As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
In his first National Prayer Breakfast, the President of the USA says he will eliminate the Johnson Amendment to “let religious representatives speak freely without fear of retribution”.
The 45th President participated in Washington in the traditional event started in 1953 . Since then, the National Prayer Breakfast has become an annual initiative in several other countries.
Trump defined the gathering as “a testament to the power of faith, one of the great costumes of our nation”.
The new President said prayer is important to him. “I want to thank the American people. Your faith and prayers have sustained me and inspired me through very tough times. All around America I have many people whose words of worship and encouragement have been a constant source of strength”.
He added: “What I hear most often when I travel around the country, are five words that never fail to touch my heart: ‘I am praying for you’. I hear it so often”.
ONE BIBLE VERSE QUOTED
Throughout his 20-minute address, Trump quoted the Bible only once. He used John 15:13 (“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”) to praise the soldiers that risk their lives to defend the country.
After speaking from his own experience as businessman, Trump went on to say: “We easily forget this, the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success but by our spiritual success”.
He spoke about how her mother had a significant spiritual role in his family. “That faith lives on in my heart every single day”.
Trump said that, although attendants to the Prayer Breakfast “represent different religions and views (…) we are all united in our faith in our Creator”.
Muslims, like King Abdullah II of Jordan, were among the guests.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, A PRIORITY
Trump spent time talking about the need to protect American values and religious liberties.
“Our republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but a gift from God”.
Therefore, Trump said, “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and let our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution”
“Freedom of religion is a sacred right, and also a right under threat all around us”.
VIOLENCE AGAINST CHRISTIANS
Commenting on the situation in other countries, the President denounced the “unimaginable violence carried out in the name of religion” and the “acts of slaughter against religious minorities”.
Trump spoke of the atrocities Daesh (ISIS) has committed against other Muslims, Jews and the “genocide against Christians”. This reality should be confronted by “all nations”.
“ALL RELIGIONS WILL BE RESPECTED”
“My administration will do everything needed to protect religious liberty in our land”, Trump said. In the USA, “all religions will be respected” and security and safety should be offered to every citizen.
Talking about migration and the latest executive order which bans the entrance of citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries, Trump said the USA has “the most generous immigration system in the world”. But this cannot be “exploited” and “intolerance” cannot be accepted.
“In the following 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”. “We want people to love us and love our countries, not to hate us”.
FAITH IN GOD AS A GUARANTEE
Trump finished his speech by saying: “America will thrive as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God. That faith in God has inspired many to ensure equal rights for every man and women and child”.
“As long as we have God, we are never ever alone”, the President said. “God will always give us strength and confidence”.
“For us here in Washington we must never ever stop asking God for the wisdom to serve the public according to his will”.
The Prayer Breakfast is hosted every year by the US Congress, and organised by the Fellowship Foundation, a Conservative Christian organisation.
Watch Donald Trump's full speech at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast here: