Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Reflection on Self: Spiritual Journey or the Reflection of Narcissus?

Written by Allan Erickson on February 8, 2015

Reading Obama’s recent prayer breakfast remarks, the first thing that comes to mind is: this man again makes himself the center of attention.  Right out of the gate, he poked political opponents in the eye, trying to curry favor with his audience, he complained about Congress holding up his agenda, and he almost likened himself to the Dalai Lama. Referencing keynote speaker and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip, who mentioned his critics, Obama had to one-up, telling everyone his critics are exceedingly more vicious, calling Waltrip “a piker.”   

The title of Obama’s speech should have been: “What the National Prayer Breakfast Means to Me . . . Me . . . Me.”

At a traditionally Christian prayer breakfast where other faiths are welcome, in a spiritual setting attended by people agreeing denial of self is a spiritual discipline, Obama instead exalts himself. What a contrast. What hypocrisy.  While elevating himself, however, he did condescend to make mention of God, saying the breakfast is an “opportunity to come together in humility before the Almighty.”

Displaying that humility further, he continued:  “ . . . certainly for me, this is always a chance to reflect on my own faith journey.” At this point he told the crowd the burden of his office is unbearable, invoking a prayer by Eleanor Roosevelt asking God for power and wisdom, wisdom and power he has appropriated “not just in my own life but in the life of our nation.” He would proudly return to the theme of “humility” throughout the speech, beseeching us to become likewise humble.

As to wisdom and power, one must ask, did the power bestowed and the wisdom imbued lead Obama to break the law at least 25 times, lie to the people over and over, provide aid and comfort to the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, bankrupt the nation, engage illegal wars and revolutions, demoralize the citizenry, inflame racial tensions, encourage our enemies and discourage our allies?  What kind of god gives that kind of power and wisdom?

Obama went on recounting the atrocities committed by ISIS, carefully attempting to separate those atrocities from the teachings of Islam, a separation only possible if one separates one’s eyes from the pages of the book, and the murders recorded on video tape.  Then, as if to excuse Islamic atrocities, and draw comparisons to Christianity, Obama said:  “ . . . lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” (“were” justified)

In this Obama would have us believe 1,400 years of Islamic aggression and invasion driven by a theology of world domination are comparable to a few years of the Crusades and Inquisitions, both contradicting biblical theology in many ways.  He would have us ignore the self-correcting function of the church to disavow the Crusades and the Inquisition, based on the theology of love and service.  But never let a good crisis, or an errant comparison, go to waste.

And in typical fashion, he played the race card, without the slightest mention of the hundreds of thousands of Christians in America and Great Britain who worked, fought and died to end the sin of slavery, working thereby to end the scourge of racism, a resurgent racism conjured up by this President to use as a political weapon.   (“Lest we get on our high horse,” indeed.)   

Obama is a master of smoke and mirrors and divisive rhetoric.  In this speech he spoke of being true to God’s word, a word he constantly misrepresents, talking about humanistic universalism, when God’s word is exclusive to his divine nature. He spoke of “pushing back against those who try to distort our religion,” even as he distorts both the nature of Islam historically, and the temporal anomalies of Christianity, regionally.  He invoked the “wisdom of our founders”, people he ignores or insults. He hailed religious liberty after years of promoting anti-Christian policies that undermine that very liberty. 

And he urged us, “As children of God, let’s stand up for the dignity and value of every woman, and man, and child”, ignoring the fact his administration has worked overtime to secure public funding of abortion, even to the point of endorsing the murder of full-term babies actually being born, and the willful killing of babies surviving excruciating abortion procedures.  He further ignores the devastation done men and women by the cruel practice of government playing god with the lives of others.

This is how Obama slows down and pauses for “prayer and fellowship.”  Like  Narcissus he pauses to reflect on his own reflection. We did not hear an honest man of faith speaking at the prayer breakfast.  Instead, we heard the forked-tongue of the faithless usurper, an egomaniac preaching to us about humility, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  

Image: http://opinion-forum.com/index/2011/05/narcissism-is-alive-and-well-in-america/


Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.