President Biden Attends Prayer Breakfast As Nation Seeks Direction (Worthy News In-Depth)

Thursday, February 2, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,


By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – With the nation in turmoil over deadly shootings, massive illegal migration, reports of fraud, and military missions abroad, a prayer breakfast was underway Thursday attended by U.S. President Joe Biden, on Capitol Hill, America’s heart of democracy.

Prayers were said for the president, vice president, and other leaders in the administration and Congress at a time when the country seeks direction. “There is a universal message of hope,” Biden told the delegates, adding, however, that it is true for both Christians and non-Christians.

He said that America has “seen extreme weather” and the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, with more than a million deaths. “There is violence in our communities, including Tyre Nichols,” he noted, referring to last month’s fatal beating of a black man by police.

“As we look to the New Year, let’s continue with a ministry of presence. That is expected. They have elected us to help each other as fellow human beings,” Biden said.

“While we have our profound differences, we can redeem the soul of the nation,” the president added. “We are all created equally in the image of God.”

Biden recalled that he learned that “we are all imperfect.” He referred to the Bible, saying it is hard to fulfill the Biblical command, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” That is the hardest, he said, as the U.S. Congress “is more divided than ever.”

However, he proclaimed that “Our diversity is our strength.” He said he had opened the White House to all faiths and religions, a move that may not be supported by everyone.


The breakfast was held at the Capitol’s visitor center, and the auditorium’s 450 seats were packed with members of Congress, government officials, and others. Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke at the breakfast, which in past years has been attended by thousands.

For decades, the event was overseen by the International Foundation, a Christian organization. However, that changed after earlier this month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter signed by 30 groups to the White House and members of Congress asking them to boycott the event because of questions about the International Foundation.

Now the event is run by the National Prayer Breakfast Foundation, a new group led by former members of Congress.

Yet the FFRF’s co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, said her foundation’s primary concerns with the breakfast remain despite the split with the larger faith gathering.

“For decades, FFRF has protested the appearance of the National Prayer Breakfast being a quasi-governmental gathering, which pressures the president and Congress to put on a display of piety that sends a message that the United States is a Christian nation,” she wrote.

The International Foundation’s gatherings always centered around “the person and principles of Jesus, with a focus on praying for leaders of our nation and from around the world,” the group’s spokesman, A. Larry Ross confirmed.

It was not immediately when and if the FFRF would also protest the “One nation under God” Pledge of Allegiance to the United States, often cited in schools and elsewhere.


Besides criticism over its focus on God of the Bible, the previous prayer breakfasts also came under heightened scrutiny in 2018 when Maria Butina, a Russian operative, pleaded guilty to conspiring to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups to advance Russian interests.

According to court documents, she attended two breakfasts hoping to establish unofficial connections between Russian and U.S. officials.

There were no suggestions that International Foundation knew Butina’s intelligence work. Controversial appearances by then President Donald J. Trump criticizing opponents also overshadowed recent prayer breakfasts, critics said.

After facing criticism, the International Foundation held its larger event at a nearby hotel Thursday, where Biden’s speech was being watched remotely. “Welcome to all 1,300,” Biden said, a reference to the size of the crowd at the other breakfast. He joked that “perhaps we should ask them” to come over to Capitol Hill, still reeling from angry crowds attacking its premises over two years ago.

It was his only acknowledgment during the public program of changes behind the scenes.

The event is designed to bring people together across partisan lines, and Biden sat next to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California.

The two are beginning a showdown over whether to raise the country’s debt limit to avoid default.


“We had a good meeting yesterday,” Biden said of McCarthy, saying they would work to “treat each other with respect.”

Also present was Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, who refused to acknowledge her announced defeat, saying the November race was rigged. Biden, a Democrat, called election denial “a threat to American democracy.”

Quoting Scripture, Biden explained it was necessary to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

“That’s the hardest one, I think,” he said.

“At least it’s hardest here. It didn’t use to be as hard. I’ve been here a long time. But it seems to be getting harder,” Biden claimed.

The president stressed, “We are the United States of America. My prayer is that we will unite again. Let’s start treating each other with respect. May God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.”

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