News / USA

    Obama Calls for Embrace of 'Common Humanity' at Annual Prayer Breakfast

    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as he attends the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Feb. 4, 2016
    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as he attends the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Feb. 4, 2016
    Ken Bredemeier

    U.S. President Barack Obama says religious faith can help people overcome their fears and embrace their "common humanity."

    "Faith is the great cure for fear," Obama told the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, a day after he visited an American mosque for the first time in his presidency.

    Obama said his own Christian faith has given him strength to overcome common everyday fears, such as for the safety of his daughter Malia as she leaves the White House later this year and heads to college, but also for the fears he has faced as president in sending the country's troops into overseas military operations.

    He said fear can lead people to "lash out at those who are different" and lead to desperation and cynicism.

    But Obama said he has drawn strength from "good people of all faiths who do the Lord's work every day. I pray that our differences are ultimately bridged, that the God in all of us brings us together."

    Obama was appearing at the prayer breakfast for the eighth and final time, with his presidency ending next January.

    WATCH: Obama speaks at National Prayer Breakfast

    Obama Comments at National Prayer Breakfasti
    X
    February 04, 2016 3:26 PM
    U.S. President Barack Obama focuses on how religious faith can help people overcome their fears and embrace their "common humanity" as spoke Thursday at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

    Support for US Muslims

    In Baltimore a day earlier, Obama told Muslims at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, "We are one American family."

    The president thanked Muslim Americans for helping make the country strong, but acknowledged what he said is a "hugely distorted" negative view they have had to endure with the rise of terrorism-related violence by Islamist extremists.

    President Barack Obama meets with members of Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Feb. 3, 2016, in Baltimore, Md.
    President Barack Obama meets with members of Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Feb. 3, 2016, in Baltimore, Md.

    Obama said that after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California late last year, some people have conflated "terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith.” The American leader attacked anti-Muslim rhetoric by some U.S. political figures.
     
    “Of course recently, we’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans. It has no place in our country,” Obama said.
     
    The president has criticized remarks by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others in recent months.
     
    Trump called for all Muslims to be barred from entering the country for a period of time, and Cruz suggested that the United States resettle only Christian Syrian refugees.

    More than two dozen U.S. governors also have signaled they will try to block Syrian refugees from settling in their states. Critics of the Obama administration’s plan to resettle immigrants from Syria and Iraq argue that they pose a greater security threat.

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    Comments
         
    by: Bobbie Sena from: San Antonio, Texas
    February 04, 2016 11:11 AM
    We are all unique creations of the same God. We all share a common humanity. Under our wonderful U. S. constitution, we all are guaranteed religious liberty. Most of us totally respect the rights of others guaranteed by our constitution. All Christians do respect the rights of others especially the right to freely worship as we choose and to be religious or not.

    We can and should give and work together to feed the poor and care for the helpless. However, we should not ever depend upon government to do those things. Christians never coerce nor ever punish those who choose another belief.Thus Christianity is entirely compatible with our constitution. Sharia law directly opposes our constitution.
    In Response

    by: david allen from: Lakeside,ca
    February 04, 2016 12:01 PM
    The moment muslims agree to live under and abide by the constitution of the u.s. they they become my brothers and sisters and I have sworn to love and protect them with my life if necessary. I am totally indifferent to the name they call their creator. A long,long, long time ago, when asked for His true name He responded "It makes no difference by what name a Man calls me, when a man prays it is I who anwers!"

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