President Obama was in full religious mode at today’s White House Easter Prayer Breakfast, lacing his remarks this year with vivid Christian imagery as he addressed clergy from around the country in the East Room.
The president as of late has presented himself more openly as a Christian, adding greater amounts of religious phrasing to events like this and the lighting of the National Christmas Tree while he and his family have starting attending church – including a public stroll or two across Lafayette Park – more often.
Obama’s public profession of his religious beliefs is sure to play well with most Americans, but especially with his base of African Americans, whom he needs to turn out for him in November.
While the president only mentioned Jesus by name twice in each of his last two Easter Prayer Breakfasts, this year he invoked the name of Jesus six times.
Here’s some of what he said to give you the flavor:
So it is only because Jesus conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection. It’s only because He endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that He burdened — that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, “He is Risen!”
We all have experiences that shake our faith. There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us — (laughter) — but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph. Jesus told us as much in the book of John, when He said, “In this world you will have trouble.” I heard an amen. (Laughter.) Let me repeat. “In this world, you will have trouble.”
THE PRESIDENT: “But take heart!” (Laughter.) “I have overcome the world.” (Applause.) We are here today to celebrate that glorious overcoming, the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live. And I hope that our time together this morning will strengthen us individually, as believers, and as a nation.
Obama recently found himself at odds with the Catholic church with his demand that Catholic institutions cover birth control.