On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump attended the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast where he gave a presidential speech. There he addressed adoption once again and religious rights.
The annual gathering, hosted at the Washington Hilton, was attended by evangelicals and politicians. During his address, he thanked the second lady for teaching at a school that openly discriminates against LGBTIQ+ people.
President Donald Trump gave a 20-minute presidential sermon where he praised Christians who were instrumental in the “abolition of civil rights.” After he returned to the White House, he tweeted the clip.
The president began his speech by thanking Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence for sitting on the dais with him. He then went on to praise the second lady for “teaching art classes at a Christian school. Terrific woman.”
Last month, the second lady came under fire after accepting a teaching post for twice a week at the Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia. The school requires parents to acknowledge in writing that they have the right to exclude children who support or condone “sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity.”
The elementary school’s application for employment also requires potential employees to pledge that they won't participate in “premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex, homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was seen looking uncomfortable as the president moved on to attack abortion policies. Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services gave a Christian South Carolina foster care agency a religious exemption.
The department granted the foster care agency non-discrimination regulation. That meant the agency could choose not to place children with same-sex couples.
For this part of his speech, the president received a standing ovation. The president then welcomed Chad and Melissa Buck, a couple from Michigan who adopted five children.
“Unfortunately, the Michigan adoption charity that brought the Buck family together is now defending itself in court for living by the values of its Catholic faith.”
What the president was referencing was a lawsuit the ACLU brought on behalf of two same-sex couples who were challenging Michigan’s law. The couple argued that adoption agencies received licenses to discriminate, even when they received state funding.
Kristy and Dana Dumont are one of the couples who is suing. In July 2016, they had sought adoption services from St. Vincent Catholic Charities and again in March 2017.
However, the agency told them they didn’t work with same-sex couples. Referring to this, Trump stated:
“We will always protect this country’s long and proud tradition of faith-based adoption. My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever homes while following their deeply held beliefs.”
At one point, the president also shared:
“All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God. Every life is sacred and every soul is a precious gift from heaven.”
In response to the second lady’s new job, her spokeswoman, Kara Brooks, addressed the controversy stating:
"Mrs Pence has returned to the school where she previously taught for 12 years. It's absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school's religious beliefs, are under attack."