It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty." Jefferson asked, "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs.
We have seen peace-loving Muslims brutalized, victimized, murdered and oppressed by ISIS killers. We have seen threats of extermination against the Jewish people. We have seen a campaign of ISIS and genocide against Christians, where they cut off heads. Not since the Middle Ages have we seen that.
So I want to express clearly today, to the American people, that my administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land. America must forever remain a tolerant society where all faiths are respected and where all of our citizens can feel safe and secure.
So in the coming days, we will develop a system to help ensure that those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty. And that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination. We want people to come into our nation, but we want people to love us and to love our values, not to hate us and to hate our values.
We will be a safe country, we will be a free country and we will be a country where all citizens can practice their beliefs without fear of hostility or a fear of violence. America will flourish, as long as our liberty, and in particular, our religious liberty is allowed to flourish.
America will succeed, as long as our most vulnerable citizens -- and we have some that are so vulnerable -- have a path to success. And America will thrive, as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God.
That faith in God has inspired men and women to sacrifice for the needy, to deploy to wars overseas and to lock arms at home, to ensure equal rights for every man, woman and child in our land. It's that faith that sent the pilgrims across the oceans, the pioneers across the plains and the young people all across America, to chase their dreams. They are chasing their dreams. We are going to bring those dreams back.
As long as we have God, we are never, ever alone. Whether it's the soldier on the night watch, or the single parent on the night shift, God will always give us solace and strength, and comfort. We need to carry on and to keep carrying on.
For us here in Washington, we must never, ever stop asking God for the wisdom to serve the public, according to His will.
That's why President Eisenhower and Senator Carlson had the wisdom to gather together 64 years ago, to begin this truly great tradition. But that's not all they did together. Let me tell you the rest of the story. Just one year later, Senator Carlson was among the members of Congress to send to the president's desk a joint resolution that added, "Under God," to our Pledge of Allegiance. It's a great thing.
Because that's what we are, and that is what we will always be, and that is what our people want: one beautiful nation, under God.
—excerpts from remarks by President Donald Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 2, 2017