The National Prayer Breakfast shouldn’t exist

Last Thursday, President Obama addressed a large gathering of politicians and other self-professed people of faith at our country’s annual National Prayer Breakfast.

His remarks were, for the most part, familiar recitations of the Christian Left: odes to religion’s social value and dogged insistence that any moral transgressions inspired by religion aren’t actually religious.

But unlike most years’ Prayer Breakfasts, which rarely constitute more than a footnote in that week’s news cycle, conservatives have spent the last few days flipping tables over one particular heresy in the President’s remarks:

[How] do we, as people of faith, reconcile…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?

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the 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.

At a gathering sponsored by The Fellowship, one of the most influential Christian organizations in the world, this was a huge party foul.

President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan greet Billy Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast held at the Hilton Washington, 1981. (Source: White House photo.)

President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan greet Billy Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast held at the Hilton Washington, 1981. (Source: White House photo.)

Reminding the audience that Christians aren’t always the good guys in religious stories was “the most offensive [comment] I’ve ever heard a president  make in my lifetime,” said Republican and former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore. The hosts of Fox and Friends went a step further, accusing President Obama of justifying the Islamic State’s violence and equating Christians with religious militants. By Saturday, the front page of the National Review’s website featured not one, not two, but three responses to the episode. Media Matters has a fairly comprehensive rundown of conservative heads exploding over Obama’s comments here.

But regardless as to where one comes down on the question of whether Christians have ever done bad things and, if so, how bad they were in comparison to the actions of the Islamic State, the firestorm that arose out of Thursday’s event shows at least one thing:

The National Prayer Breakfast shouldn’t exist, at least not in its present form.

While the event is an overwhelmingly Christian gathering, the breakfast is billed as an ecumenical event that celebrates prayer in generic terms. Since members of Congress help organize and host the event, it would be constitutionally questionable if it was officially focused on Christian prayer. So, in the spirit of inclusion and diversity, the event features a few members of other religious traditions. For instance, Dalai Lama attended this year’s breakfast as a special guest.

(As an aside, Sudanese foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti and Dr. Ibrahim Ghandur, a member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party, were also at this year’s event. While Karti and Ghandur’s Muslim faith isn’t of particular interest, their attendance stands out because they arguably shouldn’t have even been allowed in the United States. As high-ranking officials in a government designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, making the guest list at a quasi-official event in the United States is particularly eyebrow-raising.)

In any case, despite the event’s nominal ecumenicism, the conservative, Christian explosion in response to the relatively modest claim that religions other than Islam have the potential to harbor violent sub-denominations shows that the National Prayer Breakfast doesn’t come close to putting all faiths on an equal, elevated playing field. Instead, it is a demonstrably Christian event, organized to further the idea that America is a Christian nation, with a few non-Christians scattered throughout the audience to give the event legitimacy it doesn’t deserve.

With two sentences about Christianity’s less-rosy past, President Obama scratched the surface of the National Prayer Breakfast’s nominal ecumenicism, showing that the event’s overwhelmingly Christian attendees were fully expecting to hear a series of obediently Christian propitiations, perhaps with some of them shrouded in more inclusive rhetoric. This should go without saying, but apparently it doesn’t: The fact that this is the expectation at an event organized by Congress and attended by the President is wildly problematic.

As unlikely as it may be, it would be a good start if our next president doesn’t go.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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99 Responses to “The National Prayer Breakfast shouldn’t exist”

  1. christine728 says:

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  2. mf_roe says:

    We believe whatever violates the least number of our articles of faith, I try to minimize the things I accept on faith since it allows a more open mind. Truth is ultimately unknowable as long as uncertainty exists, Science accepts this and uses probability to approximate truth as we know it.

  3. goulo says:

    Yeah, to me that’s very disingenuously expanding the notion of “religion” and “faith”.

    NOTHING is “proven” in any absolute sense – even mathematical proofs require you to accept the axioms of logic on “faith”. So by your argument, EVERYTHING we believe (even our own existence, and that 2+2=4) is unproven and therefore a matter of “faith” and “religion”. Which makes the whole concept of “religion/faith” vacuuously meaningless.

    We have neither proven that there’s a herd of pink robot elephants orbiting Saturn nor proven that there’s not a herd of pink robot elements orbiting Saturn. To pretend that both beliefs require the same sort of “faith” seems obviously disingenuous to me, given that there’s no concrete evidence indicating the existence of a herd of pink robot elephants orbiting Saturn, and no reason to think that it exists. Similarly about the existence of God.

