Obama says faith mandates him to care for the poor

WASHINGTON — President Obama connected his faith with his policies toward the poor at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday … Continued

WASHINGTON — President Obama connected his faith with his policies toward the poor at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (Feb. 2), a subtle but sharp contrast to remarks made by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney the day before.

“Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper. Caring for the poor and those in need,” Obama said before an audience of about 3,000 at the Washington Hilton. These values, he said, “they’re the ones that have defined my own faith journey.”

Specifically, Obama said, they translate to policies that support research to fight disease and support foreign aid. His faith, he continued, inspires him “to give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy.”

Romney has come under fire for telling CNN on Wednesday that “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” but is instead focused on the middle class. He later said his remarks were taken out of context, and promised to fix any holes in the safety net protecting the impoverished.

Romney, who made a fortune as the CEO of Bain Capital, is seeking to counter critics who portray him as a “vulture capitalist.” Recently he released his tax returns, which showed his income at nearly $21 million last year and that he paid a lower tax rate than most Americans.

The 60th annual prayer breakfast is a bipartisan event sponsored by members of Congress who meet weekly for prayer when Congress is in session.

Flanked by first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama talked about his largely secular upbringing, and “finding Christ when I wasn’t even looking for him so many years ago.”

Obama did not mention recent tensions between the White House and Catholic and evangelical leaders over new rules that will mandate nearly all religious institutions to offer coverage for contraception to their employees.

Late Wednesday, Cecelia Munoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and a former staffer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sought to clarify what she called “confusion” over the contraception mandate.

“The Obama administration is committed to both respecting religious beliefs and increasing access to important preventive services,” she wrote in a White House blog post. “And as we move forward, our strong partnerships with religious organizations will continue.”

Obama shared the dais with Christian author and humorist Eric Metaxas, who asked the audience to forsake “phony” religiosity and to recognize the humanity in their political foes.

“If you can see Jesus in your enemy, then you know you are seeing through God’s eyes and not your own,” Metaxas said.

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  • Rubovitch

    The Catholic church doesn’t even pay taxes here, so why should contraception which saves untold billions of dollars in welfare and medical payments not be supported by the government? Guess we have our own “Taliban” in America!

  • ccnl1

    Romney believes that the horn-blowing angel Moroni appeared to the con artist Joe Smith. Not good for someone who wants to be president of any group !!!

    Obama “mouths” that he is Christian i.e. believes in gay Gabriel and war-mongering Michael the Archangel and Satan. BO’s support of abortion however vitiates has Christianity as he is the leader of the Immoral Majority who are now the largest voting block in the country. Immoral Majority you ask??

    The 78 million voting “mothers and fathers” of aborted womb babies !!! (2012 -1973 Rowe vs. Wade = 39.

    39 x 2 million = 78 million. Abortion rate in the USA as per the CDC is one million/yr.

    And the presidential popular vote in 2008? 69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for “pro-life” JM. The population of the Immoral Majority in 2008? ~ 70 million !!!!!!

  • gordoncstewartcom

    Eric Metaxas’s comment is on point and much needed in these times when religion has again risen to the fore. That the President’s motivation would meet with reistance says far more about his distractors than it does about the President. Ayn Rand would be as proud of the scornful cricticism of being one’s brother’s keeper just as Rand’s philosophy salutes the very wealthy and all who aspire to leave the losers in the dust at the bottom to fend for themselves. See “Religion and the White House” posted tonight on http://www.gordoncstewart.com. There’s a much larger discussion that needs to take place about the intersection of presidential candidates’ religious beliefs and how it translates into public policy, both foreign and domestic.