Magazine article The Christian Century

Obama Uses Prayer Breakfast to Challenge Host, Uganda

Magazine article The Christian Century

Obama Uses Prayer Breakfast to Challenge Host, Uganda

Article excerpt

President Obama chided conservative religious and political leaders at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, condemning an antigay bill in Uganda and challenging them not to question his faith or his citizenship.

"We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are--whether it's here in the United States or...more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda," he said at the February 4 event in Washington, D.C.

Critics have linked sponsors of the annual breakfast--a secretive and politically connected group known alternatively as the Family or the Fellowship--with ties to the controversial legislation. Gay groups had pressured Obama to combat the Uganda issue head-on at the breakfast.

The president, displaying the same assertiveness he has recently projected in the wake of a string of political setbacks, focused on the need for civility between people of different faiths and political ideologies.

"Civility also requires relearning how to disagree without being disagreeable," Obama said. "Now, I am the first to confess I am not always right.... But surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my citizenship."

His comment drew both laughter and applause from the crowd of some 3,000 people, including members of Congress, military brass and representatives of more than 140 countries. …

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