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Trump to Evangelicals: 'I'm Going to Give Churches Their Voice Back'

Trump to Evangelicals: 'I'm Going to Give Churches Their Voice Back'

(AP Images)

By    |   Friday, 09 September 2016 05:58 PM

Donald Trump made his strongest pitch yet to the evangelical community in a speech Friday vowing to defend "our Christian heritage like you have never seen before" – and condemning politicians who "have really abandoned you to a large extent."

Addressing the 11th annual gathering of the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, the GOP nominee said the first thing he would do "is give our churches their voice back."

"Our media culture often mocks and demeans people of faith," he said. "Your values of love, charity and faith built this nation. So how can it be that our media treats people of faith so poorly? One of the reasons is that our politicians have really abandoned you to a large extent."

"And Hillary Clinton, you can forget about her."

Under a Trump administration, he said, "you will be protected, defended like you have never seen before."

"Our nation today is divided," he said. "It will be our faith in god, in his teachings, in each other that will lead us back to unity," adding: "The first thing we have to do is give our churches their voice back. It's been taken away."

Trump vowed to get rid of an old section of the federal tax code that bans tax-exempt organizations, like churches, from making political endorsements.

"The Johnson amendment has blocked our pastors and ministers and others from speaking their minds from their own pulpits," he said. "If they want to talk about politics they are unable to do so. If they want to do it, they take a tremendous risk that they lose their tax exempt status."

"All religious leaders should be able to freely express their thoughts and feelings on religious matters and I will repeal the Johnson amendment if I am elected your president."

But he said he'd need the vote of evangelicals to get to the White House.

"You didn't vote four years ago," he said. But this time you really -- and this is your last chance. … We'll never have this opportunity again."

Trump also touted "a new civil rights agenda for our time: the right to a safe community, a great education and a secure job" – and reframed his "what have you got to lose" plea to black voters last month.

"And I say to African-American parents, I say to Hispanic American parents, and I say it with great respect – our inner cities are a disaster," he said, adding:

"Crime, no jobs, education is the worst. I say with great respect, what do you have to lose? It can't get any worse. It can't get any worse. You choose Donald Trump, I'm going to fix the problem. You'll have safety. You're going to have good education. We're going to get jobs because we're going to bring our jobs back. … What do you have to lose? I'm going to fix it. I'm going to fix it. "

He said "school choice is at the center of the civil rights agenda."

"And my goal is to provide every single inner city child in America that is trapped in a failing government school the freedom to attend the school of their choice," pointing to his $20 billion initiative proposed on Thursday.

"School choice also means that parents can home school their children," he said to applause. "Hillary Clinton opposes school choice because she is controlled totally, like a puppet, by special interests."

"As your president, I will be the biggest cheerleader for school choice you've ever seen. This means a lot to me because I know it can turn things around."

"Hillary Clinton is unfit to be our president, for many reasons," he added. "The biggest of which is her judgement. It's time to restore honesty and integrity to our government."

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Donald Trump made his strongest pitch yet to the evangelical community in a speech Friday vowing to defend "our Christian heritage like you have never seen before" – and condemning politicians who "have really abandoned you to a large extent."
Trump, Evangelicals, Church, Values, Voter, Summit
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2016-58-09
Friday, 09 September 2016 05:58 PM
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