« Obama Family Attends Easter Sunday Service | Main | Bart Stupak to Retire »

April 6, 2010

Hybels, Osteen Among White House Easter Breakfast Attendees

Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels and Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen attended the White House Easter prayer breakfast where President Obama briefly addressed 90 Christian clergy and guests this morning. Obama offered his “deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers” to the families of dead and missing coal miners in West Virginia.

He said he had offered federal assistance to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin. Obama asked his guests to “pray for the safe return of the missing” and for the souls of the victims, according to the pool report.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also attended the breakfast. Here's more from the pool report:

Obama said his breakfast for Christian clergy was part of a broader effort to welcome all faiths to the White House that had included a celebratory dinner to mark the end of the Muslim fast of Ramadan and a sedar as a part of Jews’ commemoration of Passover.

The President, speaking from notes, spoke in personal terms about the inspiration he drew from the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, recalling the scorn and derision heaped upon Jesus en route to his crucifixion, the “torture” of his death by the Roman Empire and the “agony of his crucifixion.” Obama said that he drew particular inspiration “that speaks to me” from Christ’s final moments on the cross when Jesus “summoned what remained of his strength” to say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Obama introduced the Rev. Cynthia Hall to deliver the first prayer as the pool was escorted from the East Room.

The WH press office released a partial list of attendees:

Pastor Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, IL
Pastor Joel Osteen, Pastor, Lakewood Church
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Papal Nucio to Washington, D.C.,
Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Bishop, A.M.E. Church
Elder Nancy Wilson, Metropolitan Community Church
Commissioner Israel Gaither, National Commander, Salvation Army
Hyepin Im, Korean Christian Community Development
Dr. Arturo Chavez, President, Mexican American Catholic College
Rev. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Fr. Larry Snyder, President, Catholic Charities
Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President, National Council of Churches
Dr. Julius Scruggs, President, National Baptist Convention of America
Sister Carol Keehan, President, Catholic Health Association


Here is a section of Obama's prepared remarks as released by the White House:

I can’t tell any of you anything about Easter that you don’t already know. (Laughter.) I can’t shed light on centuries of scriptural interpretation or bring any new understandings to those of you who reflect on Easter’s meaning each and every year and each and every day. But what I can do is tell you what draws me to this holy day and what lesson I take from Christ’s sacrifice and what inspires me about the story of the resurrection.

For even after the passage of 2,000 years, we can still picture the moment in our mind’s eye. The young man from Nazareth marched through Jerusalem; object of scorn and derision and abuse and torture by an empire. The agony of crucifixion amid the cries of thieves. The discovery, just three days later, that would forever alter our world -- that the Son of Man was not to be found in His tomb and that Jesus Christ had risen.

We are awed by the grace He showed even to those who would have killed Him. We are thankful for the sacrifice He gave for the sins of humanity. And we glory in the promise of redemption in the resurrection.

And such a promise is one of life’s great blessings, because, as I am continually learning, we are, each of us, imperfect. Each of us errs -- by accident or by design. Each of us falls short of how we ought to live. And selfishness and pride are vices that afflict us all.

It’s not easy to purge these afflictions, to achieve redemption. But as Christians, we believe that redemption can be delivered -- by faith in Jesus Christ. And the possibility of redemption can make straight the crookedness of a character; make whole the incompleteness of a soul. Redemption makes life, however fleeting here on Earth, resound with eternal hope.

Of all the stories passed down through the gospels, this one in particular speaks to me during this season. And I think of hanging -- watching Christ hang from the cross, enduring the final seconds of His passion. He summoned what remained of His strength to utter a few last words before He breathed His last breath.

“Father,” He said, “into your hands I commit my spirit.” Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. These words were spoken by our Lord and Savior, but they can just as truly be spoken by every one of us here today. Their meaning can just as truly be lived out by all of God’s children.

So, on this day, let us commit our spirit to the pursuit of a life that is true, to act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord. And when we falter, as we will, let redemption -- through commitment and through perseverance and through faith -- be our abiding hope and fervent prayer.

Comments

Let us thank God, everyday for that, that we have a Christian in the Presidency of the United States of America. I am surely convinced that, as our forefathers believed and lived by, that I too live by, that God is our King. Amen!

What I want to know is this: did Hybels and Osteen take part in the Easter egg hunt afterwards? What do you mean "That's a stupid question." Hey, who you calling "stupid"? Inquiring minds want to know, you know, stuff. (Dang ADHD/multiple personality/dyslexic dysoder!")

Amen.

My understanding is that Joel Osteen provided the eggs.

"Joel Osteen provided the eggs." Tee hee.
Poached, no doubt. Oh, the cleverness of we. (Boy, that would be weird - poached easter eggs. I wonder how you paint those eggs.)

Beware of smiling liars, speaking other men's carefully crafted words framed in smoke & mirrors, with deception as the intent.

I deeply apologize to Sarah Pulliam Bailey for having attributed to her the comment that suggests that President Obama is a Christian. Too late I discovered that the commenter's name appears below the comment and not above it. I would simply urge anyone interested in this subject to read the interview at the website I referenced and decide for oneself whether Mr. Obama's remarks on the subject of religion are those of a Christian and not those of a mere politician.

@Ralph: You certainly know how to turn a phrase. Quotable, too. Nicely said!

the two paragraphs in "more from the pool report" sounded just like something out of the Left Behind series.

Ralph,

I thought this article was about Obama, not Bush.

Bill, at first I thought Bush was one of the worst presidents we've had, but Obama makes him look great. While I did at least agree with a couple of things Bush did, as far as I'm concerned, each man is his party's counterpart of the other. Obama almost makes me miss Bill Clinton.

If the President says he's a Christian, has been baptized, and can recite something along the lines of the Apostles' Creed with some sincerity (regardless of comprehension), then he's certainly a Christian by the standards of my nominal denomination, and welcomed to participate in Communion.

On the other hand, by that definition, perhaps half of the first ten Presidents weren't Christian, though they believed in God and likely held Jesus in high esteem as a moral philosopher.

The President is too conservative for me, but he did save my job (at least for the time being)...and maybe the health reform might do something about my current problem with my health insurance...or not. We shall see. At least I have health insurance.

In any case, the children are covered by their mothers' insurance while they go to college and grad school...and my parent's Medicare seems to have had some holes plugged...or will be plugged at some time in the near future.

Aside from making generic AIDS meds to Africans, a highly laudable program, I can't think of much else that the last President, with the now apparently traditionally conservative borrow and squander economics, did that was all that impressive...and he had eight years in which to accomplish something, not a year and a quarter. In any case, President Obama is a more moral man

He was the Decider, America's Chairman of the Board, who was providentially annointed to maximize returns for those who owned America. The other 95% of Americans, those who work for wages and modest salaries, apparently existed as the help who should do as they were told by their privileged betters. In other words, a states' rightist.

President Clinton amused me. Despite his sometimes rather Southern Gothic novel life and mores, he was essentially a moral man of considerable and admirable abilities. The Black community had started to bounce back from the Reagan administration, if nothing else...who was undoubtedly the most racist President since Wilson, despite not having a "racist bone in his body," as an apologist had claimed. He didn't have a racist bone in his body. It's not one's bones that make one a racist...or even ill-will or contempt towards "the other."

Greg, while we do agree on Bill Clinton, I'd have to challenge you on the statement about Ronald Reagan being racist. I did some research about that and it appears to be another myth put forward by liberals. Not only was Reagan far from being racist, but to me he was the last great president we had.

I should clarify something: I do, however, disagree that Bill Clinton generally had good morals. However, he actually is a smart man and was a better president than what we have now.

I stand by my statement on the Reagan Administration. While the Iron Curtain rusted away on his watch and the Wall was pulled down, certainly something to celebrate for a very long time, his administration was otherwise an unnecessary and irresponsible train wreck that's still producing victims after all these years.

President Reagan was what we call here, a vendido Bircher...pobrecito. I pitied him then...still do. Such talent...so wasted. Simply because I could have liked him, that was a great talent of his, likability, doesn't mean that I could respect him. For what his administration did to those whom I do respect and love...respect is simply impossible, but I can spring for pity.

Clinton actually knows what Golden Rule morality is, even if he might over-think what "is" is, and be too easily co-opted, as in DOMA and DADT...which he apparently has come to realize. But, those were then, this is now...and those should go, now.

The first Bush could nod to Noblesse Oblige, but that's not really Golden Rule morality. That's being not a tyrant, but still feeling entitled to be one if one felt it really necessary.

His son seemed to feel entitled to high office because he was whom he was, a Bush. A Bush who was born-again. A Bush who didn't even nod to Noblesse Oblige. Everyone seemed to exist to merely do his bidding. I hope my observation is wrong...for his soul's sake, whatever that is.

