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Politics and Prayers
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bow their heads in prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
February 2nd, 2012
12:28 PM ET

Politics and Prayers

By Lesa Jansen, CNN

Washington (CNN)–Speaking at the 60th annual National Prayer Breakfast inWashington on Thursday, the president said, "We know that part of living in a pluralistic society means that our personal religious beliefs alone can't dictate our response to every challenge we face. But in my moments of prayer, I'm reminded that faith and values play an enormous role in motivating us to solve some of our most urgent problems, in keeping us going when we suffer setbacks, and opening our minds and our hearts to the needs of others."

Addressing the divisive partisanship in Congress and relations between the White House and the GOP leadership, the president cautioned leaders should not "get caught up in the noise and rancor that too often passes as politics today, these moments of prayer slow us down. They humble us."

The president spoke about how his values continue to influence and "motivate" his leadership when addressing one of the most divisive issues between Democrats and Republicans, the elimination of some tax breaks for wealthy Americans.

Read the full story from CNN's 1600 Report
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    Would like to share with you the following received;

    What proves that the Qur'an is the Word of God? What proves that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not write it?
    This claim was studied and analyzed carefully in
     http://Rasoulallah.net
    The answer to such claim is divided into two parts:
    Logical answer and scientific answer.
    Both aspects of logic and science are the qualities that combine and distinguish humans.

    In the following videos we address those who disagree through rational and scientific methods can be found at ; http://Rasoulallah.net

    The First Video:
    Quran & Logic_Part I – The Source of Quran

    The Second Video:
    The Quran & Logic _Part II – The challenge
      
    The Third Video:
    The Quran & Logic _Part III: The renewable Miracle

    February 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Moses

      Can you answer these questions:

      1] Who were the people that were being led by Moses from Egypt?

      2] Where were they going to?

      3] Who was with Moses as he led the people out of Egypt?

      4] Whose will was being fulfilled in all this journey?

      February 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    There is perfection in prayer
    There is passion in prayer
    There is persuasion in prayer
    Prayer changes things

    February 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Nope

      ~~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.~~

      February 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  3. Bob

    That is really a very nice picture of the President and the First lady praying!

    February 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Daniel

      More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of

      Alfred, Lord Tennyson

      February 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • SuperLester

      Look at the photo more carefully. They aren't praying; they are taking a nap.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • periwinkle

      Daniel,......

      I'm sorry, how would you prove that?
      ...The effect of prayer????

      You just believe it's been working because you've been wasting so much time doing it, that you can't face the possibility that you've been wrong all this time.

      February 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  4. Zia Shah

    Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Holy Quran stand for Separation of Mosque-Church and State. See the website Islam for West:

    http://islamforwest.org/

    February 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Reality

      The real issue:

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

      Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..............................

      February 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Muneef

      Reality.
      All the 77 branches of Islam or only Ahmadiah ? 😉

      February 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  5. Reality

    What Obama can do to at least lift part of the Immoral Majority leader label?

    He says abortions should be "safe, legal and rare" (something he borrowed from B. Clinton ) but says nothing about the basic tenet of proper human conduct i.e. Thou Shalt Not Kill. And where is BO's sense of indignation that abortions are not rare and that these acts of horror demean the Golden Rule considering that he says he is a Christian. And where is his sense of indignation that women who use the Pill do not use it properly resulting in an failure rate of 8.7% as per the Guttmacher Insti-tute statistics. Using these and other Guttmacher Insti-tute data, this failure of women to use the Pill properly results in ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year. And the annual abortion rate in the USA is?? ~1,000,000 as per the CDC.

    And do males use condoms properly? No, as said failure rate for this birth "control" method is 17.4%!! Again using Guttmacher data, said failure rate results in another ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year.

    The Guttmacher Insti-tute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    Bottom line: BO is still not aware of the basics of birth control and still remains the leader of the Immoral Majority and will remain so until he becomes a true Christian and one who respects and protects human life in all its forms and who at least emphasizes the proper use of birth control methods!!!

    The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing (and largest?) USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I was hoping you'd show back up. Exactly what is an "aborted womb-baby"? I googled it and all I found was your post, word for word, on various message boards. I could guess, but I'd like to here it from you.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • sam

      What about pegging?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • ......

      Hit report abuse on every reality bull sh it post

      February 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • ......

      Hit report abuse on every reality bull sh it post.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Reality

      aborted womb baby = a young human growing in his or her mother's womb destroyed by vacuum sucking, chemicals and/or scraping by abortion "doctors".

      So abortionists get rich at the expense of the Immoral Majority: i.e. those who forget to use birth control properly. Take your Pills ladies, wear your condoms guys and save yourself a lot of money and grief and also thereby sending abortion doctors to the poor house.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I'm gald you at least recognize that there is a difference between what's in the womb and what has been born. It might be better for your argument to just use "baby" as opposed to "womb baby".

