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.

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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.

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