President Obama, like many presidents before him since 1953, delivered an address at this year's National Prayer Breakfast today, attended by about 3,000 high-ranking political and religious leaders. The president's speech this morning included biblical passages, and discussed his prayers and the path to "finding his Christian faith."
The National Prayer Breakfast is organized by The Fellowship Foundation, also known as "The Family," a secretive fundamentalist Christian group, dragged into the spotlight by Jeff Sharlet in his expose The Family. (Hear Sharlet interviewed on Freethought Radio.) According to the Baptist Joint Committee, the Family seeks "to use the halls of government to promote Christianity around the world." The New York Times points out that the Family has been accused of having ties to Uganda legislation calling for the imprisonment and execution of homosexuals.
The President said of the evangelical Christian National Prayer Breakfast: "It's a tradition that I am proud to uphold, not only as a fellow believer but as an elected leader."
It was through the president's early "experience working with pastors and laypeople trying to heal the wounds of hurting neighborhoods, that I came to know Jesus Christ for myself, and embrace him as my lord and savior," he told the audience. The word "Jesus" not surprisingly garnered applause.
"Tom Coburn is here," Obama said of the Republican senator and former Southern Baptist deacon from Oklahoma. "He is not only a dear friend, but also a brother in Christ." Part of what has bound the two together, said the president, is that they pray to the same God. So the president does not feel bound to those who do not believe in his god?
"My Christian faith then has been a sustaining force for me over these last few years. . . . It is my faith then, that biblical injunction . . . that keeps me going," Obama remarked. "In this life of politics . . . it's useful to go back to scripture to remind ourselves that none of us has all the answers."
To watch the entire speech, click here. (President Obama begins speaking at about 1 hour and 3 minutes in.)
Please contact the president, via the Whitehouse comment line and/or Whitehouse web contact form, objecting to his inappropriate participation in the National Prayer Breakfast.
Additionally, USA Today and the Washington Post have called for public comment on the National Prayer Breakfast (see below).
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500
Whitehouse Comment Line: 202-456-1111
Contact Form: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
To comment on the following articles, click the links and scroll to the end of each story.
The following USA Today article asks for comment on the issue:
"Yet no matter how often he shows he's a daily-prayer, Bible-reading believer, some in the public still doubt his Christian faith. What difference does it make if we run a 'Christian-enough' test on this or any other president?"
This Washington Post article asks "What did you think of the president's testimony?"
Action Alert by Bonnie Gutsch