      February 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      proper human conduct i.e. Thou Shalt Not Kill...... and embryo is not a human, therefore it is not killing. We kill many, many embryos all the time be it IVF or birth control. No consciousness = no human

      February 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  6. Reality

    Fellowship Foundation –Sponsors of the National Prayer Breakfast
    (Maybe we don't need a prayer breakfast considering the following)

    "Mission Statement-

    To develop and maintain an informal association of people banded together, to go out as “ambassadors of reconciliation”, modeling the principles of Jesus, based on loving God and loving others. To work with the leaders of other nations, and as their hearts are touched, the poor, the oppressed, the widows, and the youth of their country will be impacted in a positive manner. Youth groups will be developed under the thoughts of Jesus, including loving others as you want to be loved.

    Total revenue reported on their IRS Form 990 for 2008 was $16,265,873.

    Their highest paid employees are four associates who average about $120,000/yr each including benefits.

    The Coe family appears to be heavily involved with this non-profit with two members being associates as noted above and with five other family members working for the group averaging about $12,000/yr.

    Strangest grant made in 2008 was to the Golf Ministry of Argentina for $11,000.

    On the 2006 IRS Forms, they list the Wilberforce Foundation as a related exempt organization located at the C Street Center. Wilburforce’s treasurer is David Coe. One of the VP’s is his brother Tim Coe. Both brothers are also associates at the Fellowship Foundation . David’s salary from Wilburforce is $125,000/yr including benefits. Tim Coe’s salary is $116,000. These are the same salaries listed on the Fellowship Foundation’s 2008 IRS 990 Form. One assumes that the brothers are getting salaries from both organizations i.e. $250,000 and $232,000/yr to include benefits. Marty Sherman also works for both organizations and one assumes gets the double salary of approximately $250,000.

    The Fellowship Foundation sponsors the National Prayer breakfast every year. On the 2008 Form 990, the breakfast cost $1,097,465 but was offset by ticket sales and donations of $1,173,584.

    The Family Coe involvement: (from Wikipedia)

    Hillary Clinton described meeting the leader of the Fellowship in 1993: “Doug Coe, the longtime National Prayer Breakfast organizer, is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship to God.”[25]

    There has been much debate over some of Doug Coe’s previous comments about a number of Nazi leaders and their efficiency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fellowship_(Christian_organization)

    February 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  7. Sports Fan

    I wonder who Obama is rooting for (praying?) since Pittsburg is not in the big game?

    February 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes lives

    February 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Not that I actually expect a reply, but exactly what "other living things" does your name refer to. I would some how doubt you could make a case for animals as athiests tend to hold "other living things" with higher regard than religious folk who think they are special and have dominion over the animals as your Bible says. If you were just refering to adult humans as the "other things", why not just say people. Unless your argument is so weak you resort to using children as some sort of emotional black mail. But I digress, so the "other living things"?

      February 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      I know there is going to be a lot of praying going on Super Bowl Sunday! Hope God is ready for the volume!!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Nope

      ~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      I don't think football fans and players care about that, they will be praying their hearts out.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Prayer apparently didn't work for Tebow.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • just sayin

      linchbreaker what you know about prayer wouldn't fill a half size lunch bag.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Nope

      ~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.~~

      February 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Your mind can change your environment... if you are so weak that you need ignorance to alter your mind to a "working" state because it can't handle reality that we live in so be it.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Nope

      ~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.~

      February 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  10. Bo

    Atheists wonder why they are not liked, even say they are “hated”, some of the following, spiteful unnecessary, hateful comments are some of the reasons that they are so disdained.‭

    “Prayer changes things. It gets votes from rubes and yokels.
    Prayer lets you pretend a magic invisible friend is helping you.
    Prayer lets you pretend your magic invisible friend personally tortures people you don't like for the rest of time.
    Prayer lets you be a bigot against gays and non-Christians while still pretending that you are the only ones who love.”

    “Pickle relish changes things

    Pickle relish is communication with God
    All truth comes from pickle relish
    Only pickle relish eaters will go to heaven
    When it comes to making you fantasies come true, eating pickle relish is every bit as effective as prayer”

    “Religion, Prayer, and Other Total Wastes of Time"

    “So THAT'S why he is such an ineffective president: he is praying instead of coming up with effective solutions.”

    February 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Yo!

      But it's ok if you do the same thing though right Bo...

      "Atheists could gain complete control, the whole world would go to hell in a hand-basket–really quick!"

      Yeah you're a hypocrite.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      It really irks me that Saban gets the top recruiting class. I can't stand that guy. At Stanford and UCLA did welll!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Bo

      He no more believes than I do.

