Barack Obama | News | The Family | Uganda

President Obama Attends National Prayer Breakfast Sponsored by Anti-Gay Group 'The Family'

President Obama and other Congressional leaders this morning attended the National Prayer Breakfast, hosted by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as "The Family."

Thefamily"The Family" has strong ties to anti-gay African leaders, specifically Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati, sponsor of the infamous so-called "kill the gays" bill.

LGBT activist group GetEQUAL, which has protested outside the past two National Prayer Breakfasts did not do so this year because the organizer of the previous 'Breakfast Without Bigotry' protests, Michael Dixon, died last week.

They did, however, send out a statement objecting to Obama's participation.

Said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL and a seminary graduate:

"For another year, President Obama has chosen to set aside his stated values of inclusion in order to attend the National Prayer Breakfast -- an event rooted in hatred of LGBT people and covered up by pastries and coffee. There are so many communities of faith that fully embrace LGBT people and that are rooted in social justice -- we really don't understand why President Obama continues to give his permission for 'The Family' to support killing LGBT folks abroad. If the president is looking for ways to publicly demonstrate that he's a man of faith, he needs to find ways to do so without simultaneously putting the lives of LGBT people in jeopardy. The 'Kill the Gays' bill has been moving through the Ugandan Parliament at the very same time that President Obama was speaking to the group supporting it -- this practice has got to stop, and the president needs to understand the role he is playing in supporting the execution of LGBT people around the world."

The group added, in its press release:

At a previous National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama said "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 ... more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda."

Despite this assertion of the rights of LGBT Ugandans to live in peace, President Obama continues to attend and, therefore, support this event. Given the fact that President Obama has recently come out in favor of LGBT equality -- including references in his inaugural speech and in an interview just days ago on Super Bowl Sunday -- we are deeply saddened that the president continues to support this event.

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  1. Can someone please explain to me - what the hell is a "prayer breakfast?"

    Posted by: Butch | Feb 7, 2013 10:23:22 AM

  2. You pray and stuff your pie hole. Kind of like a Catholic high mass with crappy lukewarm catered food.


    I though Barry was our friend and savior?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 7, 2013 10:27:17 AM

  3. The event should be declared unconstitutional. The government simply can't give support to a clearly fundamentalist religious event.

    Posted by: Steve | Feb 7, 2013 10:34:29 AM

  4. "I though Barry was our friend and savior?"

    Conservative Christians aint too crazy about Barry either.

    At this point who knows why he attends this breakfast crap. Maybe they serve great grits.

    Posted by: Derrrick from Philly | Feb 7, 2013 10:35:53 AM

  5. (sigh) I find it disappointing as well, but, hey, maybe he'll change some hearts and minds with his speech. He did condemn the Ugandan "Kill the Gays" bill last time. Perhaps he'll go even farther this year (but I doubt it.)

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Feb 7, 2013 10:43:00 AM

  6. I am willing to cut Obama some slack at this point.

    He has now become an active supporter of gay rights. His unambiguous support of gay inclusion in the Boy Scouts - no hemming or hawing - shows where his heart is. I suspect it was always there, but now that he doesn't have to worry about re-election, he is able to be more vocal.

    Frankly, I think that we have more important issues than this right now, although I don't diminish its importance.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Feb 7, 2013 10:56:50 AM

  7. He is the President of all Americans, even the hatemngering Christianists. I don't have a problem with him showing up there, but he does have an obligation to publicly disagree with them on gay issues (and he has and does).

    Nobody here is naive enough to think that President Obama or anyone else is our "savior" - that would be indulging in the kind of sloppy magical thinking our opponents live by. The idea itself is just a red herring for conservative trolls.

    Posted by: antb | Feb 7, 2013 11:00:39 AM

  8. Phew. With all those recent LGBT victories the President has contributed to, I was beginning to worry for Rick and Rat's mental health. At least now they can breathe a sigh of relief and continue to fap to Clinton signing DOMA in '96.

    Posted by: kpo5 | Feb 7, 2013 11:01:34 AM

  9. It's not just their anti-gay stance that should worry you. The Family adheres to Dominionism. It's a group of high-ranking and very well connected politicians - including Senators - whose goal is nothing else but to turn the country into a theocracy.

