President Barack Obama again spoke about his faith at the 62nd annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. In previous years, the event took on a political tone, as guest speakers Eric Metaxas and Dr. Ben Carson addressed Obama’s policies through their comments. This year, however, speaker Rajiv Shah discussed how to “end extreme poverty in our lifetime.”
Recently, Obama explained why he looked forward to the event:
“It says something about us that every year, in times of triumph and in tragedy, in calm and in crisis, we come together, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as brothers and sisters, and as children of God.”
However, not everyone agrees with the President’s assessment. Reverend Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, says the event has hidden “dangers,” as reported by Voice of America:
“…I am very troubled by the way that politicians in the United States tend to want to use religion for political purposes, giving speeches that quote Jesus, as if Jesus was supposed to be making decisions about how we develop an anti-gun policy or run a budget.”
Other activists took exception with the sponsor of the event, the Fellowship Foundation, because the organization is known for its biblical stance on marriage. The Huffingon Post reports:
“Obama's attending the Prayer Breakfast on Thursday… seemed to juxtapose his support for equality, a stance he historically backed at his second inauguration ceremony last month.”
Those in attendance at the Prayer Breakfast included “Soul Surfer” Bethany Hamilton; Haitian president, Michel Martelly; and several members of Congress. No president has missed the event since it started in 1953.