President Obama showed up at the National Prayer Breakfast. In fact, not only did the president show up, he got it right. Well, almost. In a week where the news cycle focused on economics, it is important not to miss Obama's seven wins and his one loss at the gathering of political leaders for a faith assembly.
Of course, the president included praise and endorsement for his poorly-conceived Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This government boondoggle was started by Bush and enlarged by Obama. Mingling government money and regulation with faith-based ministries only serves to rob faith-based organizations of control of their own destinies. Worse, it robs those groups of the very motive that started their mission effort to begin with. The government telling a church that it can serve soup but must do so without explaining WHY it is serving soup means the hands no longer express the heart. They merely serve soup. Faith-based without faith is de-based.
Nevertheless, President Obama struck seven powerful notes in his address at the National Prayer Breakfast.
First, he overcame his Islam fetish. In fact, he failed to mention Islam at all. That omission has to be a first for this president who always feels compelled to remind us that Islam is “one of the world's great religions” and that it has been “defiled by extremists.” Look at any address where he mentions religion, at his speech before the West Point cadets regarding Afghanistan policy, or at his faith-laden comments around Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr, and you will hear his relentless political correctness regarding the wonders of Islam. Compare those regularly glowing remarks with his failure even to mention Jesus in his Christmas comments, and one has to wonder why he feels so embarrassed about Jesus and Christianity yet so enthusiastic about protecting the brand image of Islam. This is political correctness at its worst.
President Obama also got it right in his comments about the faith-based response to the disaster in Haiti. Obama rightly sounded the bell that it is faith-based teams who respond quickly and enthusiastically in the hour of the world's need. He praised Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jews for their timely, compassionate and generous responses to the earthquake. He rightly omitted Islam since there appears to have been no Islamic mercy for the victims in Haiti. Good for him for not glossing over that absence.