  4. mf_roe says:

    Any belief system that relies on Faith in a concept that is beyond logical examination has to be considered a type of “Religion”. The existence of god is unproven, the NON existence of god is equally unproven. Many approach science with automatic reverence in effect making science their religion and opening the door to “Junk Science”.
    The problem is those who don’t understand the danger of “Faith” and the need to constantly expose all belief to the strongest criticism.

  5. goulo says:

    Saying that atheism is a “religion” seems disingenuously expanding the notion of “religion” to me. Do you consider agnosticism a religion too? If not, why not? It seems a “religion” about as much as atheism.

  6. Moderator3 says:

    Okay. For the past week, I’ve been taking everything literally. If someone were to ask if I was alright, I’d probably answer, “No, I’m half left.”

  7. nicho says:

    No, I wasn’t implying that — and I hope no one inferred that. What I meant was that the proselytizing sects, once they get the hook set, start holding out their hands looking for donations. I’ve never had an atheist ask me for money.

  8. rmthunter says:

    That’s typical of monotheisms in general. But the Jews aren’t actively looking for converts.

  9. Jon Green says:

    No, I assumed that since you mentioned “the atheists” on this blog and linked to an article written by me, an atheist, you were referring my writing. Seemed like a reasonable assumption, but apologies if that wasn’t the case.

  10. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Do you have a guilty conscience? I linked to the article because of the comments.

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s an abomination.

    It’s 27 gazillion.

    I pronounce anathema on you, heretical pagan.

  12. kurtsteinbach says:

    Had out condoms and call it the Nation Circle Jerk. . . . LOL!

  13. kurtsteinbach says:

    Especially if they decide to finally build that Death Star that Bush wanted. . . .

  14. kurtsteinbach says:

    18. . . .

  15. kurtsteinbach says:

    Ask the victims of Christian persecution over the last 2000 years if the fact that Jesus was a peaceful leader made a difference in their lives. I think you would be astounded by the answers of the victims. . . . .

  16. kurtsteinbach says:

    And it’s so entertaining to watch them squirm. I love it when Christians eat their own. . . .

  17. Jon Green says:

    Assuming when you say proselytize you mean trying to win converts, can you quote me a sentence in the article you linked to where I proselytize? Or, for that matter, in any of my articles? Sure, I write a lot about religious claims that I think are absurd, but I don’t think I ever take the next step to say “and you should instead think exactly what I think because Christopher Hitchens says so.”

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    I don’t have a bias, I have political views based on hard evidence. The US is a cesspool of bigotry, misogyny and racism and has been since pre-colonial times. As long as it’s capitalist that will remain the state of affairs.

    The leaders of most cults are criminals. They promote discrimination,
    child abuse and the rape of children and on a larger scale they promote murder by calling for abstinence instead of the use of condoms. Those views are just the same as yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. People get hurt.

  19. mf_roe says:

    Same can be said of a “decent” capitalist society. but I expect you deny any possibility of such a possibility. You have a right to your bias, in your case you are completely open and clear of your beliefs. I have told you before I agree with much of your position, but I draw the line at denying Anyone the right to advocate for their views and I cite the First Amendment as proof that our fundamental law supporting the descent.

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    An decent, socialist society won’t pander to bigots, child rapists and those who murder by promoting abstinence or who call for violence.

  21. mf_roe says:

    Vile speech is protected, get over it.

  22. mf_roe says:

    Bravo! Prayer Meeting—Circle of Jerks

  23. mf_roe says:

    Really means not a theist. Technically the term can be stated as not acknowledging the “God of Nature” that Jefferson acknowledged while he denied the Divinity of Jesus.

  24. mf_roe says:

    Atheists have a religion, they just don’t recognize their belief system as such. that’s the reason I identify as agnostic a term that pisses both sides off.

  25. mf_roe says:

    Judaism has no problem telling you theirs is the true religion.

  26. mf_roe says:

    Prayer isn’t a public policy statement, it is communion with one’s higher power. I refuse to bow my head when some asshat decides to inflect me with their proselytizing.

  27. mf_roe says:

    Very interesting point, the prophet did extoll peace but he did engage in war. Islam therefore isn’t violating any religious by using violence. Of course neither are those who follow Jesus since he stated clearly that the teachings of the old testament were still valid–thereby validating the use of violence as so often it appears in the old testament. The Koran is a revision of the Torah I am sure it recounts violence of the early history of Adam & Eve’s people. Both traditions embrace violence to achieve their ends.

