At Easter breakfast, Obama talks faith in face of doubt
President Obama bows his head during Wednesday's prayer breakfast.
April 4th, 2012
11:43 AM ET

At Easter breakfast, Obama talks faith in face of doubt

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - Facing a re-election bid and contending with a bitterly partisan Congress, President Obama spoke Wednesday at a White House Easter prayer breakfast about keeping faith in the face of doubt.

“I am not going to stand up here and give a sermon,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House, addressing an audience thick with Christian leaders. “It’s always a bad idea to give a sermon in front of professionals.”

But Obama proceeded to deliver a minisermon that centered on Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ expressed doubt and anguish on the eve of his crucifixion, appealing to God for a reprieve.

Obama said that Easter is an opportunity to appreciate “all that Christ endured - not just as a son of God, but as a human being,” according to a White House transcript.

“It is only because Jesus conquered his own anguish, conquered his fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection,” Obama said.

“We all have experiences that shake our faith,” Obama said later. “There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us, but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph.”

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' crucifixion, and Easter, which falls this Sunday, marks his resurrection.

The pastors invited to the White House event include Joel Hunter, an evangelical from Florida; Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who leads the Archdiocese of Washington; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Easter • Politics

soundoff (588 Responses)
  1. Ungodly Discipline

    Heaven is a place in Hell.
    A place where Angels and Demons dwell.
    The bell rings, the Devil Swings and on God’s throne he begins to dwell.
    Looking through space and time the duality of the immortals shine.
    The singing begins and the song is one of the infinite.
    Universes are sung, Galaxies too.
    Stars and planet, me and you.
    But we can hear the singing not.
    For we are here on this planet caught.
    The web we weave to cry and deceive.
    Robs us of our own immortal lot.

    April 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Me by another name

      April 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  2. Pipe-Dreamer

    Savor my succulent masturbatory masterpieces, my flimsy feculent flaccid foppery, my sensational self-sodomization! Wordflinging in cutesy autofellatio!

    Oh! Oh! How I amaze myself most regally in my diarrhetoric! The oozing puss of my talent dangles tiny for all to see!

    I amaze me!!!

    April 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • GodPot

      You forgot to use the worst word of all, Santorum...

      April 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Trolls suck.

      April 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      What's in a name that can't be for another's beleagured malcontents? Come out come out whomever you are!!!!

      April 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • James Joyse

      "The oozing puss of my talent dangles tiny for all to see!" That's funny! And quite apropos.

      April 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  3. J.W

    I want to start a Save William Demuth fund to convert William to become a Christian. I bet many on here will want to help me.

    April 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      What you don't know is that William started a fund for you already. The Educate J.W fund. I have given till it hurts, but you are showing no signs of progress yet. Still, we should never give up. A brain is a terrible thing to waste.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • GodPot

      What you really want is a "Slave William" fund where he and everyone else in the world is a servant of your deity willing to risk or even sacrafice their lives, their family's, their friendships, all for the promise of greener grass on the other side.

      April 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  4. Jesus did not come back from the dead.

    Please try not to be so amazingly stupid.


    April 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Well of course he did silly! He was nailed to a tree (oh sorry, a "cross") and died. Then he was thrown in a cave (oh sorry, he was laid to rest...well actually the bible doesn't say but whatever). Then he went to Hades and played poker with his brother Satan. It was too hot so he came back to Earth as a zombie and scared the crap out of a few hundred people and then flew like a bird to......well to where ever sky fairies live. Come on, it is all true because Christians or somebody else says it is. How can you argue with this kind of logic and evidence?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • GodPot

      " and then flew like a bird to......"

      I'll bet Mitt Romney knows!! That's right!! Jesus flew to America to preach to the natives, duh!!

      April 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      It is good to be the god.

      April 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  5. Pipe-Dreamer


    By Pipe-Dreamer

    The mirrored reflections of socialisms will ever hide many individual's oneness. "I am alone" when one looks passed socialisms' reflectives. You will never truly be united with me nor myself. I am myself and nothng more. You are the mirrored reflectiveness that keeps me wanting to learn. I am fearful oh God of my unleavened spirit. You oh God know my innermost thoughts and you oh God do see myself's pain to know you oh God. Without my always trying to know you oh God, I would be without much reason to want living and to be alive. You oh God are my Life's nourishing moments in Time.

    Shadows play in the lime of lights' refractioning. The motions of light do mix with the movements of self. Never able to see into the depths of darkness will ever be. Only the mirrored momentums of self may be one's shadowy fields of reflective monumentalisms. Oh God of my everness soul, You are my fields of Glory and personal redemption. Without individualisms being manifestations' consort, Life could not exist let alone become aware of its' Self. Oh God who is Creator of Creation and creations made manifested, you are Time's momentum and Life's essence. People are but refractions of reflectiveness oh God and your Godliness does outshine all celestial Life and its' many formations. God you are and will forever be!

    Deeply within the microcosm of inner space our reflectiveness ever does shine thru. Our being within the realm of outer space does ever mirror the deepest parts of inner space. We are your buildings oh God and all Life here is of your Kingdom's Domains. The Abyss reaches ever outward and inwardly. Time does the traveler their sentenced waywardness. Oh God, I do so see your Timeliness and timelessness. My soul does treasure your moments' finiteness with my thoughts. In your Abyss I will die and become of your Holiness Spirit.

    April 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Cool. I can almost tell where your brain infarction was.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Kind of like this?


      April 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  6. It's a shame to lose William this way.

    April 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • ....

      I am sure your bullying tactics won't scare them away, it only shows you have low self esteem issues.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    • Wrong person. I'm only commiserating.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Pwnd

      Has anyone seen my pants?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  7. William DeLOSER

    Cool man Willy DeP00P has his own website which nobody follows!!! Hahahah, read all his loser comments


    April 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Nice. Poop jokes.

      Same clown as the last time.

      Oh I love this stuff! I peed off another Jeebus freak who wanted to save me!

      Just another Christian hungering to butt love an Athiest!

      April 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • ...

      "William DeLOSER"

      You must have missed the lesson on emotionally immaturity, grow up.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • sam

      Must be spring break in your school district.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  8. William DeLOSER

    Silly willy has his own website which nobody follows!!! Hahahah, read all his loser comments


    April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Pot, or kettle?

      which one are you?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • William Demuth

      At two cents a click, keep pinging away!

      Dippy little man!

      April 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Pwnd


      2 cents a click??!? Wow you must've made a whole $5 from all your subscribers. Hahahahahahaha, man you're a entrepreneurial genius!!!!!

      April 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Pwnd

      I'm so Christian, as if no one could tell.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  9. William Demuth

    Everyone come check out my website. I'm so sound and logical, quite loving too. Sikeeeeeeeeee


    April 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  10. Everyone Start Posting

    Loser WilIy Demuth has his own website which nobody follows!!! Hahahah, read all his loser comments


    April 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • HellBent

      Don't get out much, do you?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  11. Everyone Start Posting

    Ioser Willy Demuth has his own website which nobody follows!!! Hahahah, read all his loser comments


    April 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  12. Everyone Start Posting

    Loser Willy Demuth has his own website which nobody follows!!! Hahahah, read all his loser comments


    April 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  13. William Demuth

    Please join me in praying for the death of Pwnd

    Or pray for my death if you prefer

    In either event it is a waste of time, but it can be spiritually uplifting!

    April 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Pwnd

      Check out this losers website......hahahahahahahahha


      April 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Observer

      But William, after your demise where else could we look for the occasional spray of vitriol in the face of belief?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Perhaps the Vatican, or the Republican Party?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

    • Not familiar with Pwnd. Sounds like an aborted fart.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Probably Captain America or Heavensent's father!

      April 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  14. Reality

    Dear Mr. Obama,

    Your education continues:


    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Some added references to "tink-erbells".


    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

    For added information see the review at:


    April 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Lincoln

      You have read too much about religions. It is now time to seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Reality

      Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism:

      • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      April 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Nyan

      Hey Lincoln, ram a bible up your ass.

      April 4, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  15. Pipe-Dreamer

    Religious are all people regardless their labels. Social accolades will ever be our meanderings' lamentations. The drivel of atheisms are the bewailings of the "raw-dealt" dealers. Obama or Romney makes no difference to me. Either one is just a lack-lustered social wannabe in governmental shoes of pure idiocies' clamorings.

