President Donald Trump says Americans don’t worship government, they should call evil by its name, and times are “changing back” to an earlier era when the nation’s founders “invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence.”
His comments came Friday at the Value Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., an annual gathering of the nation’s leading conservative and faith organizations, where he spoke just a year ago as a candidate. He’s the first sitting president to address the group.
“We know that it’s the family and the church, not government officials, that know best how to create strong and loving communities. And above all else, we know this: In America, we don’t worship government – we worship God,” he said.
“Inspired by that conviction, we are returning moral clarity to our view of the world and the many grave challenges we face.”
Shortly later, he added, “In this administration, we will call evil by its name. We stand with our friends and allies, we forge new partnerships in pursuit of peace, and we take decisive action against those who would threaten our people with harm. And we will be decisive – because we know that the first duty of government is to serve its citizens. We are defending our borders, protecting our workers and enforcing our laws.”
He explained, “George Washington said that ‘religion and morality are indispensable’ to America’s happiness, really, prosperity and totally to its success. It is our faith and our values that inspires us to give with charity, to act with courage, and to sacrifice for what we know is right.
“The American Founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence – four times. How times have changed. But you know what, now they’re changing back again. Just remember that.”
The president repeatedly was cheered by his fans at the event, and pointed out the real “character” of America, as was seen during the sniper attack on a concert crowd in Las Vegas, where dozens were killed and hundreds injured.
“It was an act of pure evil. But in the wake of such horror, we also witnessed the true character of our nation. A mother laid on top of her daughter to shield her from gunfire. A husband died to protect his beloved wife. Strangers rescued strangers, police officers – and you saw that, all of those incredible police officers, how brave they were, how great they were running into fire. And first responders, they rushed right into danger,” he said.
“Americans defied evil and hatred with courage and love. The men and women who risked their lives to save their fellow citizens gave proof to the words of this scripture: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’”
He also cited those suffering from hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Louisiana.
“We’re going to be there as Americans, and we love those people and what they’ve gone through. And they’re all healing, and their states and territories are healing, and they’re healing rapidly.”
He said, “When America is unified, no force on Earth can break us apart. We love our families. We love our neighbors. We love our country. Everyone here today is brought together by the same shared and timeless values. We cherish the sacred dignity of every human life.”
“Religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights. And we all pledge allegiance to – very, very beautifully – ‘one nation under God,’” he said. “This is America’s heritage, a country that never forgets that we are all – all, every one of us — made by the same God in Heaven.
“When I came to speak with you last year, I made you a promise. … I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before. That’s what’s happening.”
He noted his policies opposing abortion, supporting religious freedom and even bragged, “We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”
He said parents, not politicians, know best how to raise their own children.
“We know that it’s the family and the church, not government officials, that know best how to create strong and loving communities.”