President Donald Trump highlighted the importance of remaining a "nation under God" and protecting religious liberty during a speech delivered at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday.
Trump referred to the annual event, which draws politicians, faith leaders and dignitaries in Washington and dates back to the Eisenhower era, as a "testament to the power of faith and is one of the great customs of our nation."
"America will thrive as long we can continue to have faith in each other and faith in God," he said. "As long as we have God, we are never ever alone...God will always give us solace and strength and comfort we need to carry on and to keep carrying on. For us here in Washington, we must never ever stop asking God for the wisdom to serve the public according to His will."
The President shared that, all across the country, he hears the phrase "I am praying for you" - words he says never fail to touch his heart.
"The quality of our land is not defined by our material success, but our spiritual success," he said. "I was raised in a churched home; my mother and father taught me that to whom much is given, much is expected. I was sworn in on the very Bible from which my mother would teach us as young children. And that faith lives on in my heart every single day."
As Americans, we are all united by "our faith in our creator and our firm knowledge that we are all equal in his eyes," Trump said. "We are not just flesh and bone and blood - we are human beings with souls. Our republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government - but that freedom is a gift from God."
Repeating a promise he made throughout his campaign, the President said he will "get rid of and totally destroy" the Johnson Amendment - a law proposed by Lyndon B. Johnson and passed in 1954 that prohibits tax-exempt organizations-including churches and other nonprofits-from lobbying elected officials, campaigning on behalf of a political party, and supporting or opposing candidates for office.
"Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but also a right under threat all around us," he said. "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."
Trump also vowed to fight terrorism - something he referred to as a "fundamental threat to religious freedom" - but admitted it "may not be pretty."
"All nations have a moral obligation to speak out against such violence...and work together to confront it viciously if we have to," he said. "My administration will do everything to defend and protect religious liberty in our land."
Trump also briefly touched on his controversial immigration plan, explaining that while America has one of the most "generous" immigration policies in the world, it's important to only welcome those who will fully embrace our values.
"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 fear of violence," he said. "America will flourish as along as our liberty, and particularly.our religious liberty is allowed to flourish."
The President, who traveled to Dover Air Force Base on Wednesday to meet the remains of a U.S. service member killed during a special forces raid in Yemen, also praised American soldiers, who he said truly embody the words o John 15:13 - "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."
"God has blessed this land to give us such incredible heroes and patriots," he said. "They are very special, and we are going to take care of them."
Trump was introduced by "The Bible" creator Mark Burnett, who referred to the Prayer Breakfast as his "favorite event" of the year and called his friendship with Trump "one of the greatest relationships of my life."
The event is organized by The Fellowship Foundation and hosted by a committee of members of Congress. Over 3,000 people attend the breakfast annually, according to The Fellowship Foundation.