President Donald Trump emphasized that religious freedom will continue to be a hallmark of his administration as he spoke at an anti-LGBT conference on Friday morning.
‘The American Founders invoked “our Creator” four times in the Declaration of Independence — four times,’ Trump told conference attendees. ‘How times have changed. But you know what, now they’re changing back again. Just remember that.’
Trump spoke at the Values Voter Summit, an annual event put on by the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT organization that advocates for ‘family values.’ The conference typically attracts a large number of Evangelical Christians.
In giving his 30-minute keynote speech, Trump became the first sitting president to address the conservative conference.
However, Trump has spoken at the Values Voter Summit three times before, including last year when he was the Republican presidential nominee.
The Washington Blade reported Trump’s speech covered many of his administration’s achievements, including appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, ending the birth control mandate for Obamacare and military advances in the Middle East.
However, Trump’s emphasized his commitment to religious freedom.
He pointed to an executive order he signed in May that resulted in his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, issuing guidelines ordering federal agencies to give religious freedom claims a wide berth.
‘Just last week, based on this executive action, the Department of Justice issued a new guidance to all federal agencies to ensure that no religious group is ever targeted under my administration,’ Trump said. ‘It won’t happen.’
Those guidelines seem to give permission to discriminate against LGBT people. Invoking religious beliefs has become a frequent tactic used to justify denying service to LGBT people.
‘I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before,’ he said. ‘That’s what’s happening. That’s what’s happening. You see it every day. You’re reading it.’
In finishing his speech, Trump emphasized that faith will help America overcome its many challenges and achieve its goals, the Washington Blade reported.
‘We will defeat every evil, overcome every threat, and meet every single challenge,’ Trump said. ‘We will defend our faith and protect our traditions. We will find the best in each other and in ourselves.’
‘We will pass on the blessings of liberty, and the glories of God, to our children. Our values will endure, our nation will thrive, our citizens will flourish, and our freedom will triumph.’