Atheists denounce Trump's National Prayer Breakfast speech for mentioning only Christianity

(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, U.S. February 8, 2018.

Atheists have decried President Donald Trump's speech at the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday for only mentioning Christianity while leaving out other faiths.

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association (AHA), lamented that Trump's speech had excluded Americans who practice other faiths or those with no faith at all.

"Trump has taken these government-endorsed prayer breakfasts to a new low, demonstrating his ignorance and disdain for the growing diversity of faiths and philosophies found in the country he's supposed to be leading," Speckhardt said in a statement, as reported by The Washington Times.

During the president's address on Thursday, he referenced the Bible at least twice and mentioned Jesus both times.

Trump discussed the power of prayer and spoke about the role faith played in the life of North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho, whose story was first shared during the president's first State of the Union address.

"Before his escape, when Seong-ho was being tortured by North Korean officials, there was one thing that kept him from losing hope: Over and over again, he recited the Lord's Prayer," the president noted.

"He prayed for peace, and he prayed for freedom. And now, as you know, Seong-ho is free and a symbol of hope to millions of people all around the world," he continued.

Trump also spoke about the effort to push out the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria. He noted that the terrorists had tortured Christians, Jews, and even their fellow Muslims in the areas they had occupied, but now they had been almost totally overrun.

He also alluded to America's religious heritage, pointing to the words "one Nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" in the currency, as well as the repeated references to a Creator in the Declaration of Independence.

The president went on to speak about the courage and inspiration of 9-year-old Sophia Maria Campa-Peters, who had learned from doctors that she would not be able to walk after suffering several strokes.

"She replied, 'If you're only going to talk about what I can't do, I don't want to hear about it. Just let me try to walk,'" Trump recalled.

Campa-Peter had sought prayers from people when she prepared for surgery on Jan. 24 to continue treatment for the disease that caused the strokes. She had set the goal for 10,000 prayers, but she surpassed the goal and even got the president and members of his administration to ask God to help her recuperate.

The atheists criticized Trump for attributing the child's recovery to "an act of God" and failing to recognize the doctors and scientists who studied the disease and discovered successful treatment, allowing the child the chance to recover.

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