    Posted by: Steve | Feb 7, 2013 11:04:46 AM

  10. My question is why do we even have a "National Prayer Breakfast" and why do Presidents feel obligated to attend?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Feb 7, 2013 11:14:55 AM

  11. Does anyone have the transcript of his speech? Before I can judge his attendance at this thing I want to know what he told them.

    Posted by: Tom | Feb 7, 2013 11:37:18 AM

  12. It doesn't matter what he said. If you truly understand who is a part of this group and attends this function, then you know that no hearts or minds are being changed. This is a simply a public event that serves as a litmus test for whether someone is a "good enough Christian" or not. Like it or not, Obama's views on gay rights are simply not deeply held, and I'm not sure why we'd expect them to be. His views were and are about political calculation. It doesn't make Obama bad, and we should be happy he's "evolved" in the right direction obviously. But we shouldn't be surprised when he still engaged in activities that seem hypocritical.

    Posted by: Stefan | Feb 7, 2013 12:03:13 PM

  13. As for this being unconstitutional, I'm failing to see how. It's not state action.

    Posted by: Stefan | Feb 7, 2013 12:04:17 PM

  14. I'm disappointed that Obama is giving it legitimacy by attending, but these Prayer Breakfasts became a big thing while the GOP was in power. Hillary Clinton attended them for years.

    I don't know which would be better, to boycott them and let this fundmentalist hater hootenanny be shrouded in secrecy with ONLY GOP lawmakers (who *would* attend), or to show up and make sure your POV is heard, repulsive as the Family and the event are.

    It's a judgment call, I think.

    Rachel Maddow has done some good reporting on The Family and they're truly awful. Their appeal to political leaders is dangerous, because one of their central themes is that if you HAVE political power it's because God WANTS you to have it, so whatever extremist views you espouse are OK, because God put you there. It's circular "logic" and dangerous thinking.

    Posted by: Caliban | Feb 7, 2013 12:05:58 PM

  15. I agree with some people here: the only way to work for change is to have dialogue along the way. Attending events like these is such a complicated thing; people judge, people don't understand, people prefer to react out of ignorance rather than take to time to understand why things typically happen the way they do.

    It would be nice if 'crazy' groups got no airtime, no mention, no acknowledgement whatsoever. Unfortunately, we have to work with them at times and hope for improvement. Someone on this board already pointed out that Obama is the President for all Americans, not just a sub-set. Therefore, he does have an obligation to do things he might (and I might) find unsavory.

    Posted by: iowan | Feb 7, 2013 12:22:50 PM

  16. Adding to what Iowan's point:
    A lot of the comments above show an our-side-or-their-side black & white mentality. Someone even said it should be unconstitutional for the president to attend a prayer breakfast! That guy must think separation of Church and State means that public officials should not publically practice any religion. Happily, no such ban has ever been upheld by the courts. The president, judges, senators, etc. can go to churh and be seen taking communion just like anybody else. Separation of Church and State does NOT mean the total subtraction of religion from public life.

    Posted by: Ernst Rhoem's Ghost | Feb 7, 2013 12:55:29 PM

  17. Wasn't it at a similar (if not the same breakfast) that Bill Clinton gave a teary "I'm sorry for my sin" in 1998...a breakfast that PWJC attended with a black eye because (according to the tabloids) Hillary clocked him with the ashtray?

    Posted by: Chitown kev | Feb 7, 2013 1:03:28 PM

  18. It was the White House Prayer Breakfast that I was thinking of held on 9/11/98.

    Posted by: Chitown kev | Feb 7, 2013 1:20:04 PM

  19. Would everyone please stop saying that Obama is for equal rights. He speaks with forked tongue. His official position is STATES' RIGHTS. This is NOT equal rights. Stop reporting lies that he is for equal rights.

    Posted by: Andrew Conte | Feb 7, 2013 2:06:09 PM

  20. Obama need to stop fishing for votes in the desert.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 7, 2013 2:58:20 PM

  21. As an Agnostic/Atheist, I don't like the fact that our civic leaders attend any kind of prayer services. However, we have to remember that Obama is the President of this big diverse and heterogeneous nation. I think he feels obligated to send out friendly signals to all sorts of Americans. All things considered, I think Obama is an outstanding President.

    Posted by: andrew | Feb 7, 2013 6:28:45 PM

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