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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 10, 2010

Obama reflects on faith

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By Michael Muskal
Los Angeles Times

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

President Obama spoke of his own religious beliefs at Tuesday's White House prayer breakfast for Christian leaders from around the country. His theme was the Easter resurrection.

ALEX BRANDON | Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES President Obama on Tuesday used an Easter-themed prayer breakfast at the White House to give his personal testament of faith and how Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection have inspired him.

Obama, who has hosted a Jewish Seder and a Muslim Iftar ceremony, used the breakfast for Christian leaders to express his personal beliefs.

"I'm particularly blessed to welcome you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, for this Easter breakfast," he told the clergy. "I wanted to join you for a brief moment today to continue the Easter celebration of our risen savior, and to reflect on the work to which His promise calls all of us."

Religion and politics have long been a heady mix. Obama, as a candidate, was caught in a dispute over anti-American comments by his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In a speech in Philadelphia, Obama tried to explain Wright's anger and why that was part of the African-American experience. Wright eventually severed his ties to the campaign.

On Tuesday, it was a personal Obama who spoke of the resurrection.

"Even after the passage of 2,000 years, we can still picture the moment in our mind's eye," Obama said.

"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," the president said.

As he often does, Obama also sought a real-world lesson.

"Such a promise is one of life's great blessings, because, as I am continually learning, we are, each of us, imperfect," Obama said. "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."