President Trump told an enthusiastic crowd of social conservatives on Friday that the United States is bringing back moral clarity and respect for religious beliefs under his leadership.

"We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values," Trump told a cheering audience at the Values Voter Summit in a Washington ballroom.

"We are returning moral clarity to our view of the world and the many grave challenges we face," he said.

The president opened his remarks on policy by referencing the religious faith of the Founding Fathers, and said, "How times have changed, but now they are changing back again!"

Trump said his administration has made progress "to protect the unborn" with a change in policy to ban U.S. aid for foreign groups that provide abortions, and vowed that "we will not allow government workers to censor sermons."

He received sustained applause mentioning his successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

"We have followed through on one promise after another. I didn't have a schedule, but if I did have a schedule I'd say we are substantially ahead of schedule," Trump said.

Among the speeches' loudest applause lines was: "We know that it's the family and the church, not government officials, that know best how to create strong and loving communities — and above all else we know this: In America, we don't worship government, we worship God."

Trump recalled a perennial controversy about corporate political correctness during the Christmas shopping season, and indicated he would do his part to end it.

"We're getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don't talk about anymore. They don't use the word Christmas because it's not politically correct," he said.

"You go to department stores and they'll say ‘happy new year' and they'll say other things," he added, clearly enjoying himself. "And it will be red, they'll have it painted but they won't say. Well guess what, we're saying Merry Christmas again."

Trump is the first sitting president to address the Family Research Council-organized event. As a candidate, he spoke at the 11th annual Values Voter Summit last year.

"I don't even need your vote this year," he said, joking: "Can I take next year off?"