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    Cults have no legitimate interests except in arguing about immaculate conceptions, the number of angels who dance on the head of a pen, infallibility and whether or not The Exorcist is a documentary.

    They promote the spread of HIV/AIDS, the rape of children and they superstition and ignorance. They have no right to do any of those things and should be punished.

  29. mf_roe says:

    Sorry, but I see the case differently. Religion has legitimate interest in all these issues, just as the anti-religious have their rights to have a position. Neither group has a veto nor the right to claim a superior value of their view. Excluding a religion from advocating their views violates the first amendment.

  30. mf_roe says:

    How would you express the possessive case of “it” owning an aspect? The phrase “it is” makes NO sense if it is substituted for “its”. Notice my use of “it is” does that meet your criteria?

    You may be one a crusade but I fail to see that your criticism applies.

    It is clear that the Clause “a “Christian” should be someone who follows the commands of Jesus — not someone who openly flouts them” is the “it” that possesses a value being discussed.

  31. AdmNaismith says:

    ‘So, if Christians (though imperfect) try to emulate Christ,…’

    But they don’t, in my experience.

    In Alabama at this very moment the state is being bludgeoned with ‘Biblical Law’ to deny tax-paying citizens their equal rights.
    How many slaves were kept, churches bombed, and doctors killed ‘in the name of Christ’? I’ve never done any of those things for any reason and I am atheist. So if you’re keeping score…

  32. kurtsteinbach says:

    So give people Opium instead; the world will be much better off, and they’ll be much happier. . . .

  33. kurtsteinbach says:

    Except Christ does not mean god. Christ means king. I agree that we should not have a national prayer breakfast. The world has done so much and so many have fought so long and so hard to throw off the divine right of kings and toss it in the trash. Leaders are not descended from god, and if their is a god, (and that’s a really big if) he does not come down to earth and have sex or otherwise impregnate human women.

  34. kurtsteinbach says:

    And how and what has Christianity done since then?

    The reason there should be no national prayer breakfast is because one of our cherished founding principles and one of the bedrocks of our nation is the separation of church and state. There’s nothing wrong with praying at home or in your church, synagogue, or mosque, but keep it there unless there’s a national disaster. When the Towers were hit, it was appropriate and okay to pray for those people or even to call for a moment of silence, imo.

  35. 2karmanot says:

    “consult with 200 experts and come up with a policy.” Following Obama’s tradition it will be served cold as s**t on a shingle.

  36. 2karmanot says:

    Theoretically, radical Christians are willing to be tortured and martyred for their faith, so it stands to reason that the Salem witch trials should be revived and the innocent will be drowned to prove that they are not followers of the Evil One. Church Lady says so. PS. Church Lady floated to thee top.

  37. 2karmanot says:

    Didn’t he also smite an innocent fruit tree in rage?

  38. 2karmanot says:

    The comic irony being that the very term ‘atheist’ implies a duality—the existence of a god(s). Where is Christopher Hitchens when we need him?

  39. 2karmanot says:

    Not to mention bigoted wedding cakes!

  40. 2karmanot says:

    You mean the boys in Blue wearing a matching pant and blouse in German blue/royal shade with gold accessory buttons, colorful military-like broach pin ranks and matching chapeaus?

  41. 2karmanot says:

    Group prayer for jerks (pardon the pun)

  42. BeccaM says:

    It’s not the founder but the followers which are always the problem.

  43. nicho says:

    Christians have never killed anyone in the name of religion. And I know that for a fact, because I saw it on Fox News.

  44. Moderator3 says:

    Are Christianists looking for money on this blog? That would get them kicked off the blog.

  45. nicho says:

    But at least the atheists aren’t looking for money.

  46. nicho says:

    I have never had an orthodox Jew come to my door. And no Unitarians either. In fact, if you decide you want to become a Jew, the rabbi is supposed to turn you down three times. That’s the exact opposite of proselytizing.

  47. caphillprof says:

    I think it’s a mistake to refer to any of their ilk as “Christian”
    It is this impulse behind using the term Christianist.

  48. caphillprof says:

    Except that Christ threw the moneylenders out of the temple, itself not a very peaceful but rather violent act.

  49. StealthVoter says:

    There is a huge fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam — and it comes from the founder. Christ, aside from being the Son of God (as some believe), he was a man of peace.

    Muhammed was a violent leader.

