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President Obama Slammed For Attending Prayer Breakfast With Anti-Gay Connection

President Barack Obama's National Prayer Breakfast has offended some gay rights activists, who took issue with the event's sponsor -- a conservative religious group with ties to anti-gay agendas.

Thursday's Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., is an annual event hosted by the Fellowship Foundation, otherwise known as "the Family." According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Family is a conservative Christian group that has supported anti-gay legislation around the world and has ties with Ugandan official David Bahati, whose infamous "Kill the Gays" bill would impose the death penalty for same-sex relationships.

Gay rights activists opposed Obama's appearance at the event. Demonstrators protested outside the Washington Hilton on Feb. 7 to bring awareness to the issue, reports the Inquirer.

“We would love for the President to come out and join us at the 'Breakfast without Bigotry,'” Michael Dixon, a member of LGBT rights group GetEqualDC and organizer of Thursday's demonstrations, told CNN. GetEqual and 30 other demonstrators said prayers for Ugandan gay activist David Kato, who was brutally bludgeoned to death in 2011.

“The values the Family is actually espousing could not be further from what Jesus would actually support," Dixon told CNN. "We feel that persecuting people because of the way that they were born, trying to have them imprisoned for life, trying to execute them, is not Christian and it’s not a family value in any sense of the word.”

Obama's attending the Prayer Breakfast, therefore, seemed to juxtapose his support for equality, a stance he historically backed at his second inauguration ceremony last month.

In his inauguration speech, Obama said that America's journey to equality will not end "until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there hadn't been much focus on the group's ties before the breakfast.

"I confess that I haven't focused on this," Carney told reporters of the the Family's anti-gay links, according to Metro Weekly. "The president, as his predecessors have, participates in this. He's not responsible for the views of every organization or person who participates. His views on these issues, as you just noted in your question, are quite clear."

Gay rights groups also opposed the National Prayer Breakfast in 2010, when Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked for congressional leaders to boycott the event. Gay rights groups responded with their own prayer events in 17 cities across the nation, according to Time.

Although Obama did not mention equality or same-sex marriage in his delivery at the breakfast, he did discuss the "Golden Rule."

"I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to 'love thy neighbor as thyself,'" the president said.

by Anonymousreply 1105/05/2014

I think the President has to wander into enemy territory now and then. And that includes enemies foreign and within.

He doesn't have to endorse a group to speak to them. Nor does he have to nor should he ignore his differences with that group or is sponsors. His job is to engage all factions (well, almost all) and drop some truth on them. If some common ground can be found then that can move any issue ahead.

by Anonymousreply 102/07/2013

I agree r1. Three years ago I would have found this upsetting but the president is on record as supporting equality. He is still President of ALL the USA and has to maintain a dialogue with people of diverse opinions.

by Anonymousreply 202/07/2013

'The Family' are a hell of a lot more than merely anti-gay. They are batshit insane, and NO ONE with ties to them should be allowed in our government or around our president. They are freaks.

Read the book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, by Jeff Sharlet. It will scare the fuck out of you - and make you furious.

by Anonymousreply 302/07/2013

That's correct R3, and he still doesn't dare resist them, that's what's so sad. Their view of power and America's role in the world is a comic book villain's dream of world domination propped up by ridiculous unethical "religion."

by Anonymousreply 402/07/2013

How many in Washington attend this breakfast? It's such an incestuous cesspool that I'm no longer shocked. Has anyone publicly turned down an invitation?

by Anonymousreply 502/07/2013

Nobody has missed that breakfast since the 1940s that's how long this evil group has been going on.

by Anonymousreply 602/07/2013

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a town in upstate New York may begin its public meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month.”

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in the 5-to-4 decision, said “ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond that authority of government to alter or define.”

In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the town’s practices could not be reconciled “with the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share of her government.”

Town officials said that members of all faiths, and atheists, were welcome to give the opening prayer. In practice, the federal appeals court in New York said, almost all of the chaplains were Christian.

Two town residents sued, saying the prayers ran afoul of the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.

In 1983, in Marsh v. Chambers, the Supreme Court upheld the Nebraska Legislature’s practice of opening its legislative sessions with an invocation from a paid Presbyterian minister, saying that such ceremonies were “deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country.”

The plaintiffs in the case from Greece, New York, said their case was different. The prayers at the town board meetings were often explicitly sectarian, they said, and residents of the town, outside of Rochester, were forced to listen to them in order to participate in local government.

The appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, agreed that the 1983 decision did not govern the case before it.

“A substantial majority of the prayers in the record contained uniquely Christian language,” Judge Guido Calabresi wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel of the court. “Roughly two-thirds contained references to ‘Jesus Christ,’ ‘Jesus,’ ‘Your Son’ or the ‘Holy Spirit.'”

by Anonymousreply 705/05/2014

I voted for Obama last election..

by Anonymousreply 805/05/2014

I agree with r1. He is the President of ALL of America, not just us. Presidents have to do this shit all the time. Just get over it, please, it's not the end of the world. It's just PR.

by Anonymousreply 905/05/2014

They don't have to. The Family has had too much power for too long considering it was founded by a Nazi and has supported mass killing dictators from Stroessner to Museveni through the years.

by Anonymousreply 1005/05/2014

The President cannot stand by his support of gays and must visit wealthy bigots!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 1105/05/2014
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