President Donald Trump addressed the Family Research Council’s (FRC) 14th annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, marking his fourth trip to the summit, including in 2017, when he became the first sitting president to attend.
President Trump was the keynote speaker Saturday night at FRC’s Faith, Family, and Freedom gala, where the organization also honored Pastor Andrew Brunson with the Cost of Discipleship Award on the one-year anniversary of his release.
During his nearly 80-minute address, President Trump touched upon a wide range of topics, including religious liberty, national security, military engagement overseas, Israel, and efforts by the extreme left “to stop our movement and impose their agenda by any means necessary.”
He called those in attendance “the warriors on the frontiers defending American freedom.”
“We know that families and churches, not government officials, know best how to create strong and loving communities,” the President stated.
“Our future will not be decided by the media, the bureaucrats, and the politicians. It will be decided by all of you,” he later said before concluding.
Later in the evening, FRC presented Pastor Andrew Brunson with the Cost of Discipleship Award. For nearly two years, Brunson, a North Carolina native, had suffered for his faith in prison and then house arrest at the hands of Turkey. He was accused, without compelling evidence, of being a member of a terrorist group and indicted by Turkish prosecutors, who sought a 35-year sentence for the American pastor. After several court appearances, appeals, U.S. sanctions, international pressure, and repeated calls for his release by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other U.S. government officials, a Turkish court ordered his release on October 12, 2018.
“Under the Trump administration, more has been done to secure religious freedom abroad than under any other president in living memory,” said FRC President Tony Perkins in a press release.
In his remarks, President Trump said that his administration “is absolutely committed to protecting religious minorities in the Middle East and all around the world” and promised that “we will never tire or waver in our defense of religious liberty.”
“President Trump has made religious freedom a priority in his foreign policy,” noted Perkins, who was recently elected as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“This emphasis has yielded tangible results, including an annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, dedicated funds to protect houses of worship, sanctions against regimes notorious for their religious persecution, and the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson and others imprisoned for their faith around the world. Weeks ago, President Trump also became the first sitting president to emphasize the need to protect international religious freedom in a speech before the U.N. General Assembly,” Perkins concluded.
Thousands of grassroots activists from around the country gathered in the nation’s capital for the Values Voter Summit to hear from President Trump. Other speakers at the three-day conference included Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), USAID Administrator Mark Green, Eric Metaxas, Dr. Bill Bennett, Dana Loesch, James O’Keefe, Todd Starnes, Allie Stuckey, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North, Dr. Dennis Prager, Brigitte Gabriel, and abortion survivor Melissa Ohden.