      He just needs idiots to vote for him.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Well they don't technically vote for the coach, but he need make a deal with 'Bama behind the Dolphins back. Liar!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I guess I would hate Saban too if his team beat my team.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      His team didn't beat my team, but because he lied about the job at Alabama, it set the Dolphins back big time in preperation for the next season. They won only one game that season. It was not pleasant.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • sam

      C'mon, now, don't go pretending pickle relish doesn't change things.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Wake up call for Bo! Wake up call for Bo!

      Bo, you blithering idiot. Atheists are hated because every religion in the world trains their followers to hate other beliefs, and to hate the rejection of religious belief the most. The reason they do that is because the acceptance of any other perspective necessarily rejects theirs. The truth is that the majority of people who hate atheists have never really know any on a personal level – it is pure bigotry, just like their hatred of gays. If you actually knew any, and you obviously don't, you would not say the absurd things that you do.

      Religious people sure love to hate.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  11. Sports Fan

    If Gronkowski is out or not at 100%, it will be difficult for New England to move the football. High Ankle sprains don't heal over night.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  12. Real Deal

    Rep. Pete Stark (D.CA) is the only self-declared atheist in Congress (thus far). He has served (is still serving) 20 terms since 1973.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Stark

    As an atheist, it is highly unlikely that he has ever prayed to any god for guidance. I'm sure that he has had to make some really tough decisions during his tenure. He has certainly had successes and has made mistakes, just like the ones who say that they pray to a "God".

    February 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Obama was our first Athiest president, but he wont be our last.

      I look forward to when they can admit it openly, but to defeat the cult it is often nescesary that one pretends to believe.

      We athiests known quite well the price of honesty.

      These supposed men of God will turn on you like rabid dogs if you question their delusion.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  13. Eric Alagan

    We are Outraged by one priest’s dress code that prevents us from celebrating Mass. Please visit and lend your support at my blog. Thank you.

    If I had in any way offended you with this comment, please delete with my sincere apologies. Thank you, Eric

    February 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Who do you like, Pats or Giants? I think it will be decided by both teams secondaries and turnovers. Giants by a field goal.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Really. the dress code for one church in Singapore? Sounds like an internal debate to me. If you disagree, find a different church.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      I can't believe how much they fine NFL players for the slightest little dress code violations!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • sam

      Just tell us, do you believe pickle relish changes things?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  14. Sports Fan

    What a diissappointing recruiting class for LSU!

    February 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  15. David Johnson

    I have not always agreed with President Obama... especially when he has made concessions to the Republicans... but I think he is a good man. I think he is a fine leader. A man you can point out to your kids, as being a good role model.

    Obama accomplished quite a bit in the last 3 years. Imagine what he could have done, if he would have gotten cooperation from the Republicans. Imagine if he hadn't been left with George Bush's wars and broken economy.

    I will be casting my vote for Obama again in 2012. He cares about the poor and the middle class.

    Cheers!

    February 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      I agree with you on just about everything you said on this. Not sure yet if I will vote for him but unlike many ppl, I do not think he has been a bad president.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • sam

      I agree. If nothing else, he's calmer and more even-keeled than anyone I've seen in office for quite some time.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  16. Atheism is better for everyone except those who cannot deal with the real worlds as it is.

    Prayer changes things. It gets votes from rubes and yokels.

    Prayer lets you pretend a magic invisible friend is helping you.

    Prayer lets you pretend your magic invisible friend personally tortures people you don't like for the rest of time.

    Prayer lets you be a bigot against gays and non-Christians while still pretending that you are the only onles who love.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Petting puppies is not healthy for children and other living things

      Pickle relish changes things

      Pickle relish is communication with God

      All truth comes from pickle relish

      Only pickle relish eaters will go to heaven

      When it comes to making you fantasies come true, eating pickle relish is every bit as effective as prayer

      February 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Well I don't know about that, but pickle relish changes my foot long hot dog into a delicious snack at the ball park!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  17. Deborah from Judges

    "I have fallen on my knees with great regularity since that moment – asking God for guidance not just in my personal life and my Christian walk, but in the life of this nation and in the values that hold us together and keep us strong,” he said.

    To that we say: Well said!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Religion, Prayer, and Other Total Wastes of Time

      So THAT'S why he is such an ineffective president: he is praying instead of coming up with effective solutions.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  18. George R

    I have been enlightened. Help me spread the word.
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=360]

    February 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  19. Doc Vestibule

    And here come the right wing folk to point a condemning finger and say "he's not really Christian!".

    February 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • obvious

      And here comes Doc to paint a fine line with a broad brush.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • captain america

      How many American right wing folk are there in canada . Mind your own F"n business doc. There's your sign

      February 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  20. Deborah from Judges

    "I have fallen on my knees with great regularity since that moment – asking God for guidance not just in my personal life and my Christian walk, but in the life of this nation and in the values that hold us together and keep us strong,” he said.

    To that we say: Well said , President.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bob

      Problem is, god hasn't answered. Never has, never will. There's no god, so get over your Christian fairy tales and live the one good life that you have well.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.