    “In March 624, Muhammad led some three hundred warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan. The Muslims set an ambush for the caravan at Bad”.

    (He later led 10,000 warriors again Mecca).

    So, if Christians (though imperfect) try to emulate Christ, they are emulating a peaceful man. Muslims who emulate their prophet are emulating a military leader.

  50. Indigo says:

    True that. It’s the mainstreamers that have generated anti-Semitism, the Crusades, the Inquistion, Jim Crow, and (dare I say this outloud without fear of reprisal?) Bible-Beltery.

  51. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I’ve noticed that on this blog, it’s the atheists who proselytize the most. Many times that proselytizing is done with a great deal of anger.

  52. rmthunter says:

    Paganism. Also, Judaism.

  53. kurtsteinbach says:

    Name for me, a religion that doesn’t proselytize . . . .

  54. kurtsteinbach says:

    Furthermore, … “In any case, despite the event’s nominal ecumenicism, the conservative,
    Christian explosion in response to the relatively modest claim that religions other than Islam have the potential to harbor violent sub-denominations” There’s only one problem with this statement, the perpetrators of the Inquisition, the Crusades, and Jim Crow, were not, to my knowledge, sub-denominations of Christianity. Catholicism (The Inquisition and Crusades) and Protestantism (Jim Crow) are pretty mainstream and major denominations of Christianity, unlike ISIS/ISIL/Al Qadea and the Islamic State (while they are horrible terrorists), which are sub-denominations of Islam. . . .

  55. nicho says:

    Maybe one of the famous Ba’al masturbation ceremonies. I could sign on to that.

  56. mirth says:

    laugh out loud

  57. Naja pallida says:

    Not going to happen. Hillary Clinton has even closer ties to The Fellowship than Obama has. She’s praised their psycho leaders on several occasions. She’s going to gulp up their kool aid with as much gusto as she can, no matter the damage it does.

  58. Baal says:

    There should be a National Day of Worship at the Altar of Ba’al. See how the fund-o wing-os like them apples.

    Yes. Ba’al has spoken.

  59. nicho says:

    Even proselytizing is an act of arrogance. The underlying message is that whatever you believe is wrong and what they’re peddling is right. I find that insulting and arrogant. There’s no humility there. A friend was sitting in an airport at the end of a grueling business trip. A young man with a bible sat down next to him and said, “Would you like to hear about Jesus Christ?” My friend said “Sure, as long as I can tell you about the night I fucked twin sisters in Bangkok.” The young man excused himself and left.

  60. nicho says:

    OT — Alabama’s largest newspaper asks whether the state’s anti-gay chief justice is a “closeted homosexual.” Right now the poll has 66 percent saying yes. Bwahahahaha.

  61. mirth says:

    Don’t begrudge their rantings. Pray for more&more&more from them. Then look at the gun in their hands and the smoking hole in their shoes and…rejoice!

  62. mirth says:

    That, and what Obama provokes from them will be more of what the majority of this country does not want to hear. In their dumbfuckistan rantings, they cause their own demise. The Left could not do near the damage they bring themselves.

  63. Indigo says:

    I have to agree. I don’t like the whole business of a “national day of public prayer” but I do like that he successful twisted their noses over the issues of past transgressions long ignored.

  64. Indigo says:

    Oh, I see. As far as humility in public prayer is concerned, I’m under the distinct impression that there isn’t any. The Church of England, for example, specializes in extremely impressive ritual. As does Rome. And the Byzantine churches, and of course state Buddhism in some of the Asian countries is not exactly low key. For that matter, public ceremonies with the Dalai Lama get pretty extravagant too. No doubt every one of those groups would assure us that the humility is in their hearts, they probably think it’s rude of us to point out that it doesn’t show.

  65. Don Chandler says:

    Where is the humility in public prayer…? I know being a Jehovah’s Witnesses and humility are apparent contradiction. But Buddhism has that middle way or balance. Wasn’t referring to your comment except that the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t want to any part of your experience…probably forbidden as a form of idol worshiping when it is more a form of circumspection.

  66. emjayay says:

    I read too many Yahoo News comments. Use your imagination….

  67. emjayay says:

    I thought the serious hope plus sarcasm was obvious by the 200 advisers (like what she’s supposed to be doing about the inequality issue, in case no one noticed) reference. I could have added that Hillary isn’t half black and doesn’t have a father from Kenya (which isn’t Muslim, but well, you know…) and wasn’t partly raised in a Muslim country.

