If you’re offended by religious language, then feel free to skip this one. I think it is important to counter the notion that President is the Muslim jihadist that the birthers make him out to be. The following is from the ELCA News Service:
April 20, 2011
Obama Prayer Breakfast ‘Powerful,’ Says ELCA Presiding Bishop
CHICAGO (ELCA) — President Barack Obama spoke movingly of his Christian faith at a White House prayer breakfast April 19, said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), who was in attendance.
Hanson was grateful for how clearly the president highlighted the centrality of God’s “magnificent, expansive, ‘Amazing Grace'” in his life, and the gift of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection.
Obama spoke to 150 religious leaders, including Hanson, at the Easter Prayer Breakfast. The ELCA presiding bishop was recently appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
“It is very powerful to hear the president declare what unites us Christians with such clarity and passion,” Hanson said. “He really did center his comments in Holy Week and walked through the central part of our faith.”
Hanson said he greeted Obama, telling him that ELCA members continue to pray for him. As Obama and others negotiate on the federal budget, he asked the president to remember people living in poverty and not let budget reductions disproportionately affect them. Hanson had raised a similar concern in a meeting with Obama in Washington last November.
Later, Hanson and the religious leaders attended a briefing by staff of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The briefing included topics such as energy and climate, immigration reform, fatherhood and healthy families, international development and human trafficking. Among other things, the religious leaders said the current immigration system is not working and spoke strongly in favor of reform legislation, Hanson added.
At the prayer breakfast, Obama’s remarks highlighted the meaning of Holy Week for Christians. “I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason — because as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there’s something about the resurrection — something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective,” Obama said.
Obama told his guests that he knows each of them has considerable responsibilities amidst busy schedules. “But then comes Holy Week,” he said. “The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.”
“And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world — past, present and future — and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection,” the president said.
Obama continued, “This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son — his Son and our Savior.”
In addition to the president’s remarks, there were gospel youth choir performances and prayers. Hanson said many people in attendance commented afterward about how moving and spiritual the prayer breakfast was.
Obama’s entire remarks are available at the Obama White House archive.