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The so called "National Prayer Breakfast" always has bothered me. Here's Wikipedia's description of it.

The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February each year. The founder of this event was Abraham Vereide.[1] The event—which is actually a series of meetings, luncheons, and dinners—has taken place since 1953 and has been held at least since the 1980s at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue N.W.

The breakfast, held in the Hilton’s International Ballroom, is attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries. The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as "The Family." Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.

It is designed to be a forum for political, social and business leaders of the world to assemble together and build relationships which might not otherwise be possible. ("[T]he breakfast is regarded by the Family as merely a tool in a larger purpose: to recruit the powerful attendees into smaller, more frequent prayer meetings, where they can 'meet Jesus man to man.'"[2]) Since the inception of the National Prayer Breakfast, several U.S. states and cities and other countries have established their own annual prayer breakfast events.

The event has been criticized by organizations such as American Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation,[3] who describe it as violating separation of church and state.

The name of the event makes it sound like a government function, and it also brings politicians and preachers together in ways that endanger the Constitution while endangering queers and atheists. The Family also runs the infamous C Street house, which provides DC lodging for slutty fundamentalist politicians who attack the sex lives of others.

This year there is an especially troubling guest, and member of "The Family" whose nickname makes one think of an organized crime organization. David Bahati, author of Ugandan legislation calling for the execution of queers, is going to attend. From the International LGBT Issues Examiner 1/17/10:
David Bahati, author of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, confirmed on Friday that he will attend the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. on February 4, according to a report in The Daily Monitor. In fact, he may be a featured speaker.

The annual event is organized by The Family, of which Bahati is a member, and raises over $1 million for the group. Every U.S. President since Ronald Reagan has attended the National Prayer Breakfast, along with nearly every member of Congress and foreign dignitaries. Past speakers have included Mother Teresa, Bono, and Tony Blair.

President Obama attended last year and is expected to attend this year as well. The Daily Monitor described Obama as "a gays-tolerant liberal president," as if he were someone to be tolerated by Bahati.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has issued a 2/2/10 press release taking a stand against the hateful stance of the National Prayer Breakfast's sponsor.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today deplored the intolerant agenda of “The Family,” a secretive Religious Right group that sponsors the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

At a Washington, D.C., press conference this morning, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, joined religious leaders in criticizing The Family for its ties to David Bahati, a Ugandan legislator who is pushing a draconian anti-gay law.

The Family, also known as the Fellowship Foundation, sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast, which attracts the president and a large number of members of Congress each year, as well as foreign dignitaries. According to researcher Jeff Sharlet, Bahati is a member of The Family.

Lynn called on President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to attend the prayer breakfast, to condemn the Ugandan proposal, which calls for the execution of gays and the imprisonment of those who promote homosexuality.

“We’re no longer shrugging over the National Prayer Breakfast,” Lynn said. “Rather, we’re taking a closer look at the group behind it and the alarming agenda that it brings and the consequences it spawns in Uganda and around the world. We deplore what we see, and people of goodwill should never be afraid to say it loudly.”

The event has become highly controversial in the queer community, as one would expect. It also has come under the scrutiny of the government ethics watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington, which is calling on elected officials, including President Obama, to avoid the event.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) urged President Obama and all members of Congress not to attend this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, scheduled for February 4, 2010. The breakfast, designed to appear as if government-sanctioned, actually serves as a meeting and recruiting event for the shadowy Fellowship Foundation.

The Fellowship, also known as “The Foundation” and “The Family,” is run by Doug Coe, a spiritual advisor to past government officials who uses the organization to push his unorthodox brand of Christianity within government circles. The Fellowship operates the infamous C Street House, a congressional residence and meeting place on Capitol Hill that has been a frequent haunt of some ethically challenged elected officials, including Sens. John Ensign (R-NV) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) and former-Rep. and now-Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC).

The organization operates under an intense veil of secrecy, staying largely out of the public eye and hiding its donors’ identities. The Fellowship has used its government clout to facilitate backdoor meetings between U.S. and foreign officials, improperly claimed tax exempt status for the C Street House, and has persuaded members of Congress, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to conduct Fellowship-sanctioned evangelizing while traveling at taxpayer expense. Members of the Fellowship also have been involved with legislation in Uganda calling for the death penalty for gays.

Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said, “The National Prayer Breakfast uses the suggested imprimatur of the elected leaders who attend to give the Fellowship greater credibility and facilitate its networking and fundraising.” Sloan continued, “The president and members of Congress should not legitimatize this cult-like group – the head of which has praised the organizing abilities of Hitler and Bin Laden – by attending the breakfast.”

These prayer breakfasts violate the principal of open government just as strongly as they violate state/church separation. You know a lot of dirty dealings must be going on with a gathering of so many politicians and so many fundamentalist preachers and so many CEOs and no cameras.

Corruption always has gone along with religious extremism, especially secretive religious extremism. There already are too many sleazy corporate interests secretly influencing politicians without this additional threat to our democracy. Even worse, corporate leaders get in on the secret access to elected officials who are supposed to represent all of their constituents, not just the greedy and the zeolous.

The fact that this event is run by the cult that runs the C Street hostel for horny, hypocritical religious extremists would make it questionable enough. When someone who is behind legislation to murder queers has been invited, there is simply no excuse for any elected official to show up.

Updates:

1) Noted woman hater Tim Tebow will be attending this hatefest.

2) The Freedom From Religion Foundation is calling for President Obama to avoid the event too.

3) American Atheists is wants the President and members of Congress to stay away.

 

6 comments

  1. Lew Scannon Says:
  2. Charles Manson also referred to his followers as the "Family". In truth they are elitists (and proud of it) who believe they are "chosen by God" (as opposed to voters)to lead the country towards a more "Christian" (read: oppressive theocratic) government. Just another special interest working to enslave the masses to their own limited belief system.

     
  3. TRUTH 101 Says:
  4. Everyone understands it's nothing more than a photo op for the attendees. The real shame is that the evangelical assholes still command this kind of respect that politicians are still compelled to attend these phony gatherings.


    Just once I'd love one of the politicians to decline his invitation and tell us he's going to pray in his closet like Jesus said.

     
  5. Corey Says:
  6. Cant wait to hear what the "Right" (FOX) has to say about the evil-secularist, god-haters, home-lovers, gun rights haters, commies (etc) comments about this get together...lol

     
  7. rebeler1 Says:
  8. Why is it that people like yourself think that you have all the right answers for people like myself? Would you do yourself and the world a favor and just come out of the closet labeled,"Progressive or Liberal", and tell the world that you are truely a SOCIALIST! You can look that definition up if you can without a PC. A year later and I still hear about Bush. What, you can't find anything wrong with the disfunctional Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branchs or our government today??????

     
  9. libhom Says:
  10. Note: You may wonder why I bothered to publish the comment of the troll above. I thought it was so funny, I couldn't resist.

    This is such an obvious cut and paste job to liberal blogs without bothering to even skim the postings being responded to. Anyone who thinks that I am a "socialist" doesn't know what a socialist is. The posting being responded to didn't even mention Bush. I also criticized Obama in this posting.

    I wonder if the far rightists have any idea how silly they look when they throw off topic comments out there with such reckless abandon.

     
  11. GDAEman Says:
  12. Ah, yes. The people who promoted the "kill the gays" legislation somewhere in Africa... yea Barack! ... Be inclusive! It's done you well up to this point. (the eyes doth roll)... frigg'n photo op, right.

    Thanks for the Rebeler comic relief, you frigg'n homo socialist ;-) You should be bashing the Supreme Court, not Bush! (Wonder if Rebeler1 will give you kudos for bashing Emanuel).

     

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