The generic AIDS meds for Africa is, at least, one thing I can approve of, so while his administration was a highly lethal train wreck, there are some who can be grateful to him for survival...but Gore could have done that as well...and likely would have...and likely earlier. Or, maybe not. What doesn't happen is a story that can never be told.

Pres. Bush's public proclamations of being "born again" seemed to me to be a proclamation that he had been cleansed of the "sin" (in his cultural milieu anyway) of being troubled by white privilege and a sense of "natural" personal entitlement. His being troubled was obviously eating him alive, poor thing, but is was also the one thing I could respect in him. He could have dealt with it much differently, but...he didn't.

M observation could reflect my own religious, ethnic(s), and life-lessons, all of which suggest to me multiple, interacting, sometimes contradictory, understandings of what "born again" can be...and doesn't have to be.

It's still fairly early days for President Obama, but I'm confident that he knows what morality is, and what "is" is as well. But, can he consistently practice morality in the political hothouse of our Era of Ill-Will? Politics is the art of compromise, and these days, apparently the art of hypocrisy as well. (A little hypocrisy does grease the rough cogs of society...but as my upbringing makes me say...there is such a thing as excess.)

Save for you GP, we mere mortals would not know right from wrong. You are our Sinai. Your posts are our ten commandments - only longer, really, really longer. (Hope you are feeling better nowadays.)

I'll admit that I never cared much for George H.W. Bush, so you could say almost anything about him and I wouldn't complain.

I could (and probably should) ask you to back up your statements about Reagan, but then we would get into an argument that you probably wouldn't win.

I strongly support DOMA and DADT, which I do applaud former president Clinton for approving.

As I said, I never really liked George W. Bush too well and won't really argue about his sense of entitlement, but I don't think the argument of "white privilege" had anything to do with it. He felt entitled because of his name, not his race.

President Reagan's non-racist for his times childhood anecdotes are not reflected in his presidency. He WAS named Ronald WILSON Reagan, and his presidency, unfortunately when it comes to "race," keeps one from forgetting that.

Reagan almost always opposed Civil Rights legislation.

Philadelphia, Mississippi...“I believe in states’ rights.” States' rights is the political theory of white privilege, and had been since John Calhoun's time. He died in 1850...and states' rights should have died with him. What a place to appear with always the notorious Trent Lott and say that..and actually, he said something even worse.

When you way that you believe in states' rights, there is little reason to not believe that you are advocating privilege, instead of equal rights, as the core of our political system...and that there is good reason to think that you know exactly what you are advocating. State's rights doesn't necessarily have to be racist...it does have to be privilege/supremacist based, however.

He supported BJU. He supported the ZA apartheid government and denounced Mandella.

Attempted to gut Civil Rights enforcement. Opposed MLK, Jr. national holiday. His boorish statement when all but frogmarched by Congress into signing MLK Jr. National Holiday Bill.

Froze minimum Wage as much as possible.

His "kitchen cabinet."

Froze responsible gov. action on AIDS beyond all understanding...despite having concerned Gay friends (which he had supported as governor.

His administration compounded and encouraged the problems in our cities.

Dismantled Great Society programs as much as was possible.

Just say no to crack...and somehow even made that a racist insult.

Two words..."Welfare Queens." That was simply disgusting pandering to very base interests.

It excuses nothing that he wasn't all that personally racist. Given the record of his administration, that seems quite unlikely. Even if true, he was compartmentalizingly patronizing...which just might be worse.

If you have to say..."I can't be racist because some of my best friends are...," you can still be patronizingly racist-like and insensitive...and I bet your friends are actually just acquaintances.

It doesn't matter if he had Black and/or Gay friends to know that he and his administration shouldn't have done what he and his administration did and did not do...and consistently...on a massive scale.

Reagan mostly won the first time because of the bad economy at that time, I think. That he was said to have tried to appeal to "white racial moderates" makes his appearance of manipulating the "Southern Strategy" more suggestive of his personal thought, than thought to be politically expedience maneuvers, don't you think?

In any case, "white resentment" isn't confined to the South, then or now.

And, that excuses nothing.

Childhood anecdotes excuse nothing. Instead, they highlight how much he had sold out his early personal integrity; something to be pitied...pobrecito. Admittedly, it's hard not to compromise one's personal integrity now and then as one ages...but, there is such a thing as excess. He exceeded that mark and the GOP should be ashamed of his legacy...as the Democrats are ashamed of Wilson's racist legacy.

