Spiritual, not monetary, success defines America, Trump says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters

By Mark Pattison

(CNS) – “Spiritual success” is a more accurate measure for the United States than wealth, according to likely billionaire
President Donald Trump in remarks Feb. 2 at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

is a nation of believers,” Trump said. “In towns across the land, we see what we
so easily forget: The quality of our lives is not defined by our material
success but by our spiritual success. I speak that as someone who has had great
material success and who knows many people who have had great material success.
… Some of them are very miserable, miserable people.”

to people to have money but no happiness, the people who have no money but happiness
“are the successful people, let me tell you,” Trump said at the 65th annual breakfast, attended by 3,000 politicians, religious leaders and dignitaries, including King Abdullah of Jordan.

spoke about having gone to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware the previous day for the return of the remains of William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL killed
in a firefight with al-Qaida in Yemen. “Greater love has no man than that a man
lay down his life for his friends,” the president said. “We will never forget
the men and women who wear the uniform, believe me.”

is not “a gift of government” but “a gift of God,” Trump added. “It was the
great Thomas Jefferson who said that the God who gave us life gave us liberty.”
But the nation’s 45th president question whether “the liberties of the
nation will be secure if we remove the conviction that these liberties are the gift
of God.”

“That is
why I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment, and
allow our religious representatives to speak freely without fear and without
retribution,” Trump said. The amendment, attached by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson
to a 1954 bill, bans federally recognized nonprofits from making political
endorsements. “Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is a right under threat
all round us,” said the president.

In his speech, Trump
alluded to the executive memorandum he issued Jan. 27 that bans refugees hailing
from seven majority-Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan,
Libya, Yemen and Somalia — for 90 days. His action suspends
the entire U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days.

nation has the most generous immigration system in the world. But there are
those who would exploit that generosity,” he said.

want people to come into our nation but we want people to love us and to love our
values, not to hate us and hate our values. We will be a safe country, we will
be a free country, where people can practice their beliefs without fear of
hostility and without fear of violence.”

remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast lasted one minute longer than his 18-minute
presidential inaugural speech.

words that never fail to touch my heart,” Trump said at the breakfast, are “I am praying for you.”
“I hear it so often” ‘I am praying for you, Mr. President.'”

lauded the keynote address given by the Rev. Barry Black, a Seventh-day
Adventist who is chaplain of the Senate. The speech was so good, he told Rev.
Black, “I’m going to appoint you for another year, the hell with it.” Chaplains
are appointed by their respective house of Congress.

also talked about how he “had to leave” his job hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice”
after he announced his presidential bid. “They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold
Schwarzenegger to take my place, and we know how that turned out: The ratings
went right down the tubes, it was a disaster. Pray for Arnold, if we can, for
those ratings.”

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Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.

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