Obama discusses Christianity in Easter prayer breakfast
For a man who hasn’t joined a church in Washington since moving into the White House, President Barack Obama has packed a lot of religion into his life this week.
After attending church with his family on Easter Sunday, the president held a prayer breakfast on Tuesday at the White House and, without offering an intimate look at his own spirituality, expressed some joy at being able to celebrate his religion, Christianity.
“Today, I’m particularly blessed to welcome you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, for this Easter breakfast,” Obama said at the opening of the event, noting that the White House had held a Seder to mark the Jewish Passover and an Iftar with Muslim Americans during Ramadan.
“I can’t tell any of you anything about Easter that you don’t already know,” he said to laughter. “But what I can do is tell you what draws me to this holy day and what lesson I take from Christ’s sacrifice and what inspires me about the story of the resurrection.”
During the 2008 presidential campaign Obama had to deny recurring suggestions that he was Muslim. He also struggled to distance himself from controversial remarks by his long-time pastor, whose church Obama eventually left.
The president has not joined a church in Washington. On Tuesday he focused his remarks, which were greeted with affirmative murmurs of “yes” from those attending the breakfast, on the message of redemption.
“As I am continually learning, we are, each of us, imperfect. Each of us errs — by accident or by design. Each of us falls short of how we ought to live. And selfishness and pride are vices that afflict us all,” he said.
“So, on this day, let us commit our spirit to the pursuit of a life that is true, to act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord. And when we falter, as we will, let redemption — through commitment and through perseverance and through faith — be our abiding hope and fervent prayer.”
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Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama at prayer breakfast; best-selling author Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Texas, with his wife, Victoria, at the prayer breakfast)