Wish I had the time for at least a second draft, but you get the idea.

Thanks for your concern, Dan...but I'm not feeling better. I perhaps do now know why. Don't believe the labeling on "food supplements."

If my doctor is right, and I think he is on to something, I was getting excessive levels of Vitamin B-6 in my B complex supplements...which were recommended by my neurologist years ago. He did recommend another brand, which has been discontinued.

I should be better by and by...I hope. As I have a genetic disease and I'm getting on in years as well, I'll likely never feel what "good" feels like again, but I would be very grateful for "better."

I don't give commandments. I'm not God, so I'm unworthy to command you to do anything. I make suggestions, more to myself than to you. As an adult, you can do with my suggestions as I do...whatever I think best. It's not like I can tell you what to do...just what I think I should entertain further for myself, and why.

It takes more writing to suggest than to command, don't you think? Why would I even bother to command complete strangers around?

GP - Hey, just teasing you ;-) a little. You do write long posts, (some are so long I have to take a short nap about half way through) but so what...CT provides the space; someone should use it - might as well be you.
As for your health, I hope your doc is right and the food supplement is the issue.

"Beware of smiling liars, speaking other men's carefully crafted words framed in smoke & mirrors, with deception as the intent.

Posted by: Ralph at April 6, 2010"

Very well put Ralph...

"And JESUS answered and said unto them, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am (HE is) CHRIST; and shall deceive many." Matthew 24:4&5.

"They profess that they "know" GOD; but in "works" they deny HIM, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Titus 1:16."

Mr. President...You profess that you "know GOD (but do you), but in works you deny HIM. Abortion is murder and yet you endorse it.

GOD forgive us for what we have done to our country by turning our back on YOU and being complacent.

Greg, I'll begin with "states' rights." This is not some kind of Conservative white codeword for racial privilege. As liberals often have trouble with, state governments once had more control over matters within their borders than they have now. States' rights is a self-explanatory term that the liberal movement decided to twist into a codeword for racial privilege, perhaps as a part of its history as the primary point of contention of the Civil War, the South demanding more states' rights than the federal government wanted to allow. Following are two definitions from Princeton University's website:

a doctrine that federal powers should be curtailed and returned to the individual states

the rights conceded to the states by the United States constitution

As for Reagan's refusal to sign MLK day into, here is a quote from AP that explains this: "Reagan originally had expressed concern over the cost of honoring King with a national holiday, and said he would have preferred a day of recognition."

Reagan additionally named Colin Powell the first black national-security adviser of the United States in November 1987. He even approved a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. During his presidency, Reagan named Samuel Pierce as his secretary of Housing and Urban Development, promoted Roscoe Robinson to 4-star general (making him the first African-American man to obtain this rank), and naming Clarence Thomas chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That last move helped Clarence Thomas on his path to the US Supreme Court.

Biographer Lou Cannon wrote of Reagan, "As a sports announcer in Iowa in the 1930s, Mr. Reagan opposed the segregation of Major League Baseball. As an actor in Hollywood, he quit a Los Angeles country club because it did not admit Jews. In 1978, when preparing to run for president, Mr. Reagan opposed a California ballot initiative that would have barred homosexuals from teaching in the state’s public schools."

The last one I'll list, since this post is much longer than I originally planned, is Reagan's signing of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, which allowed construction on the many Indian casinos across the country.

I should mentioned that the article which provided much of my information was written by an African American man.

In other words, as I said earlier, Ronald Reagan was far from racist.

And, despite the tone of my last few posts, I'll be praying that the Lord will restore your health from the genetic disease and that your doctor is right about the food supplements.

I almost forgot about the Mississippi speech: David Hixson, a Denver broadcaster who attended the speech, explained, "The Fair is a recognized must appearance for any serious Mississippi political candidate and could be a deciding factor for Mississippi votes in the upcoming presidential campaign. Pete Perry, [Neshoba] County GOP Chairman, used this strategy successfully in making the arrangements with the Reagan team on very short notice."

While I will admit that it was not the right decision to support South Africa for political reasons, President Obama is doing the same thing with several middle eastern nations, meaning that he's not exactly perfect either.

In terms of his ignoring AIDS, the outbreak didn't start until 1985, the first year of his second term in office. At that point, it was not considered to be dangerous to non-gays and hadn't spread outside the gay community, meaning that there wasn't much any government could do to stop it. Further, like most politicians, Reagan did not want to risk angering his constituency by initiating a movement toward government research on AIDS.

