Thousands of leaders from different faiths attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, Thursday morning.
President Donald Trump delivered a crowd-pleasing speech, hitting several hot-button issues. He touted what he called “historic action” by his administration to not only protect Americans’ freedom of religion but to tackle religious persecution abroad, vowing to the audience that he would never let them down in that regard.
“My administration is also speaking out against religious persecution around the world, including against religious minorities, Christians, and the Jewish community,” he told the audience. “This week, I appointed a new special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism – Elon Carr.”
One of his biggest applause lines, however, came when he talked about abortion, a topic that’s made headlines recently with Virginia and New York’s push to make abortion legal right up until the point of birth.
“As part of our commitment to building a just and loving society, we must build a culture that cherishes the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life,” he declared. “All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God.”
The president also touted his administration’s work on criminal reform, human trafficking and his role in securing the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson from a Turkish prison.
“My administration is also continuing to fight for American hostages who have been imprisoned overseas for their religious beliefs. Last October, we reached an agreement with Turkey to release Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is now free and joins us here this morning,” Trump said.
“This Saturday, Pastor Brunson will walk his daughter down the aisle. Wow, that’s great. Congratulations,” he said.
Pastor Andrew Brunson at State of the Union, Feb. 5 (Photo: Patrick Robertson/CBN News)
However, Trump did not talk about refugees, which is a point of contention between him and many evangelicals, who’re concerned about the administration’s historic low levels of admittance for Christian exiles.
Meanwhile, one battle the president took extra time to talk about was faith-based adoption agencies, which are fighting in court to stay open. They’re being targeted for following their biblical beliefs when it comes to LGBTQ applicants.
“My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs,” the president said.
Faith-based adoption agencies are concerned about an Obama-era rule that says they must accommodate same-sex couples wanting to adopt. It’s not clear how the Trump administration will protect the groups – although it did grant an exemption to a South Carolina faith-based agency recently.
Thursday’s breakfast comes at a time when evangelicals frequently feel attacked by the culture of the day. During the breakfast, Trump confronted the Left on one of the latest attacks against Christian institutions – schools that adhere to Christian principles.
Specifically, the president voiced his support for Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, second lady Karen Pence, who has come under fire to taking a teaching position at a Christian school that supports biblical sexual ethics.
“I’ve gotten to know Karen so well,” President Trump told the audience. “She is a Marine Corps mom, a tremendous woman, a proud supporter of military families, and she just recently went back to teaching art classes at a Christian school.”