Thursday, February 04, 2010

Secretary of State, President Speak At National Prayer Breakfast

This morning the 58th Annual National Prayer Breakfast was held in Washington, D.C. One of the keynote speakers was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Full text of speech.) Her remarks included some rather blunt criticism of the misuse of religion:

All religions have their version of the Golden Rule and direct us to love our neighbor and welcome the stranger and visit the prisoner.... Yet across the world, we see organized religion standing in the way of faith, perverting love, undermining that message.

Sometimes it's easier to see that far away than here at home. But religion, cloaked in naked power lust, is used to justify horrific violence, attacks on homes, markets, schools, volleyball games, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples. From Iraq to Pakistan and Afghanistan to Nigeria and the Middle East, religion is used a club to deny the human rights of girls and women, from the Gulf to Africa to Asia, and to discriminate, even advocating the execution of gays and lesbians. Religion is used to enshrine in law intolerance of free expression and peaceful protest. Iran is now detaining and executing people under a new crime – waging war against God. It seems to be a rather dramatic identity crisis.

So in the Obama Administration, we are working to bridge religious divides. We’re taking on violations of human rights perpetrated in the name of religion. And we invite members of Congress and clergy and active citizens like all of you here to join us.... We are committed, not only to reaching out and speaking up about the perversion of religion, and in particularly the use of it to promote and justify terrorism, but also seeking to find common ground. We are working with Muslim nations to come up with an appropriate way of demonstrating criticism of religious intolerance without stepping over into the area of freedom of religion or non-religion and expression.

President Barack Obama also spoke at length at the National Prayer Breakfast. (Full text of remarks.) Spotlighting the American people's response to the recent earthquake in Haiti, he said:
This is what we do, as Americans, in times of trouble. We unite, recognizing that such crises call on all of us to act, recognizing that there but for the grace of God go I, recognizing that life's most sacred responsibility -- one affirmed, as Hillary said, by all of the world's great religions -- is to sacrifice something of ourselves for a person in need.

Sadly, though, that spirit is too often absent when tackling the long-term, but no less profound issues facing our country and the world. Too often, that spirit is missing without the spectacular tragedy ... that can shake us out of complacency. We become numb to the day-to-day crises, the slow-moving tragedies of children without food and men without shelter and families without health care. We become absorbed with our abstract arguments, our ideological disputes, our contests for power. And in this Tower of Babel, we lose the sound of God's voice.
As urged by a number of people, Obama also spoke out against the harsh anti-gay legislation recently proposed in Uganda, reportedly at the urging of the same group that sponsored the Prayer Breakfast. (See prior posting.) The President said:
We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth. We can take different approaches to ending inequality, but surely we can agree on the need to lift our children out of ignorance; to lift our neighbors from poverty. We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

And the secretary of state should have mentioned the religious freedom of American churches to criticize Bill and Hillary when they were in office.

Under Bill Clinton the Justice Dept / FBI conducted a 2.5 year long investigation of conservative churches looking for anything to discredit them. When the conservatives took back congress in 1994, the 1995 congress investigated the investigation, which was suddenly dropped.

What did the Janet Reno Clinton justice dept find? NOTHING! Zero Zip Nada... Not one crime at all among conservative churches after 2.5 years of FBI investigation. That speaks well for their integrity and very badly for our secretary of state.

Goodbye Mrs Clinton. You face unemployment in 1012. Next prayer breakfast leave your politics at home.

DistributeWealth said...

Government officials should not participate in religious events, especially not this one, which is hosted by a fundamentalist group.

The fundamentalists are a lot like communists. They each have their infallible leader, Marx on the one hand and Jesus on the other (although both of these men have been proven wrong by history). They both aim to recruit members of government so they can manipulate the levers of power. And they are both hypocritical and authoritarian in their true natures.

Communism is now in the dustbin of history. Soon so will be Christianity, because nothing fails like prayer.

Our Founding Truth said...

[Christianity] in the dustbin of history>

Repeating the foolish lie of Voltaire. He said the same thing, then they used his house to print bibles. Maybe they'll use your house too.

If Christianity was of the world, Kings, Queens, Popes, Princes, dictators et al. would have destroyed it long ago.

Anonymous said...

Obviously distwealth does not understand either fundamentalism or the national prayer breakfast!

I suspect his first amendment understanding is equally inadequate.

Federal courts have repeatedly allowed religous activity by gov't employees.

DistributeWealth said...

Anonymous,

Obviously, you have not done your homework on First Amendment jurisprudence. The federal courts at all levels have repeatedly ruled that government employees cannot breach the wall of separation between church and state.