    April 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Let me guesss? Google translate?

      I try so hard, but it just keep flashing gibberish.

      Perhaps can the flowers and speak normally

      April 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ William Demuth,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      I write with the normalcy of God's holy Spirit who does enlighten me with my writings. My spoken words are much different than my written word. My written Word is my bond to the Light of Godliness. As I write, I am one with the Holy Spirit of my embodied' building inhabited by a God whose name and even form I cannot know. Only by one's dying, will anyone come to their body's God and His generations and His Subjects.

      1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  16. Llama

    So instead of talking about the actual topic we turn this into an "attack religion fest" God might exist, he might not, the least we can do is respect everyone's opinions. And separation of religion and state means keeping religious beliefs out of our laws. Obama, our President, has every right to celebrate his own religion, be it broadcasted or not.

    April 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Run!!!!



      April 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  17. Projectinspired

    Easter Means Eternal Life

    A perfect God demands a perfect justice;
    He cannot let us get away with sin.
    We used God’s gift of our free will to trespass,
    So heaven’s gates were closed; we couldn’t get in.

    Our sin required our blood, a sacrifice,
    To atone for all the wrongs that we had done.
    "But I love them!" cried our Father, filled with sorrow;
    "I’ll send my only Son to be the one."

    Good Friday marks the slaying of our Jesus,
    The unblemished lamb, the perfect sacrifice.
    He took our guilt and blame upon Himself,
    So we could be with Him in paradise.

    On Easter morning, he came back from death;
    He vanished from the tomb, the empty grave.
    His resurrection means eternal life
    For us, the ones he came to earth to save.

    This summarizes all the Easter story
    And because of it, we’ll be with Him in glory.

    - Joanna Fuchs

    April 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Colin

      It makes no more sense in verse than it does in prose.

      Look, it may make one all warm on the inside, but it simply doesn't hold up. Do you really think an omnipotent, omniscient being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, spies on you 24/7/365 and needs a human or animal to be killed to atone for sins? That doesn't sound slightly more like classic late Iron Age Meditteranean mythology to you than the thoughts of a Universe maker? I mean, come on!!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Zechariah 9:9

      That was a very beautiful poem.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Enlightenment

      Colin-Welcome to the era following Easter.Sacrifices are no longer required. Keeping with the times, we now live under the new covenant and what a great blessing that is! The remission of sins is available to all who believe in him. John 3:16

      April 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Colin

      Sacrifices are "no longer required" in mainstream Christianity because we are now (somewhat) more advanced as a species.

      Your response adroitly avoids the issue as to why a Universe creator would demand the painful, horrific death of a human being/goat/his son, though. That makes zero sense, as does 3:16.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Enlightenment

      It is good you are asking such questions. I love asking questions too, but realize that human comprehension is limited. Wisdom is granted to understand only to that point to admit that sins need forgiveness.

      Why should the price for sins be sacrifice? that is an answer only God can give.

      Hope you will open your heart to him in faith and accept him.

      Atheists like C.S Lewis and countless others have accepted him, you too can!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ Colin,,,,,

      Science of today's timeline cannot see past there being but ONE UNIVERSE when quite possibly there are unlimited amounts of perhaps ZILLIONS of Universes out there in outer space places. Likewise sciences' referencing the MicroCosm as being made up of atoms seems a faulty assumption in light of Fractal Cosmology's revelation. 1 Corinthians 3:9 does so state that our bodies are nothing more than buildings inhabited by the Gods. One body and/or building to one God and God's generations means there are many Gods and/or Sons of God living ever so deeply inside of each and every Life Form of celestialness.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  19. Pwnd

    Wow WiIliam Demuth really has a lot of hate in him. I've never seen anyone so hateful in my life. I no longer wish to engage or respond to any of his posts, not gonna let him bring me down with him!


    April 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • William Demuth


      You are already damned by ignorance, you don't need a silly God to do it.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  20. Projectinspired

    Well said President, we as Christians can attest to your minisermon statement wholeheartedly 🙂

    April 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Mike

      And yes, the greatest sacrifice of all made at the cross for all of mankind!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Pwnd

      Amen, I also think that was a great message.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.