    I meant that she would have every reason and opportunity to quit the thing, and far fewer roadblocks, but is unlikely to.

    I’m flattered by the attention, though.

  68. FLL says:

    If Hillary gets to be president, she has the chance to change this Prayer Breakfast thing.

    Would be nice, but that just sounds like too bold of a move for Hillary.

  69. FLL says:

    I usually use “fundamentalist Christian”—or “fundie,” for short—but “militant Christian” is really more accurate. It reminds me of the terror campaign that Christians waged against their opponents in the fourth century. When it comes to a large percentage of the population getting murdered, the Christianization of Norway in the 10th and 11th centuries was one of the bloodiest, and pagan resisters were murdered in huge numbers. They haven’t forgotten that in Norway.

  70. Indigo says:

    Take a deep breath and think about where you left it.

  71. BeccaM says:

    While I like the term ‘Christianist’, not many really know what it means, nor does it convey enough of a punch for my preferences.

    ‘Fundamentalist Christian’ kind of works…but few see the parallels between that and other fundamentalist religious practices, by other faiths.

    I think I may start using “militant Christian” from here on out. Or “radical militant,” as it expresses both the extremism and their desire to force everyone, including non-believers, to live by their rules.

  72. BeccaM says:

    Sorry, the sentiment is appreciated but I think it’s wishful thinking, Emjayay.

    And the 200 policy advisers absolutely reeks of typical neo-liberal Democratic party triangulation. “How do we formulate a public position that won’t ask a single dime in restored tax rates for the wealthy and corporations, while still pretending it’ll do something about the income inequality that’s been skyrocketing ever since Reagan? Can’t call it ‘trickle-down’, that one’s been taken…”

  73. FLL says:

    That brief summary clearly shows what a bunch of Christianist nonsense the National Prayer Breakfast is. I can’t wait to see the first president who doesn’t show up. We might not see it this time around. Jeb is a apologist for fundamentalist Christians. Hillary doesn’t kiss fundie ass as much as she did in the early 90s, but she still kisses fundie ass to some extent. But we’ll certainly see a president boycott this Christianist breakfast in our lifetimes. The sooner the better.

  74. mirth says:

    Conveniently ignored by her “progressive” cheerleaders.

  75. mirth says:

    Obama’s attendance at this exclusive and hypocritical charade is not part of my hoped for change the one time I voted for him, but him stirring up the fundies will aid the continuing decline of religious affiliations in our country’s population. I’ll give him that.

  76. Don Chandler says:

    Where is the humility!

  77. Indigo says:

    All in all, it puts me in mind of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that came to the door years ago. I told them I’d be happy to hear what they have to say if they’d like to come in and bow while I offer incense to the Buddha and chant a brief sutra. They walked away. It comes down to what Jon said in his headline here: “The National Prayer Breakfast shouldn’t exist.”

  78. Indigo says:

    There you go!

  79. BeccaM says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

    – The opening phrase of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

    When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.…

    – Matthew, 6:5-7, the Christian Bible (expanding on what Keirmeister posted below)

    The ‘national prayer breakfast’ is an abomination of hypocrisy, both respect to our (purportedly) system of secular government — because that breakfast is never anything but an exercise of Christianist malarkey — and to the religion it purports to represent. President Obama talks about humility and the need to attend to one’s own shortcomings before judging those of others… and the fundamentalists go ape shit, as if we should even be surprised they would.

    I ran into someone the other day who, when presented with the Inquisitions and Crusades, simply asserted they were never that bad and the wars thus fought were purely defensive against those mean, nasty, evil Muslims. I was flabbergasted…but I shouldn’t have been. I’d forgotten how for many of these Christian militants, the whole “killing for Christ” angle is, to them, a good thing.

  80. Baal says:

    Long overdue.

  81. UncleBucky says:

    “The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christ-centered organization. Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.” (Wiki article).

    Christ-Centered??? Nope, should NOT be held. Christ never existed.

  82. nicho says:

    I do know the difference, but I was up all night and am not at my best. but good luck on your “crusade.”

  83. nicho says:

    You forgot the “sarcasm” tag. Hillary is a regular attendee at one of the scariest religious cults in the country.

    For 15 years, Hillary Clinton has been part of a secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill.

  84. Bill_Perdue says:

    Attempts by religious cults to interfere in secular matters like marriage, taxation, divorce, adoption, education, marriage, abortions and other matters ought to be criminalized.

    All exemptions for religious cults should be eliminated.

    Tax them until they fall and can’t get up.

  85. emjayay says:

    Thumbs up, but……it’s = it is.

  86. emjayay says:

    Christianist, not Christian.

  87. emjayay says:

    If Hillary gets to be president, she has the chance to change this Prayer Breakfast thing. The only really forward thinking thing she did as Secretary of State was a big UN speech about gay rights. She can talk about the separation of church and state, and the association of this event with a group sending death-for-gays to Africa. Probably wouldn’t though.

    Maybe she would consult with 200 experts and come up with a policy.

  88. Butch1 says:

    I am in total agreement with this. If there ever should be a separation of church and state, this should be it. We have too many ultra religious representatives and senators in our Congress who have agendas primarily pushing their own religious points of view whenever they can.

    A perfect example is Ted Cruz with his never ending anti-gay marriage bills or anything to do with a bill being anti-gay. Many of the others are pushing for anti-women’s issues mainly to do with abortion and they will not stop until they have crushed Roe v. Wade in their own way.

    This prayer breakfast is just another slap in the face to those of us who do not want to see religion dominate the halls in any branch of Washington DC where it doesn’t belong, in my opinion. It just takes us one step closer to a theocracy for these people and gives them a lectern where they can preach their disinformation and dogma .

  89. emjayay says:

    Christianists are all about how Jesus entered their life and is their personal Savior and looks after them every minute. Then they base everything on whatever convenient passages from the Old Testament they can dig up and ignore everything Jesus (possibly) said. Anything that impugns their belief in the total goodness of everything about their version of Christianity is repelled like white blood cells on a germ. The reaction to this is a given. Logic does not matter. What Obama actually said does not matter.

    It is of course the same thing on every issue. Some people decide to be inclusive of everyone and say “Happy Holidays” when referring to the pagan based winter holidays and suddenly it’s a War on Christmas (i.e. Christ), which is all part of Obama (Muslim, Kenyan, Socialist, Dictator) and the Democratic party’s War on Christianity. There’s really no end.

  90. The_Fixer says:

    And ultimately, more productive.

  91. 2karmanot says:

    “Christian attendees were fully expecting to hear a series of obediently Christian propitiations” Yet another patriarchal fantasy fest. A Star Wars convention would be more fun.

  92. nicho says:

    Thank you. I was going to put that in, but for some reason, from time to time, I can’t paste things into Americablog posts on my iPod. I don’t know whether that’s a Safari problem, and iPad problem, or a Disqus problem. Given the past history, my money is on Disqus.

  93. nicho says:

    At it’s very core, a “Christian” should be someone who follows the commands of Jesus — not someone who openly flouts them. This is like someone calling themselves a Teabagger and saying they’re in favor of single-payer health care, safe and available abortions, taxes on the rich, and believe in the danger of climate change.

  94. Indigo says:

    I can’t define what a “Christian” is. I take the denotation of the word to signify social conformism and the connotation of the word to imply ignorance. Beyond that . . . good old Constantine did a number on whatever social movement that was originally. He even sold them on the idea that they’re following a Christ. In fact, all they’ve got is a hodge-podge of late Roman imperial state religion. The ultimate expression of social conformity.

  95. goulo says:

    Gilmore went on to say, absurdly: “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

    Talk about presumptuously speaking for all Christians.

    I certainly have met plenty of Christians who certainly agree that Christians have done bad things, and do bad things, in the name of religion.

    Sheesh, what cheesy demagogues Gilmore and his cohorts are. This hypocritical demagoguery seems the more important part of the story to me. Even if the National Prayer Breakfast didn’t exist, Obama could have quite reasonably made these statements in some other context, and there’d be the same faux outrage blowup.

    (Though I agree that the National Prayer Breakfast shouldn’t exist and is obviously a Christian event posing as some non-denominational spiritual thing, which even if it were would still be religious.)

  96. nofauxnews says:

    There is no place for this as a federally sanctioned event.

  97. keirmeister says:

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

    – Matthew 6:5

  98. Indigo says:

    The only real breakfast prayer: Leggo my eggo!

  99. nicho says:

    Anyone who takes part in this nonsense isn’t a Christian. Jesus was pretty clear about not praying to show off. He said to do it in secret and not to call attention to yourself. He didn’t issue many commands, but this one he was adamant about. Any of these jerks who goes to this breakfast are blatantly disobeying the person they claim to follow. Maybe they should call it the National Hypocrites Breakfast.

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