Speaking at the 2016 Values Voter Summit Friday afternoon, Donald Trump informed the audience of evangelicals that Christians had been betrayed and abandoned by politicians, the media, and Hillary Clinton, and that his presidency was the only chance they had to see that their freedoms were preserved.
The country, he said, was in “serious, serious trouble.” But evangelical Protestants’ “values of love, charity, and faith built this nation,” he affirmed, and they were the only thing that could restore unity. To a standing ovation, he promised that he would ensure that evangelical Protestant values would be “cherished, protected, defended like you’ve never seen before!”
The media culture “mocks and demeans people of faith,” he said, adding that “today’s media environment” made it difficult for Christian parents to raise children.
“Our politicians have really abandoned you to a large extent,” Trump said. “And Hillary Clinton? You can forget about her.” (“Put her in jail!” someone screamed in response.)
He reiterated his intention to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which he has repeatedly claimed stifles the free speech of Christians. The 1954 amendment to the federal tax code holds that churches and other religious organizations can risk their tax-exempt status if they engage in direct campaigning. Trump framed this as a vital First Amendment issue, although “[f]ully two-thirds of Americans say churches and other houses of worship should not come out in favor of one candidate over another during political elections,” according to Pew.
He said that American Christians were the most morally superior group out of anyone in the U.S. He pledged his commitment to uphold the primacy of “the family” — a term he did not define, but, in the context of Religious Right activism has historically referred to fighting LGBT rights and women’s rights.
“I got the evangelicals. I’m gonna make it up to you,” he said.
Sam Reisman (@thericeman) is a staff editor at Mediaite.
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