Prayer Breakfast: What’s the Deal?

As I type this, President Obama is addressing the annual Prayer Breakfast.  He is among many member of Congress in this annual event. He is explaining his use of prayer in his life- his daily life. He just used the quote, ‘Love one another.’ He also quoted, least of my brethren and I am my brother’s keeper,  quotes attributed to Jesus and others. Some lines from the Koran and the Torah as well. He also dropped a line from CS Lewis about politicians.

The president spoke of the need for kindness, respect, love, and generosity. For the care of the poor. He quoted 1 John: 3-  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. Acts of kindness.

Although I am an avowed agnostic, the words of Mr. Obama are universal .  They reach back to tribal times when the entire community  cared for each other, watched after one another. Not because a Deity told them so, but because it was an innate instinct to do so- a meme passed along down through time from generation to generation.

After the gaff from Mitt Romney yesterday regarding ‘the poor,’ it was refreshing today to be reminded that all religions call upon their members to address the needs of that sector of humanity. Mother Theresa ministered to the ‘poorest of the poor.’ Of course, not only people of faith follow that dictum; one need not ‘believe’ in some supernatural Deity in the Firmament watching their every action in order to be driven to make the path better for the poor, abused, downtrodden and marginalized in society.

This ever-watchful theistic deity concept, so rigidly held by fundamentalists, assumes that there will be punishment or reward  for the actions, deeds and failures of the ‘believers.’ Yet I find it interesting, shocking actually, that so many Bible-thumping Christians who make up a large swath of the current Republican Party, disavow their responsibility to the ‘least of the brethren.’ Many on the right cringed at Romney’s remark on the poor not because it violates the underpinning message of Jesus, but because it was a political blunder.

Of course, I will repeat the quote given by a right-wing, Christian blogger who said, “I’m more of an Old Testament Christian.” The ignorance of that statement is incomprehensible.

Perhaps the problem that looms like a miasmic fog over our nation is that the concepts of capitalism and altruism are immiscible. At an earlier time in our young nation, The People pulled together for a common cause, a common survival as a fledgling nation. That ideal was intense also during both World Wars. And, of course, during the Great Depression. There were other historical aggregating events as well like the assassination of JFK and 9/11.

Yet today, our nation seems nearly as fragmented as it was in 1861 when the first shell exploded above Fort Sumter. Yet the issues of states’ rights and the role of the Federal Government in the lives of The People still plague us 150 years later. The dog whistle of race is heard in the distance as well. You know, those people! Food stamps, welfare queens. Get a job! The hammock. Those people.

Jesus Christ!!

Or, am I being too cynical?




8 thoughts on “Prayer Breakfast: What’s the Deal?

  1. I was watching Fox & Friends this morning (hey, it can be fun) and they said only unconfident people pray.

    You say the President quoted “Some lines from the Koran and the Torah as well.”
    See, I just knew he was an avowed Muslim! (Wait a minute, my brain is reeling from watching Fox.)

    1. Funny, NON.

      Isn’t it interesting, though, that President Obama is often [still] accused of being a Muslim [gasp!] yet he is the one who speaks of love, compassion and generosity, whereas the GOP candidates adore at the altar of greed.

      1. You probably have seen the news that the women’s breast cancer
        foundation is pulling its funding to Planned Parenthood. Seems
        like the new senior vice president was a recent GOP candidate for
        governor of Georgia who campaigned in opposition to abortion
        rights. It is again an example of a person’s religion affecting the
        health and safety of women. 97% of Planned Parenthood is concerned with women’s health issues, but 3% does go for
        abortions. All the abortion funds are private and not federal.
        The religious right is working to end present and future health
        decisions of federal and private agencies.

        1. The aforementioned organization is none other than The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. One of the major health issues tested for at Planned Parenthood is breast cancer. I have sponsored and financially supported THE RACE FOR THE CURE in Toledo every year and I’M MAD AS HELL! The money was raised and given on the belief that Planned Parenthood would be seeing some of the money.

          One more time: Planned Parenthood is made up of two distinct and
          separate organizations. In the state of Ohio, I’m not even sure if the abortion unit operates. I know MANY, MANY women (poor and not so poor) who’s only source of medical care is from Planned Parenthood.

          INTERESTING SIDE NOTE REGARDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD: In Toledo, Planned Parenthood supplied condoms to the gay bars at no cost. Because most gay bars are in “questionable” neighborhoods, many of the local “working girls” would stop in every night and stock up. And those “johns” who were protected from God knows what probably went home to ……….”

  2. Yeah, they can’t handle the pres getting all biblical on them…especially when it’s the real version of what they think they own…and if you own it I guess they think it gives them the right to distort it any way they want!

    This is what Obama said:
    “When I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on main street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody,” Obama explained. “But I also do it because I know far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years. And I believe in God’s command to love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    “And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe at a time when folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I am willing to give something up as someone who has been extraordinarily blessed, give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy — I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.”

    He added: “But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”

    “Treating others as you want to be treated, requiring much from those who have been given so much, living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper, caring for the poor and those in need, these values are old and they can be found in many denominations and many faiths and among many believers and among many non-believers. They’re values that have always made this country great when we live up to them, when we just don’t just give lip service to them, and we just don’t talk about them one day a year.”

    I’d say he used the opportunity very well.

  3. Do you think we will have both sides invoking religion on their side?

    How can Romney argue from the Christian Bible when he is not a
    Christian? And, to a Mormon, Jesus is justg another prophet?

    1. I doubt that Obama will play the religion card; he is more subtle and, instead, he argues the philosophy of Jesus rather than the structure of religion.

      Romney’s Mormonism? I’m surprised that Newt hasn’t exploited it yet, but somebody will. Maybe we’ll have to wait a little longer until Newt is at the end of his political rope before he plays the religion card.

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