There are a lot of people of various backgrounds who believe you shouldn't talk about religion or politics with strangers. President Donald Trump doesn't feel the need for trepidation, and he mixed both subjects while speaking at a commencement ceremony for the largest Christian university in America on Saturday.
While addressing the Class of 2017 at Liberty University, a private, Christian college located in Virginia, Trump told a crowd of thousands, "In America, we don't worship government, we worship God." His claim was part of a larger speech centered around what he claimed is faith's inherent ties to the United States of America, invoking examples like elected officials swearing on the Bible upon taking office.
Though the speech appeared to be a hit with the cheering crowd, it sparked backlash amongst people from other walks of life, who were concerned with America's constitutional promise to separate church and state:
Though many critics were focused on what they saw as a breach of a fundamental American promise, others mocked Trump for invoking faith at all given his background:
Though the audience he was speaking to is worth considering—highlighting religion will certainly play to a crowd assembled at a Christian university—Trump's speech follows a trend of attempts to blur the line between religion and government. President Trump's administration has repeatedly sought to limit or ban entry to America from citizens of a group of Muslim-majority countries, and in early May Trump signed an executive order promising to give religious groups broader access to political speech. The legislation has been panned by several groups concerned with civil liberties, including the ACLU.
Christian voters were a key demographic for Trump in the 2016 election. Exit polls conducted in the aftermath of the campaign showed evangelical Christians preferred Trump to Hilary Clinton by a margin of 65 percent, while voters unaffiliated to a religion preferred Clinton by a margin of 42 percent.