Trump touts First Amendment rights for religious groups

The president spoke to a conservative audience at the Values Voter Summit.

"I pledged that in a Trump administration our nation's religious heritage would be cherished, protected and defended like you have never seen before," the president said. "That's what's happening. That's what's happening. You see it every day, you're reading it."

"Religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights, and we all pledge allegiance to -- very, very beautifully -- one nation under God," Trump said. "This is America's heritage, a country that never forgets that we are all, all, every one of us, made by the same God in heaven."

Trump's utilization of the First Amendment's protection of the free exercise of religion comes in a week in which he threatened to challenge the broadcast licenses of network news organizations, spurring criticism that he was ignoring the First Amendment's protection against laws "abridging the freedom of speech."

Only individual television stations -- some of which are owned at the network level -- have licenses that could potentially be disputed.

The president's overtures to Judeo-Christian Americans has not waned in the aftermath of his election victory last year. In a moment that received widespread attention in June, Trump welcomed religious leaders to the Oval Office where he was photographed praying with the group.

"We're getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don't talk about any more," the president said. "They don't use the word 'Christmas' because it is not politically correct. You go to department stores and they'll say, 'happy New Year,' and they'll say other things, and it'll be red, they'll have it painted, but they don't say-- well guess what, we're saying 'merry Christmas' again."