President Donald Trump told a gathering of pumped-up Christian conservatives on Friday that he’s keeping his promise to stop government intrusion into people’s faiths and return the country to more traditional values.
“In America, we don’t worship government, we worship God,” Trump declared to a cheering crowd at the Values Voters Summit in Washington. “How times have changed,” he added, ” but you know what? Now they are changing back again, just remember that.”
Trump, the first sitting president to address the Values Voter Summit, cited the promises he’s fulfilled, including the revocation of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibited religious nonprofit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. He also cited his administration’s efforts to allow employers the right to deny women insurance coverage for birth control.
“We will not allow government workers to censor sermons or target our pastors, our ministers or our rabbis,” he said. “These are the people we want to hear from and they will not be silenced any longer.”
“We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values,” the president told the appreciative crowd.
In a not-so-subtle jab at the NFL, the president told the cheering crowd that “we respect our great American flag!”
And Trump returned to an issue that apparently causes him great heartburn because he complains about it a lot — the use of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
“You know we’re getting close to that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore,” Trump said. “They don’t use the word, ‘Christmas’ because it’s not politically correct,” he complained. “Well, guess what? We’re saying Merry Christmas again!”
The president explained that his moves to undo Obamacare by executive action were part of his plan to return power to the people and chided Congress for forgetting “what their pledges were so we’re going a little different route.”
“For too long politicians have tried to centralize authority among the hands of a small few in our nation’s capital,” Trump said. “Bureaucrats think they can run your lives, overrule your values, meddle in your faith and tell you how to live, what to say and how to pray. But we know that parents, not bureaucrats, know best how to raise their children and create a thriving society.”
The president began his speech by offering condolences to the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting, highlighting the many stories of heroism, which he said showed “the true character of the nation.”
He also offered support to the millions of people who have suffered from the massive fires in California and catastrophic hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
“Our values will endure. Our nation will thrive. Our citizens will flourish. And our freedom will triumph,” Trump said.