State of the Union address, where Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a public statement by ripping up the president’s speech as he closed his remarks.
Trump made a veiled reference to Pelosi on Thursday morning, as the House speaker sat in the audience, saying, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say I pray for you when they know that’s not so. So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on.”
“I will be discussing that a little bit later at the White House,” the president added.
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