News / USA

    Obama: Religious Freedom Matters to 'National Security'

    President Barack Obama speaks at the 62nd National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Feb. 6, 2014.
    President Barack Obama speaks at the 62nd National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Feb. 6, 2014.
    VOA News
    President Barack Obama says freedom of religion matters to U.S. national security, and promoting religious freedom abroad is a key part in the country's foreign policy.

    Obama spoke Thursday at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, saying anyone who harms someone in the name of faith diminishes their relationship with God.

    "Around the world, freedom of religion is under threat, and that is what I want to reflect on this morning," the president told the audience. "We see governments engaging in discriminating and violence against the faith. We sometimes see religion twisted in an attempt to justify hatred and persecution against other people just because of who they are, how they pray, or who they love."

    He asked the audience to pray for those held captive for their religious beliefs, including Kenneth Bae, held in North Korea, and Saeed Abedini, held in Iran.

    Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama also attended the event to honor their Christian faith. The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the Senate and House of Representatives who meet each week for prayer on Capitol Hill.

    Every U.S. president has attended the event since it began in 1953.

    Guests of the annual event have come from some 130 countries, and the guest list often includes foreign dignitaries and celebrities. Mother Teresa, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and musician Bono have all attended the event.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sally from: CA
    February 06, 2014 11:52 AM
    Isn't it interesting that post WWII we had God in our lives in a big way [lots to be thankful for at the time]...and since then it has steadily gone downhill as we continue to remove God from our culture/society...progressive liberalism bordering on marxist/socialistic ideologies...that's the true culprit of our demise...pray for our country and its leaders...we/they need it!

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    February 06, 2014 11:42 AM
    To what do we attribute this twist of fact - innuendo or miscarriage? The name of God sounds well in his mouth as if he has not been otherwise. Harming others in the name of God, does he include harming innocuous and defenseless fetuses harmed in abortion, and those denied the free food they enjoyed from when the Church when he withdrew the subvention given to the Church because it refused to harm those who cannot speak or have anyone to represent them to demand for their right to live? No I can't believe it's Obama talking. Round peg in square hole. It will be the biggest surprise of his administration if he doesn't change this PRAYER BREAKFAST before the end of his second tenure in office.

    by: Steve from: Buffalo, NY
    February 06, 2014 11:30 AM
    Disagreeing with someone's lifestyle is not persecution. Inordinant affection, affection that is out of order, is actually named as a sin in the new testament. This does not, and will not justify any violence against anyone, for different lifestyles or religious beliefs.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora