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Friday, February 5, 2010

National Prayer Breakfast Desecrated

At the annual prayer breakfast, President Obama tried to exploit religion for political purposes, in the process exposing his arrogance and contempt for the American people. I heard Conservative radio commentators playing sound bytes of one mispronounced word and asserting that the mainstream media who would have ridiculed Shrub for making the same error are ignoring it when made by their favorite politician.

I don't care about the mispronounced word or the media's attitude. I am disgusted by the sheer arrogance evidenced by the President's statement. I am concerned with substance, not delivery and style. This speech stinks, like something you might find sticking to your shoes after a visit to a barnyard.

Remarks by the President at the National Prayer Breakfast quoted out of context, with emphasis added, interspersed with commentary.

I'm privileged to join you once again, as my predecessors have for over half a century. Like them, I come here to speak about the ways my faith informs who I am -- as a President, and as a person. But I'm also here for the same reason that all of you are, for we all share a recognition -- one as old as time -- that a willingness to believe, an openness to grace, a commitment to prayer can bring sustenance to our lives.

In '04, a few days after his nomination to run for the Senate, Obama sat for interview with Cathleen Falsani. These out of context snippets from that interview may help us to understand how his faith informs him. [Emphasis added.]

So that, one of the churches I met, or one of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church.


Yeah, although I don't, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it's best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.

Its' not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.

When I'm talking to a group and I'm saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I'm just being glib or clever.

Obama has an ongoing conversation with God and is constantly asking himself questions about his actions. Does he think he is God or can he carry on two conversations at once? Judging by how he speaks without a teleprompter, I suspect that he can't handle simultaneous conversations.

He is suspicious of dogma and takes religion with a big dose of doubt; how does that comport with having faith? The last quote from the interview seems to reveal a little too much. He admitted that he is not consistently truthful in his public remarks.

It's inspiring. 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.
There is a tendency to confuse personal and communal responsibilities. That confusion contributes greatly to the pursuit of the Socialist agenda. President Obama is contributing to that tendency.

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, the 9/11 or the Katrina, the earthquake or the tsunami, 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.

Note the bold faced clauses; are these Freudian slips or a demagogue mocking us by implicitly exposing himself ? At a spiritual retreat, a prayer breakfast, the President raises one of the most divisive issues, framing it in the context of religious obligation so as to imply guilt on the part of those who oppose his contest for power, which is founded on false premises. President Obama falsely asserts that his program will increase availability and decrease costs while its effects will be the exact opposite. Clearly, he is obsessed with the contest for power and employing a false argument in that contest.

Now, for those of us here in Washington, let's acknowledge that democracy has always been messy. Let's not be overly nostalgic. (Laughter.) Divisions are hardly new in this country. Arguments about the proper role of government, the relationship between liberty and equality, our obligations to our fellow citizens -- these things have been with us since our founding. And I'm profoundly mindful that a loyal opposition, a vigorous back and forth, a skepticism of power, all of that is what makes our democracy work.

The men who founded our representative republic had personally experienced and observed the evils attendant to tyranny. They wanted truth and reason to prevail over arbitrary authority, prejudice & passion. Rigorous debate is part of the process, so that competing ideas and arguments can be tested against each other. In the present case, the P:resident's partisans have declared our way or no way, and sought to prevent the opposition from having any input to the process. They have abused rules and procedures to limit debate and prevent scrutiny of the content of their legislation.

And we've seen actually some improvement in some circumstances. We haven't seen any canings on the floor of the Senate any time recently. (Laughter.) So we shouldn't over-romanticize the past. But there is a sense that something is different now; that something is broken; that those of us in Washington are not serving the people as well as we should. At times, it seems like we're unable to listen to one another; to have at once a serious and civil debate. And this erosion of civility in the public square sows division and distrust among our citizens. It poisons the well of public opinion. It leaves each side little room to negotiate with the other. It makes politics an all-or-nothing sport, where one side is either always right or always wrong when, in reality, neither side has a monopoly on truth. And then we lose sight of the children without food and the men without shelter and the families without health care.

The seeds of division and distrust are sown with campaign speeches and advertisements full of lies and half truths. They are fertilized by the habit of ignoring vox populi and a Hellbent determination to impose injurious policies contrary to common sense, experience and the popular will. Their fruits are harvested and a new crop sown with shibboleths such as "families without health care".

Politics becomes an "all-or-nothing sport" when the stakes are raised, when the policies proposed are self-perpetuating, irreversible and threaten economic devastation. The limited powers assigned to the federal government by the Constitution were designed to prevent politics from becoming a threat to life, liberty and prosperity. The erosion of those limits, set in motion by F.D.R., resulted in the current political climate.

Empowered by faith, consistently, prayerfully, we need to find our way back to civility. That begins with stepping out of our comfort zones in an effort to bridge divisions. We see that in many conservative pastors who are helping lead the way to fix our broken immigration system. It's not what would be expected from them, and yet they recognize, in those immigrant families, the face of God. We see that in the evangelical leaders who are rallying their congregations to protect our planet. We see it in the increasing recognition among progressives that government can't solve all of our problems, and that talking about values like responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage are integral to any anti-poverty agenda. Stretching out of our dogmas, our prescribed roles along the political spectrum, that can help us regain a sense of civility.

Our immigration system is not broken, it is abandoned, jacked up on blocks in the back yard. Illegal immigrants cross the Mexican border with no substantial interference. They carry drugs & disease over the border. They are accompanied by Muslims from the Mid East who may not have our welfare at heart.

The last sentence of the quote immediately above is an appeal to "bipartisanship" & "compromise". The real meaning of which is "Conservatives, surrender your principles and vote for whatever crap Liberals put forth.". When your friend suggests a suicide pact and hands you a poison pill, do you reject the pact and the pill or do you agree to swallow half of it as a compromise? Why should we abandon our principles and agree to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, making them citizens who can cement the Democrat party in power for the long term? The proposed amnesty will not solve the problem, it will serve as an incentive for even more illegal immigrants to cross the border.

So why should our side abandon our principles and accept legislation that will destroy jobs, ruin the economy, increase the federal debt and make health care less available & affordable? Its about our lives, health, prosperity and liberty, not about civility

Civility also requires relearning how to disagree without being disagreeable; understanding, as President [Kennedy] said, that "civility is not a sign of weakness." Now, I am the first to confess I am not always right. Michelle will testify to that. (Laughter.) But surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my citizenship. (Laughter and applause.)

In one of your books, you told about kneeling at the altar of Rev. Wright's church to rededicate your life to God. You did not identify your deity. In a later interview, you claimed that you rededicated your life to Jesus Christ. In another interview, you said that the Adhan was the sweetest sound at sunset and recited it to the interviewer. We have plenty of reason to suspect that your Christianity is a political veneer.

The Constitution specifies that the President must be a natural born citizen or a citizen at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. British law makes your father a citizen of Great Britain. You were registered in an Indonesian school as an Indonesian citizen and a Muslim. Where were you really born? If you were not born on American soil, your mother was too young to convey citizenship. We can't know for certain without seeing the birth certificate which declares the time and place of your birth. Why did you spend more than one million dollars to keep it out of our sight? Your Constitutional eligibility is not a function of your policies, it is a function of the circumstances of your birth.

Challenging each other's ideas can renew our democracy. But when we challenge each other's motives, it becomes harder to see what we hold in common. We forget that we share at some deep level the same dreams -- even when we don't share the same plans on how to fulfill them.

One side seeks to preserve the fruits of the grandest dream ever, which were temporarily secured by a miraculous victory in a war of revolution. The other side seeks to tear down the restrictions on government power. Those restrictions are the last line of defense for our liberties. We do not want to let you strangle the golden goose. Nor do we want to allow you to endanger our hard won liberties. The preservation of prosperity and liberty depends on frustrating your entire Socialist agenda.

We do not seek to deny anyone shelter, food, clothing or medical goods & services. We seek to prevent you from permanently destroying the Constitution and the economy.

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.

There is only one way to reform our health care system, and it is not your proposal! Reducing costs and increasing supply can only be accomplished by removing artificial barriers to competition. That means allowing an open market in insurance policies across state lines. It does not include restrictions on hospital construction & expansion and reductions in the training of new physicians. Reducing costs requires better control of Medicare fraud and the elimination of excessive liability settlements. Your party won't allow tort reform because you are in the lawyer's pockets.

Affordability is ultimately a function of income and living expenses. When you raise taxes, you push every good and service we want and need further out of reach. When you create inflation, you push everything out of reach. You could allow people to set up medical savings plans backed up with catastrophic care policies, but, since that would not cement you in power, you won't consider it.

Surely we can agree to find common ground when possible, parting ways when necessary. But in doing so, let us be guided by our faith, and by prayer. For while prayer can buck us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer can stiffen our spines to surmount an obstacle -- and I assure you I'm praying a lot these days -- (laughter) -- prayer can also do something else. It can touch our hearts with humility. It can fill us with a spirit of brotherhood. It can remind us that each of us are children of a awesome and loving God.

Here we have another classic example of the over confident, narcissistic demagogue waving his arrogance like a red flag before a bull. There is no common ground between Socialism Capitalism, nor between tyranny and liberty. He assumes the content of faith as well as the efficacy of prayer, ignoring the fact that Communism is officially atheistic.

How many times did we rise up and reject alien amnesty schemes when Shrub was trying to shove them down our throats? How many times did we reject Socialized medicine when LBJ & Clinton tried to shove it down our throats? But Obama is deaf to our shouts, he can not hear the protests at the town meetings, tea parties and recent special elections. He has a stiff neck and a stiff middle finger for us, at minimum.

Through faith, but not through faith alone, we can unite people to serve the common good. And that's why my Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been working so hard since I announced it here last year. We've slashed red tape and built effective partnerships on a range of uses, from promoting fatherhood here at home to spearheading interfaith cooperation abroad. And through that office we've turned the faith-based initiative around to find common ground among people of all beliefs, allowing them to make an impact in a way that's civil and respectful of difference and focused on what matters most.

"The common good" is an undefined and immeasurable concept, entirely too abstract to allow a useful debate. Likewise "common ground" between faiths. There is no common ground between Islam and any genuine religion. Invitations to "interfaith dialog" are actually demands for submission.

It is this spirit of civility that we are called to take up when we leave here today. That's what I'm praying for. I know in difficult times like these -- when people are frustrated, when pundits start shouting and politicians start calling each other names -- it can seem like a return to civility is not possible, like the very idea is a relic of some bygone era. The word itself seems quaint -- civility.


Yes, there are crimes of conscience that call us to action. Yes, there are causes that move our hearts and offenses that stir our souls. But progress doesn't come when we demonize opponents. It's not born in righteous spite. Progress comes when we open our hearts, when we extend our hands, when we recognize our common humanity. Progress comes when we look into the eyes of another and see the face of God. That we might do so -- that we will do so all the time, not just some of the time -- is my fervent prayer for our nation and the world.

We are supposed to gaze into Obama's eyes and see God. We are supposed to submit to his will. The difference between God and Obama is that God does not think he is Obama.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

There is one thing we can agree on: God bless the United States of America.