President Obama to Speak at National Prayer Breakfast

Update: The nearly 2 hour Prayer Breakfast is available on C-SPAN video.

According to the Christian Post, President Obama will speak today at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.  He previously did the same last year; Admiral Mullen also attended last year.

Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband to wounded Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, will reportedly deliver the closing prayer.

Obama is Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces; Kelly is a US Navy Captain.  Military members have routinely taken part in prayer functions every year on bases around the world, just as they will this year in places like Fort Jackson, SC.

The military’s defense of their religious freedom ensures their continued ability to do so, despite the unConstitutional demands of those who would take away the rights of the troops.


  • What, no injunction lawsuit from the MRFF? I’m hurt.

  • There’s nothing wrong with the president addressing a religious group, although I don’t think the president should be part of any event run by the Fellowship Foundation (a.k.a. The Family), but that’s another issue. As for Admiral Mullen’s attendance, it is perfectly permissible for a member of the military to simply attend a religious event in uniform, so, no issue there. The one thing that did cross the line, however, was Mark Kelly speaking in uniform, as this was not only a religious event, but an event run by a non-federal entity.

    As for the Prayer Breakfast being held at Fort Jackson tomorrow, I’ve been trying to find the time to write about that one for days. The keynote speaker is not only an anti-semitic member of Glenn Beck’s “Black Robed Regiment,” but promotes the Focus on the Family “Truth Project” and its claim that only 9% of Christians are “real” Christians.

  • Chris Rodda :
    There’s nothing wrong with the president addressing a religious group …

    What kind of legal test can you apply such that the president’s message would pass but the Marine’s message would not? In fact, wouldn’t President Obama’s comments be more problematic, as they could be seen as endorsement of one religion over another by the commander in chief of all the armed forces?

    Now, that said, the Fort Jackson prayer breakfast does look to fail the establishment clause test on its face:

    This year’s theme will be “The Battle Within” with the key scripture verse of Judges 6:14.

    Moreover, having read Judges 6:14 — “Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you.'” — I find nothing that would serve as a source of inspiration, and I don’t find how that verse relates to a “battle within,” as it’s a command from God to commit genocide on another people. So, yeah, there’s a lot wrong with that prayer breakfast, which makes me even more confused as to why MRFF would focus on the Air Force Academy to the exclusion of Fort Jackson.

  • We were just contacted about the Air Force Academy one first, and not contacted about the Fort Jackson one, which is tomorrow, until it was too late to pursue the course of action we were able to pursue with the Academy one, which isn’t scheduled until the 10th. Obviously, we object to both of them, and I will be writing about the Fort Jackson one.

    As for Obama, he can say whatever he wants to at this private event. (So can a member of the military if they’re not in uniform). I don’t like that he was speaking at a prayer event run by The Family, but there’s no legal reason he can’t.

  • Chris,

    As the civilian leader of the armed forces, he has no uniform. However, if he has the presidential seal on the podium, isn’t that a symbol of the office’s (rather than the individual’s) endorsement of the event?

  • @Dealer
    Since the president isn’t subject to the UCMJ or the DoD regulations about endorsing events, your question really has nothing to do with the military.

  • what will be MRFF’s response to a loss

    You needn’t look far. Weinstein hasn’t won a case yet:

    2005: Weinstein v US Air Force, dismissed
    2007: MRFF & Hall v Gates, voluntarily dismissed
    2008: MRFF & Chalker v Gates, dismissed
    2011: MRFF v Gould, recently filed

    Not a single case against the military has survived a motion to dismiss. He has one personal lawsuit on the side that is also widely expected to fail. He also threatens to sue over just about everything. Notably, despite impassioned promises, he has never filed a single appeal in these cases.

  • As for Obama, he can say whatever he wants to at this private event. (So can a member of the military if they’re not in uniform).

    Your obsession with the uniform is both telling and inaccurate. The IG’s analysis of Christian Embassy at the Pentagon did not hand you a magic potion saying uniforms = endorsement, and your presumption that they do displays your naiveté.

    Your double standard is incomprehensible: The Commander in Chief can speak at an event, but one of his subordinates can’t speak at the same event? You don’t think the President can “violate the Establishment Clause,” as you’re currently accusing the Academy of doing? Phoenix’s question about what standard you’re using is legitimate.

    The content or speaker of the Fort Jackson prayer event is irrelevant to the MRFF argument. Their lawsuit calls for a complete injunction because the Academy “hosted, organized and sponsored” the event — not because of its content or speaker. The “evidence” they use to support the asinine accusation (things like advertising it on “government email”) is likely similar for every prayer luncheon/breakfast around the world. (It’s also likely true for every Black History month luncheon, Hispanic Heritage luncheon, Women’s History month luncheon, etc…)

    Interesting that Rodda “obviously…object[s]” only to the prayer event mentioned here. If links are provided to the dozens of others ongoing on military bases, will you object to them too? After all, they’re all being “hosted, organized and sponsored” by their local military bases, and seem to meet the requirements for your current lawsuit.

    @Phoenix Blue
    Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it is deserving of an injunction. I think the news release may be poorly worded: It appears that Mullins (ironic name, given the lawsuit) may speak on The Battle Within, and he is choosing to use that verse. While that may not appeal to you — as McClary’s speech may not — do you find that objectionable from a Constitutional/religious freedom perspective?

  • Chris Rodda :@Dealer Since the president isn’t subject to the UCMJ or the DoD regulations about endorsing events, your question really has nothing to do with the military.

    Your response shows how biased you truly are. The President is the Commander-In-Chief…gimme a break. All of the MRFF legal jargon falls to pieces when you give the President a pass. Nice try though!

    I find it amazing that MRFF takes a shot at a Prayer Luncheon. They happen every year on every military installation. Using your logic, they all would be violating the constitution.

    Should be interesting to see what the ruling is on this one. Not only that, but what will be MRFF’s response to a loss. But then again, I’m sure the excuses are already on the table and ready for a press release when the ruling comes out.