News / USA

Obama to Speak About His Faith at Prayer Breakfast

Obama to Speak About His Faith at Prayer Breakfasti
X
February 06, 2013 5:53 PM
President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday. And as VOA's religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports, it's one of a number of controversial events with religious overtones on Washington's political calendar.
— President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.  It's one of a number of controversial events with religious overtones on Washington's political calendar.
 
The National Prayer Breakfast is a chance for influential Americans and foreign dignitaries to hear the president talk about his faith, as he did last year. 
 
"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," Obama said. 
 
Gatherings that focus on prayer are an integral part of Washington's political calendar and the president's attendance is often expected. 
 
Public policy professor Mark Rozell, an expert on religion and the presidency, said, "People expect to have a president of strong religious faith, and they are comfortable with the president engaging in public displays of religious faith and commitment."
 
But not everybody agrees. 
 
"Technically it's not a violation of the Constitution for the president of the United States to go to a religious event that's off public property," said Barry Lynn, a minister in the United Church of Christ and director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "This is held in a big hotel.  But I'm very troubled by the way that politicians in the United States tend to want to use religion for political purposes, giving speeches that quote Jesus, as if Jesus was supposed to be making decisions about how we develop an anti-gun policy or run a budget." 
 
It's a difficult balancing act for Obama.  An increasing number of Americans describe themselves as religously unaffiliated, and they were crucial in his re-election victory last year.  

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid