Thursday, February 5, 2015

The President And The Prayer Breakfast

     President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, February 5.  This annual meeting is perhaps the closest thing we have to a civic expression of our individual, mutual, and collective responsibilities before the One Lord God.  It would seem that the President's remarks (which are reported in full, from the White House, here) created a stir.

     After a few jovial introductories, the President got to the point with a rhetorical question:  "So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities -- the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?"

     Well, even though it is probably unanswerable, that is a good question.  So the President addressed the problems we have faced in Europe, in America, and in India.

     "Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  Michelle and I returned from India -- an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity -- but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs. . . .  So it is not unique to one group or one religion. . . . There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. . . ."

     There can be no doubt of the factual truth of the President's remarks.  Any well-read history student knows this beyond reasonable doubt.  So what is the stir?

     I'd say it's that folks don't like being told any uncomfortable truth.  And they definitely don't like it when they are being called out on their American Christian Exceptional Rightness.  But they especially don't like to hear it from a man that they do not like, for whatever reason.

     Well,  there's a fair amount that the President has done that I don't like, either.  But these remarks by the President happen to be the sober truth, and it is a sober truth that American Christians need to hear.  And most of us are not hearing it in church.

     Say it, Mr. President.  Say it again, loud and clear.  Loud enough that we can hear it through the walls of our churches -- and synagogues --  and mosques.

     "So it is not unique to one group or one religion. . . . There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. . . ."


     I encourage you to read all of the President's remarks, here.  I frankly prefer them to the political posturings from the Congress, the arrant nonsense of the so-called "Christian" media, and the often goofy slogans that bounce among Christians on Facebook.



  1. I feel like Darrel Waltrip had a lot more to say that was actually of substance. Waltrip was the keynote speaker and shared his testimony.

    Also I would just like to ask the president how some of these situations got resolved? The Magisterium of the Catholic Church was broken down by Christ and those who wanted to be like him. The Jim Crow laws and other forms of Segregation were also eventually brought down by Christian Protest. In history I think you see the church doing poorly and then re-orienting back towards the gospel. I do not believe that you see that in other religions, which either deny the violence inherit in their systems of thought or are too universalist to even have a strong enough opinion one way or the other.

    If people claim Christ and are violent or sinful in any other way it is not a poor reflection on Christ but the individual himself. An important distinction is made there because this kind of speech that President made is by far the most common one that Atheists use.

    These other faiths that he is addressing will continue on in their sin unless they repent and turn to Christ. If the president had said something to that effect, where we see our sin nature but can only break free of it by believing and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ then I would have given him some credit for a bold truth. If I wanted to read what he said I could pick up a Christopher Hitchens book or just messaged one of the many Atheist friends I have.

  2. I do not believe it is particularly humble to apologise for the sins of other people. It can be a real source of pride because we are feeling superior pointing out the sins of others while ignoring our own sins. Everything the president talked about happened hundreds of years ago. The only reason to focus on the sins of hundreds of years ago is to equivocate on the evils of today. There is a genocide of Christians and Jews going on in the Middle East. My heart breaks for them. They cannot wait for these evil people to repent and turn to Christ. Remember, 'All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' If we are decent people we must do something to help them besides just give money to help them with some food and sleeping mattresses. The President needs to get off his high horse and use the power he has been vested with as leader of the free world, to do something to truly help these people. I hate for America to be so fundamentally changed that we are no longer a beacon of hope for the oppressed peoples of the world. (I have forgotten my gmail stuff so I am going to publish as anonymous but it is me Juanita Leksrisawat)