President Obama Hosts Easter Prayer Breakfast
More than 130 religious leaders -- including Dwayne Leslie, director of legislative affairs for the Seventh-day Adventist church -- joined U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on April 5 for an Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House.
Vice President Biden opened the proceedings by talking about his experience growing up Catholic, his recent trip to Rome, his passionate commitment to tolerance of all people and beliefs, and the need for people of faith to understand the importance of seeing themselves as their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
Following the Vice President’s remarks, President Obama spoke of his recent trip to Israel, according to Leslie, and noted what a special experience it was for him to be in the Holy Land just prior to Easter. The President also remarked about the importance of Christians recommitting themselves to honoring Jesus’ example by loving not only the Lord, but by following his teachings by loving their neighbors as themselves. Additionally, the President spoke about the vital need to remember the tremendous sacrifice Jesus made for each and every person.
“At a time when many members of the media focus on a decline in self-identification as Christians among Americans -- especially among younger adults – it’s striking to be invited to an event at the White House and be reminded by the leader of the free world about the important role faith and religion most definitely still play in American public life. I was profoundly touched to fellowship with so many leaders of other denominations, and found the President’s comments to be both topical and timely,” said Leslie.
The Vice President and President’s remarks were followed by scripture readings; the singing together of the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” led by Christian music artist Natalie Grant; and a sermon by Bishop Vashti McKenzie, presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District (of the African Methodist Episcopal Church).