National Prayer Breakfast marks 60 years

This post has been updated 2-2-12 The football Super Bowl is Sunday, but for those who live at the intersection … Continued

This post has been updated 2-2-12

The football Super Bowl is Sunday, but for those who live at the intersection of Christianity and government, the real Super Bowl center’s around this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton.

As they do every year, thousands of people who work in faith-based-anything descend at the Hilton for the National Prayer Breakfast and the dozens of side meetings it inspires. Religious lawmakers, employees of the White House faith offices, religious aid groups, religious advocates on subjects from housing to abortion to torture to urban farming. The works.

The breakfast, which has been going on for 60 years, features the U.S. president and some kept-secret big name who both address a crowd of about 3,000 people about their faith and how it sustains them. The event’s purpose, said longtime attendee and columnist Cal Thomas, is to “take the principles of Jesus of Nazareth to relationships” and to inspire meetings of even bitterly divided politicians and tribal leaders.

The breakfast itself has a pretty non-partisan feel, and recent speakers have ranged from Tony Blair to rocker-activist Bono. That said there’s a lot of attention to how the American president addresses the subject of his faith, how overtly, using what language. Obama-watchers, hungry for anything from this private president, always dissect what he says.

But the breakfast, which began as an outgrowth of Congressional prayer groups, is just the news peg, as we reporters call it. Through Friday, the Hilton lobby and other spots around the city are jammed with people in town for the breakfast, shmoozing, doing business, sharing ideas spiritual, political, financial.

No GOP candidates, wiped from Tuesday’s Florida primary, are expected to come, but with thousands of influential GOP voters in attendance the breakfast seems hard to completely skip. But in a tough economy, the $175-per-person pricetag for the breakfast is notable.

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  • ehkzu

    This year attendees are going to get their money’s worth: Jackie Evancho will be singing several songs. Her message is in her music, and it’s extraordinary. She’s the only living singer I know of who regularly makes a significant portion of her audiences start weeping when she sings. And you don’t have to subscribe a a particular faith–or any faith at all–to get her message, so she’ll be one of most ecumenical elements at this concert.

    If anyone reading this hasn’t heard of her yet, just go to YouTube, where her videos have received over 60 million hits in the last year and a half. She’s also now the best-selling classical (actually she sings classical crossover) artist in the country, according to Billboard Magazine, the bible of the music industry.

  • Carstonio

    In the spirit of keeping government from endorsing any particular religions, I’d like to see this event be as inclusive as reasonably possible. Perhaps it could invite a representative sample of leaders from different religions that varies from year to year.

    I doubt that Mr. Thomas would support that initiative, but his writings over the years show him to be a spiteful man who insists that Christianity is America’s unofficial state religion, accusing anyone who objects of harboring hatred toward Christians. Religious neutrality by government benefits Americans of all religions.

  • JNelson4

    With any luck these folk don’t have a prayer

  • macnietspingal1

    In 2012 there is complete Biblical Unity in the USA. Common English Bible. My kids and I had an Ortho-Conservative Jewish Education. Today I own the Torah Scrolls and the Talmud. Sura 3:3 encourages all Muslims to read the Bible. How divine that we now have a complete historical bible based on Hebrew and Koine Greek. Although the Bible supports Jesus Christ with commentary and titles, it works for me in the real translation. It’s exactly how I translate the Bible in my own naive way. It comforts me. Start with 4 Maccabees for politics. I use 4 Maccabees/Clear Thinking with respect the brand new term EI/Emotional Intelligence. I trust this translation although I don’t know Koine Greek because of the Hebrew to English translation. The only problem I have with this Bible is that it just isn’t scientific forensic enough. It should now replace Yahwel with any other English world Nor should it replace Agape with any other English world. Those two words defy definition. That’s whats so “one size fits all” is for me for Atheists, Muslims, Jews like me and Christians. It would be fun for the President of the USA to explain his definition of Yahweh and Agape, being a Harvard lawyer. Would help me with all my Maryland legal discussions that I pay for. Perhaps the Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Pope can help Tikkun Olam.

  • ccnl1

    Fellowship Foundation –Sponsors of the National Prayer Breakfast
    “Mission Statement-

    To develop and maintain an informal association of people banded together, to go out as “ambassadors of reconciliation”, modeling the principles of Jesus, based on loving God and loving others. To work with the leaders of other nations, and as their hearts are touched, the poor, the oppressed, the widows, and the youth of their country will be impacted in a positive manner. Youth groups will be developed under the thoughts of Jesus, including loving others as you want to be loved.

    Total revenue reported on their IRS Form 990 for 2008 was $16,265,873.

    Their highest paid employees are four associates who average about $120,000/yr each including benefits.

    The Coe family appears to be heavily involved with this non-profit with two members being associates as noted above and with five other family members working for the group averaging about $12,000/yr.

    Strangest grant made in 2008 was to the Golf Ministry of Argentina for $11,000.

    On the 2006 IRS Forms, they list the Wilberforce Foundation as a related exempt organization located at the C Street Center. Wilburforce’s treasurer is David Coe. One of the VP’s is his brother Tim Coe. Both brothers are also associates at the Fellowship Foundation . David’s salary from Wilburforce is $125,000/yr including benefits. Tim Coe’s salary is $116,000. These are the same salaries listed on the Fellowship Foundation’s 2008 IRS 990 Form. One assumes that the brothers are getting salaries from both organizations i.e. $250,000 and $232,000/yr to include benefits. Marty Sherman also works for both organizations and one assumes gets the double salary of approximately $250,000.

    The Fellowship Foundation sponsors the National Prayer breakfast every year. On the 2008 Form 990, the breakfast cost $1,097,465 but was offset by ticket sales and donations of $1,173,584.

    The Family Coe involvement: (from Wikipedia)

    Hillary Clinton described meeting the le

  • ccnl1

    o What Obama can do to at least lift part of the Immoral Majority leader label?

    He says abortions should be “safe, legal and rare” but says nothing about the basic tenet of proper human conduct i.e. Thou Shalt Not Kill. And where is BO’s sense of indignation that abortions are not rare and that these acts of horror demean the Golden Rule considering that he says he is a Christian. And where is his sense of indignation that women who use the Pill do not use it properly resulting in an failure rate of 8.7% as per the Guttmacher Institute statistics. Using these and other Guttmacher Institute data, this failure of women to use the Pill properly results in ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year. And the annual abortion rate in the USA is?? ~1,000,000 as per the CDC.

    And do males use condoms properly? No, as said failure rate for this birth “control” method is 17.4%!! Again using Guttmacher data, said failure rate results in another ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year.

    The Guttmacher Institute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    Bottom line: BO is still not aware of the basics of birth control and still remains the leader of the Immoral Majority and will remain so until he becomes a true Christian and one who respects and protects human life in all its forms and who at least emphasizes the proper use of birth control methods!!!

    The “Immoral Majority” you ask?

    The fastest growing (and largest?) USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million “Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers” of aborted womb-babies” whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million “IM” voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for “pro-life” JM.

  • ohioan

    How can Obama stand before that Prayer Breakfast…. knowing that he’s
    FORCING Catholics and other religious institutions to PAY FOR ABORTION SERVICES?!!!!

    How can Obama be SO HYPOCRITICAL, Forcing religious institutions to help
    Pay to KILL BABIES?

    How Hypocritical is THAT?


  • ohioan

    ObamaCare is the whole reason, that our government is now FORCING religious institutions like Catholic services to PAY FOR ABORTION services.

    Federal government has no business taking over healthcare, which is now taking over religion choices.

  • kevinamesjr

    No, Kend,

    It is actually a mandate. Read up before you post.

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