During his annual Easter Prayer Breakfast, President Obama on Monday (April 14) called for people of all faiths to deter gun violence and anti-Semitism, one day after a gunman killed three people at Jewish centers in suburban Kansas City. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

During his annual Easter Prayer Breakfast, President Obama on Monday (April 14) called for people of all faiths to deter gun violence and anti-Semitism, one day after a gunman killed three people at Jewish centers in suburban Kansas City. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama on Monday (April 14) called for people of all faiths to deter gun violence and anti-Semitism, one day after a gunman killed three people at Jewish centers in suburban Kansas City.

“That this occurred now — as Jews were preparing to celebrate Passover, as Christians were observing Palm Sunday — makes this tragedy all the more painful,” the president said at his annual Easter Prayer Breakfast.

The president noted that synagogues and Jewish community centers are now taking precautions by adding security measures.

“We’re all children of God. We’re all made in his image, all worthy of his love and dignity,” he said. “We see what happens around the world when this kind of religious-based or -tinged violence can rear its ugly head. It’s got no place in our society.”

Obama noted that two of the dead at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, a grandfather and his teenaged grandson, attended the Church of the Resurrection, a United Methodist megachurch in nearby Leawood, Kan. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, preached at Obama’s inaugural prayer service in 2013.

Police patrol the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City on Monday (April 14), the day after a gunman killed 2 people there. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

Police patrol the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City on Monday (April 14), the day after a gunman killed 2 people there. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

A third person, a woman, was killed at a Jewish assisted living facility in Overland Park. Frazier Glenn Cross, a white supremacist and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, is being held by authorities but had not been formally charged by mid-afternoon Monday.

Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox leaders listened to Obama’s remarks about sin and grace and Christians’ belief in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection at the Easter prayer breakfast, which has become an annual high-profile expression of his Christian faith.

“We’re also overwhelmed by the grace of an awesome God,” he said. “In our Christian religious tradition we celebrate the glory of the Resurrection — all so that we might be forgiven of our sins and granted everlasting life.”

Obama mentioned his recent visit with Pope Francis and how Christians “regardless of our denomination” have been moved by the pope’s message of justice and caring for the outcast.

Methodist Megachurch

Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton addresses the congregation during the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Sunday evening service on July 15, 2012 in Leawood, Kan. The Church of the Resurrection is known as the largest Methodist church in the nation. RNS photo by Sally Morrow


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“He reminds us that all of us, no matter what our station, have an obligation to live righteously and that we all have an obligation to live humbly because that’s, in fact, the example that we profess to follow,” Obama said, adding he hoped the pontiff will visit the U.S.

The president noted that young men who are being mentored by faith leaders were attending the breakfast, and he encouraged others to join in his focus on aiding young African-American and Latino boys through his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, who lost a son to suicide and a granddaughter to brain cancer, led a prayer and thanked the president for his friendship during those losses.

“Death, where is your sting?” he prayed, quoting 1 Corinthians. “God, use this time to renew in us hope that outlasts disappointment and despair, and faith that cannot be crucified.”

YS/KRE END BANKS

8 Comments

  1. Yes, we are all earthly children of God; however, some of us, through our actions and speech, are meek and some are evil or wicked. In the near future, only the meek shall reside on earth and the wicked ones will no longer exist (Psalms 37:10,11), so the meek can finally enjoy the “real life” we were meant to live since our first parents were created by God.

      • @Jon,
        Politicians can’t renounce their faith. It can’t work that way.

        Obama has denounced the Bible and called it out as nonsense. He clearly believes none of it. Like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson he attacks it fundamentally.

        “Even if we had only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK – and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith. Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application. So before we get carried away, let’s read our Bibles now. Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles.”
        - President Obama, 2006

        Obama sees the Old Testament as ridiculous and unworthy of ‘worship’ as an Atheist would. The Old Testament is 3/4 of the entire Bible.
        Jesus is nothing but a moral teacher if the Old Testament is as ridiculous as Obama paints it. His quip about the Sermon on the Mount speaks to the incoherence within its contradictory messages.

        I’d put all my money on Obama being a non-believer. He’s too smart for this nonsense.

        • I hate to say this to you Atheist Max, but — you DO have a strong argument there, and it DOES explain why Obama horribly betrayed American Christianity on the gay marriage issue. Kudos.

          I don’t think you are 100 percent correct (after all, it’s Mr. Obama, NOT the Sermon on the Mount, that is “contradictory”). However, 98 or 99 percent does seem reasonable.

          • @DOC,
            Oh, I’m quite sure it is the “Sermon on the Mount” which is self contradictory – not Obama.

            That ‘sermon’ is so highly ‘sanctified’ that people do not pay attention to its substance. In that Sermon we find the seeds of most of Christianity’s self-contradictory messages:

            “Pray in public” (Sermon on the Mount)
            “DO NOT pray in public” (Sermon on the Mount)

            Look at the commands of Jesus. It is all self-refuting:

            “NEVER Judge your neighbor” (Matthew 7:1)
            “YOU MUST Judge your neighbor” (Matthew 10:13)

            “Love those who won’t listen” (Luke 6:27)
            “Abandon those who won’t listen” (Matthew 10:14)

            “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:27)
            “DON’T BLESS those who curse you” (Matthew 10:13)

            “Pray in public” (Sermon on the Mount)
            “DO NOT pray in public” (Sermon on the Mount)

            “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9)
            “Do NOT think I have come to bring Peace” (Matt. 10:34)

            In 5:7 Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” Jesus was intolerant to those who disagreed with him. In Matthew 10:33 he says. “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” These are not the words of a merciful person. Maybe that is why he didn’t receive mercy when in Matthew 27:46 he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

            In 5:16 Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.” However, in 6:1, still in SotM, he contradicts himself by saying, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them. For otherwise ye have no reward of your Father in heaven.”

            In 5:17-18 Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” In spite of this ringing endorsement Jesus proceeds to either re-interpret or abrogate much of the mosaic law. Examples include John 8:1-11, Mark 2:27 and Mark 7:19. In John, when confronted with a woman caught in the act of adultery he releases her without condemnation. Not only is adultery forbidden (Ex. 20:14), the prescribed punishment is death (Lev. 20:10). In Mark 2:27 Jesus rejects Genesis 31:15 and Exodus 20:8-10 (commandment no. 4), when he declares that the Sabbath day was meant for man not man for the Sabbath. In Mark 7:19 he declares all food clean, thus going counter to the law of kosher in which there is a list of forbidden foods (Lev. 11 and Deut. 14).

            The contradictions of Jesus are so deep that to declare them all to be simultaneously flawless words of God are guaranteed to sow horrific wars – which is what they have done for 2000 years.

            The problem with religion is that it is always considered “The absolute truth” instead of speculation on morality and ancient philosophy – it simply cannot survive that impossibly high bar of “perfect truth”.

            And Atheism is the only honest and healthy approach to these claims.

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