(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama told an “Easter Prayer Breakfast” held at the White House on Tuesday morning that the resurrection of Our Savior Jesus Christ puts everything in perspective.
“I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason--because as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there’s something about the resurrection--something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective,” Obama told a group of Christian clergymen and government officials in a brief speech in the East Room.
“And that’s why we have this breakfast,” Obama said. “Because in the middle of critical national debates, in the middle of our busy lives, we must always make sure that we are keeping things in perspective. Children help do that. A strong spouse helps do that. But nothing beats scripture and the reminder of the eternal.”
A Pew Research Center poll, released on Aug. 19, 2010, said that only 34 percent of Americans believed that Obama was a Christian. The poll said that the belief that Obama was a Christian had actually declined among the American public during Obama's presidency. When Obama was a presidential candidate in October 2008, according to Pew, 51 percent had said he was a Christian. After Obama's inauguration, in March 2009, 48 percent had said he was a Christian. But, by August 2010, the percentage saying Obama was a Christian had dropped to 34 percent. The same poll showed that 18 percent said he was a Muslim and 43 percent said they did not know what the president’s religion was.
A Time Magazine poll released the same day as the Pew Research Center poll showed a higher percentage—but still not a majority—believing that Obama was a Christian. In that poll, 47 percent said they believed Obama was a Christian, 24 percent said they believed he was a Muslim, 24 percent declined to answer or said they were not sure of the president’s religion, and 5 said they believed he was not a Christian or a Muslim.
The White House responded to the August 2010 polls by saying Obama is a Christian who prays every day.
At the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, delivered the opening prayer.
During the speech, Obama reflected on Christ’s crucifixion. “And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world--past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection,” said Obama.
“In the words of the book Isaiah: ‘But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.’”
“This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect,” Obama said. “And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son--his Son and our Savior.”
Attendees included Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals; Elder Nancy Wilson of the Metropolitan Community Church; Archbishop Demetrios, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.; Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services; Sister Carol Keehan, CEO of Catholic Health Association; Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Bishop TD Jakes, Senior Pastor of The Potter’s House church.