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Catholic News Agency, Feb. 7, 2019
Washington D.C., Feb 7, 2019 / 11:45 am (CNA) – President Donald Trump reiterated his support for the unborn and religious liberty at the National Prayer Breakfast, held Thursday morning.
Repeating a line from his state of the union address earlier this week, Trump told the assembly that “all children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God.” The room gave the president’s pro-life affirmation loud applause.
The annual event, held in Washington, DC, brings religious leaders from different faiths and denominations together with political figures from both parties. This year, the Feb. 7 event was co-chaired by Senators James Lankford, (R-OK.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-DE).
This year’s breakfast comes at a time when life issues and religious liberty are at the center of the political debate.
Abortion has returned to the top of the political agenda following the passage of expansive abortions protections in the state of New York in January. Last week, a bill was proposed in Virginia which would have permitted abortions to be carried out during labor. Governor Ralph Northam’s attempts to explain the bill’s provisions left many with the impression it would have sanctioned post-birth infanticide.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) recently attempted to introduced a bill by unanimous consent which would have mandated medical care for children who survived abortions. The measure was opposed by some senate Democrats.
During the state of the union, Trump asked Congress to pass a law banning late-term abortions, citing the ability of the unborn child to feel pain. That proposal received an ovation from Republican lawmakers and some Democrats, whose party appears increasingly divided over the issue of late term abortion.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was quoted as saying that late-term abortions were “just horrific…totally just wrong.”
Religious liberty is also a subject of some debate on the national political scene, with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee using recent sessions to question candidates’ religious beliefs, concepts of sin, and membership in charitable and fraternal organizations.
Meanwhile, the owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado are due back in court over their refusal to make a special-order cake to celebrate a so-called gender transition.
“I will never let you down,” Trump told the crowd Thursday morning, appearing to offer support for religious liberty causes.
The president also pledged his support for a number of causes which have highlighted religious liberty issues in recent months, including reference to religious adoption agencies, which have come under fire for refusing to work with same-sex couples.
Recently, the City of Philadelphia canceled a contract to place foster children through Catholic Charities becuase the agency did not place children with couples in same-sex relationships.
At the time the contract was canceled, no same-sex couple had ever applied to be a foster parent through Catholic Charities. The city is currently in the midst of a foster care shortage crisis.
The National Prayer Breakfast was first held in 1953, since then it has been attended by every president since Dwight Eisenhower.