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The things Trump said about God and money that you probably haven't heard

Posted February 5

So far, President Donald Trump's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning has received a heavy amount of criticism, specifically the moment where he brought up Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took over Trump’s position on “The Celebrity Apprentice” this season.

Trump asked faith leaders in attendance to pray for “The Terminator” star.

Still, Twitter couldn’t believe it happened at the prayer breakfast.

Schwarzenegger responded with a statement of his own, of course.

The moment inspired a slew of headlines across national media. USA Today reported that “Trump bucks breakfast tradition,” and The Blaze said “nothing can change how Trump talks.” The Mirror called it “chilling.”

But Trump’s speech wasn't just seemingly outlandish remarks. In fact, Trump had some meaningful and insightful messages throughout his talk, according to MSNBC’s Steve Benen.

Benen said Trump’s speech provided insight into how he plans to handle religious liberty moving forward.

“Yes, the president used the National Prayer Breakfast to talk about television ratings for a reality show — which he remains the executive producer of — because everything at all times is about him and his career,” he wrote. “... But there was a substantive element of the speech that probably mattered more than Trump’s embarrassing boasts.”

He cited one specific passage of the speech, when Trump channels Thomas Jefferson.

“It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, the God who gave us life, gave us liberty. Jefferson asked, can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God. Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that, remember.”

And while Benen said he personally disagrees with Trump's plans to dismantle the Johnson amendment — which restricts churches and nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt from donating to political campaigns, according to the IRS — the moment focused the spotlight on how the president wants to handle the religious liberty issue moving forward.

Trump’s speech, which you can read in full on Time.com, contained other passages on the importance of religious liberty. Here are a few:

  • “Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is also a right under threat all around us, and the world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways. And I've never seen it so much and so openly as since I took the position of president. The world is in trouble, but we're going to straighten it out. OK? That's what I do. I fix things. We're going to straighten it out.”

  • “So I want to express clearly today, to the American people, that my administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land. America must forever remain a tolerant society where all faiths are respected and where all of our citizens can feel safe and secure.”

  • “We will be a safe country, we will be a free country and we will be a country where all citizens can practice their beliefs without fear of hostility or a fear of violence. America will flourish, as long as our liberty, and in particular, our religious liberty is allowed to flourish.”

Trump also mentioned specifically how God has helped shape the nation. A few examples are listed below:

  • “America will succeed, as long as our most vulnerable citizens — and we have some that are so vulnerable — have a path to success. And America will thrive, as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God.”

  • “That faith in God has inspired men and women to sacrifice for the needy, to deploy to wars overseas and to lock arms at home, to ensure equal rights for every man, woman and child in our land. It's that faith that sent the pilgrims across the oceans, the pioneers across the plains and the young people all across America, to chase their dreams. They are chasing their dreams. We are going to bring those dreams back.”

  • “As long as we have God, we are never, ever alone. Whether it's the soldier on the night watch or the single parent on the night shift, God will always give us solace and strength, and comfort. We need to carry on and to keep carrying on.”

Trump also hit on a personal note, speaking about how he, someone who’s familiar with material success, understands that the need for family and faith could not be more prevalent.

  • “Our soldiers understand that what matters is not party or ideology or creed, but the bonds of loyalty that link us all together as one. America is a nation of believers. In towns all across our land, it's plain to see what we easily forget — so easily we forget this, that the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but by our spiritual success. … And I know a lot of people without that, but they have great families. They have great faith; they don't have money, at least, not nearly to the extent. And they're happy. Those, to me, are the successful people, I have to tell you.”

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