Are you a fundamentalist by belief? If so, do you believe a teacher or principal has the right to lead children in prayer in our public schools?

Barb said...

I certainly believe a teacher or principal can lead children in prayer in a public school if all those children are being raised in the same general religion as the principal or teacher --or if the teacher or principal is attending an after-school or before school Bible club. The parents are his primary employers --the children are entrusted to his care/leadership. His authority and influence derive from his parents as a group --more than from the impersonal state.

the teacher/principal does not cease to be a person with full rights in order to come across as an atheistic automaton of the state.

I once prayed with a group of students including my own --at a competetive event ----that God would calm our nerves and help us do our very best. I was then a school board member; I prayed as a parent with my child and her friends. I was not proselytizing but doing what seemed natural and helpful at the time --and got no complaints. I knew I didn't have any persons of other ethnicities, assumed most were either Christian or unchurched. My prayer would only have (technically) offended atheists, maybe Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus --I knew the children were not of such backgrounds ethnically.

Barb said...

Anony 3:50 --well said. I didn't know about that investigation. You have a succinct style I envy...

DistributeWealth said...

Barb,

Your self-righteousness clouds your judgment. You should acknowledge, but probably can't, that what seems "natural and helpful" to you could be perceived as oppressive and detrimental by someone else.

Moreover, your version of Christianity may be quite objectionable to other Christians, and likewise your prayers.

Your board of education should have been sued for your illegal activities.

mud_rake said...

Your board of education should have been sued for your illegal activities.

They should have, but were not. Rather, she lost her bid to get re-elected once the parents found out her fundamentalist christian agenda that she hoped to instill in the school system.

Barb said...

It was Odyssy of the Mind for the gifted, and the coaches were parents --unpaid by the school --not representing the school board. So sue me.

And the prayer was short, non-sectarian, and in the spirit of those prayers by coaches and their teams in sports. I knew the kids and their parents.

I served 8 years --that was enough. It took Mudrake's door to door campaign to get me beat by 100 votes after a suspicious re-count from faulty machines without any representation from me to guard the re-count process. I doubt I really lost.

Barb said...

Does anyone think this following me around is personal on Mudrake's part?
Did I help you get fired or something? I don't recall it....

DistributeWealth said...

Mudrake,

Thank you for that very positive update. The voters chose wisely and well. And they protected freedom.

Citizens generally need to act more aggressively against breaches of the wall of separation. There are many organizations who care deeply about this issue and will usually help with the legal struggle if someone will simply take a stand. I have personally done this, and in a very conservative community.

mud_rake said...

Distribute- my blog is dedicated to ferreting out the truth and exposing the truth covered-up in muck.

The person to whom I referred above was part of that nation-wide covert plan to get fundamentalist christians elected to school boards all across this land so that they could influence the curriculum [especially science and sex-education] so that they would reflect fundamentalist christian values.

The citizens of the school district were, naturally, unaware of her agenda because, as you can tell from her posts, she can be quite the actress, feigning ignorance when cornered.

Once the parents became aware that she was actively working to modify the sex-education program of the school district to reflect the fundamentalist chrisitan agenda, her 'popularity' began to diminish and she lost her bid for re-election- quite a rare event.

She came to my blog a few years ago after I posted and commented on a homophobic letter to the editor that she wrote in the Toledo Blade. She dislikes the flashlight that I shine on her bigoted beliefs, much like cockroaches flee when the lights are flicked on.

Apparently she does not know how doggedly determined I remain in my quest to expose the unconstitutional agenda that she and others like her attempt to foist on the citizens of this nation.

Jim51 said...

mud_rake,
If, as Barb says, you were instrumental in getting her defeated and eliminated from the school board, then I thank you for your civic effort.
You may have also saved the district a lot of money in a legal case.
Well done.
Jim51

Barb said...

The almost exactly 100 voters who tipped the scale (slip one or 2 digits inside a voting machine) --if they in fact did-- did not choose wisely and well --they had to get rid of my replacement really fast....

But my kids were nearly through school and I think it's appropriate for some school board members to be parents with kids in the school, don't you? I had plenty to do; it did not leave a void in my life, believe me.

Notice Mudrake never won any such election --nor could he. He can only go slithering in the grass to oppose people to other like minded slitherers....

DistributeWealth said...

Barb,

You seem so angry about your ballot box loss. But please don't take the voters' rejection too personally. After all, it was only your interpretation of Christianity that was rejected, not you as a person.

You should talk with some of the people who voted against you. It might enlighten you in ways the "slitherers" here cannot.

mud_rake said...

barb @ Notice Mudrake never won any such election --nor could he.

Naturally.

I never ran.

Barb, you sound so immature, so pitiful, so adolescent.

Barb said...

Actually, why should I feel personally rejected by the voters, DW? since a great many more voted for me in two elections than against me in a 5 way split where there were 3 winners and I went from 2nd place to 4th after the opening of the machines and the possible tampering. On second thought, if I recall correctly, I didn't lose by 100; I dropped 100 votes after the recount, almost to the digit.

You can see that some people like Mudrake would have been (and were) DESPERATE to get out the 3 Christian women who had challenged our counselors like no others by rejecting a bad drug program (life skills program) that we mothers didn't like. I had even talked to the professional hired evaluator of the Minnesota drug program, who was then in D.C., and he said I had read between the lines correctly--that kids completing the program in the 7th grade were no more able to make good decisions than before they took the program. Someone made sure the newspaper heard that the AW board rejected "project Charlie." Voted unanimously, too, because we parents had done our homework. Our critics didn't know what we knew about the program and its flaws --and people of Mudrake's mindset do not listen to reason --in part because they really DO have a different mindset.

As far as school administrators are concerned, board members are figure heads and are not supposed to REALLY represent parents and cross lower-level liberal administrators used to doing whatever they wanted with our kids. So Mudrake went door to door with fliers alleging non-substantive, prevaricating, prejudiced, ignorant nonsense like he spews here. I was the only one of us three Moms up for re-election at the time.

There was a great cultural war going on in public ed at the time --values clarification, r-rated movies shown in our 8th grade, incest in a book theme on 9th grade reading list, bad advice from unsuccessful parents on how to help kids resist drugs and alcohol (teachers whose kids later had substance abuse and drug problems themselves, who thought they knew how to prevent drug abuse--by "not being too didactic" --by teaching there are no absolutes --promoting decision-making skills that undermine parental and religious authority --visualization techniques and salutations to the sun in gym class. "Self adulation" to build self esteem. I was vindicated on that issue the following summer in national magazines noting that the self-love self-esteem programs in schools were making it hard for kids to deal with not being at the head of the class, the lead in the play, chosen for the team, etc. they noted that telling kids they "could be anything they wanted to be," was a promise that could not be fulfilled.

(My approach: All children can be excellent in effort, and even more so in character and goodness. The world's primary problem is not low-self-esteem per se, as educators were wont to think.)

Fine, if that's what all the parents wanted --but that was not the case. Secular humanism was over-running traditional values in our schools --with trips of students to Planned Parenthood and their Rocky Mtn PP brochures telling kids that there was no longer any double standard as in "grandma's day"--"good girls" could now be as bad as "good boys" because of the pill. That brochure was before herpes/AIDS epidemics.

The hippies had gotten teaching and counseling degrees and there was massive cultural protest --and I won my first election on that wave of protest. Mudrake once accused me on line of being a "stealth candidate." Hardly, I came right out with my positions in my first campaign.

To beat me 8 years later, Mudrake and his buddies had to do the extraordinary in local political skulduggery.

Oddly, he's STILL not satisfied, is he? Still campaigning against me. Tsk tsk.

mud_rake said...

Poor thing! Let's have a pity party.

Barb said...

I tell you, Mudly--you are a REALLY good writer, better than I, and an intelligent man-- with an always interesting blog-as in your Clear Lake piece--and the one about your friend who died recently--to whom you said "Bon Jour" for her non-existant journey to the after life --but never a good writer about me or in response to me!! You are the one who sounds bereft of maturity and reason here --even though there are those who will support you because of like beliefs.

Was this comment above the best you could do?? "....pity party"?
I thought you'd at least deny going door to door against me in that campaign --but I must have been right. I heard SOMEONE did it.

You need to see that you have got your father's OCD and anti-protestant obsession --against me --and I can't help but think it's robbing YOU of more joy than it is ME!

When you are not slithering vilely about with nastiness, you are sputtering, almost wordlessly, uneloquently mad! with your little one-liners. I'm really not that dangerous --not even making much of a dent probably on your favorite cause celebre, the homosexuals.

If I didn't know better, I'd think that part of the problem is that you ARE homosexual --and you are mad at the church and anyone who stands against that. But you are a married father still with wife --so I assume you are not homosexual.

Though there are many who swing both ways, as we know. That would explain your obsession--and how you seek me out on blogs to focus on my view of the gay issue.