His dismantling of Great Society programs can be attributed to their intent being more liberal than conservative, as liberals routinely attack conservative programs.

I think that covers about everything.

Amendment X of the US Constitution states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Yes, believe it or not, there is a concept of states' rights not related to racism. This being a foreign concept to liberals, I can understand why most seem to be unaware of it. This concept of states' rights, not the amusing alternate version put forth by many liberal sources I've come across, is what the confederate soldiers fought for.

The Tenth Amendment says nothing about states' rights. The powers are all levels of governance are reserved to the people. It's a statement of Federalism. States have duties and responsibilities...to the people...not to those who govern.

If states have rights, then those who are in state office have more rights than I do. States' rights is exactly what it says....those in power have the states' rights, those not in power...have none. They have whatever privileges an oligarchy condescends to dole out to favorites. I think not.

The powers are ultimately reserved to the people, not to the states...read those who control state offices. You may be too young to remember Jim Crow...but there are search engines and libraries which will illustrate what states' rights was all about.

How in the world did you get ".those in power have the states' rights, those not in power...have none" from are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"? I believe I also found where liberals got the connection to Jim Crow and belief that "states' rights" is a code phrase for white supremacy: the connection is that states' rights advocates shortly after the Civil War ended were branded as racists because they wanted any legislation on racial issues to come from the state governments, instead of the federal government. This, in turn, was misinterpreted as supporting slavery, segregation, etc. At this moment, the form of states' rights that is supported by the Tea Party and that has caused multiple states to refuse the new healthcare policy and to regulate guns made, sold, and used inside their own borders is the original meaning of "states' rights."

GP, my prayers are with you for better health.

States' rights is a far cry from Easter, but here's my two cents:
GP, Texas and California were independent states, too, not just Hawaii. Also, the original 13 "United States" were not organized into a government until the Articles of Confederation (1777), which occurred after they were declared "independent states" in the Declaration of Independence a year earlier. Not until the US Constitution's ratification over a decade later were the states enter the Federation. So the US states were first not organized into a government (1776-1777), then the Confederation (1777-1788), and then the Federation (1788-now). Just a point of clarification - as a history major in college, trying to put that to some use.

Cybereagle: all that said, we're in the Federation now, and Constitutional Amendments 13, 14 and 15 greatly curtail states' rights given in Amendment 10, especially as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Amendments aside, the Federation (or Union) can only by dissolved by provided constitutional structures (Article V); the 10th Amendment only addresses powers "not delegated to the United States," but succession is a revision of the Constitutional Union, which is a power delegated to the US. Thus, the Confederates in the Civil War were in open rebellion against their government, and not for a Constitutional right.
God bless.

Thanks for the input, Brendan. Regardless of the cause of the Civil War, I was mainly trying to explain to GP the real meaning of "states' rights." This is why I initially quoted the Constitution, in an attempt to provide a little background on the concept. Regardless, you do have a point about later amendments changing amendment 10, especially amendment 14. I remembered that a later amendment took many powers away from the individual states, but had forgotten exactly which one.

I simply cannot believe these comments are genuinely part of either of the Obamas' true heart beliefs. It is all so not in keeping with the way they have been speaking and behaving for so long. It doesn't wash- I think their deception train looks like it is chugging along just great, as usual. Either that, or he finally has gotten the message in his heart that he's been lying for so long and it has to stop.Maybe he finally did come under some kind of conviction. If so, it's truly a miracle. His narcissism has been so pronounced for so long-No, I can't trust either BO or MO. They never had my trust or respect and still do not.I would have to see and hear a whole lot more, for a long time,before I would consider dropping my guard, after all the wrong things they have said and done.Their personal hypocrisy, and slander against many decent people in the US has been so bad for so ling, this little Easter speech doesn't do it for me.

Yes William Jefferson Clinton is a very moral man. He has the morals of a rattlesnake. Any man who would cheat on his wife with a woman nearly half his age and lie about it on national television until he was caught with his pants down, is a very moral man.

I don't believe Obama is a Christian in the truest sense of the word but I do believe he is moral to the extent that he will not cheat on Michelle.

Both Bushes and Carter were all moral men, Wheter you like their policies or not they were never accused or caught in immoral acts, and I do not believe any of them are racists as has been suggested by some.

Google both GW Bush and Obama's Easter proclamations and see who you think is a Christian and not ashamed to tell the world