58TH ANNUAL NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST; Congressional Record Vol. 156, No. 90
(Senate - June 16, 2010)

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[Pages S4979-S4985]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I had the privilege of co-chairing the 
58th Annual National Prayer Breakfast with Senator Klobuchar. I ask 
unanimous consent that a copy of the transcript of the 2010 National 
Prayer Breakfast proceedings be printed in the Congressional Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                     58th National Prayer Breakfast

       Senator Amy Klobuchar: Good morning, everyone. I am Amy 
     Klobuchar, the Senator from Minnesota. Welcome to the 58th 
     annual National Prayer Breakfast. For anyone from warmer 
     climates, we know it is a little snowy, but in Minnesota we 
     would call this, ``fair to partly cloudy.'' What a gathering. 
     This is a very different scene from the first National Prayer 
     Breakfast all the way back in 1952--that was attended only by 
     a couple hundred people and they were all men. And now what 
     we have today is over 3,000 people from all 50 states and 
     over 140 countries. Although the National Prayer Breakfast 
     may look a lot different than it did in 1952, one of the 
     great traditions of this event is that it is bipartisan, as 
     you can see from our head table up here, as well as the fact 
     that we have a Democratic and a Republican co-chair. In that 
     tradition, I am very proud to introduce to you my Republican 
     co-chair and good friend, the Senator from Georgia, Johnny 
       Senator Johnny Isakson: Thank you. We do welcome you 
     because what began as a very small group in 1952 has become a 
     group that has influence around the world in countries all 
     over this world. We are so delighted that you traveled near 
     and you travelled far to be a part of the National Prayer 
     Breakfast here in the United States of America. Amy and I are 
     both members of the Senate but one important thing to know is 
     that we alternate years--this happened to be the Senate's 
     year to chair the National Prayer Breakfast. But next year, 
     the House will as well. We do so in partnership, we do so in 
     brotherhood, and we do so in love, and we do so in faith. I 
     now want to begin by introducing my side of the head table, 
     and then Amy will introduce her side of the head table. 
     First, the Vice President of the United States of America, 
     Joe Biden; the Secretary of State of the United States of 
     America, Hillary Rodham Clinton; the distinguished Senator 
     from the state of Utah, Orrin Hatch; the luckiest thing that 
     ever happened to me 41 years ago, my wife, Dianne; the 
     distinguished senior Senator from the state of Oregon, Ron 
     Wyden; the co-chair of the House prayer breakfast, from 
     Missouri, Representative Todd Akin; a lady who has the voice 
     of an angel and later you will hear her sing, God Bless 
     America, Sergeant First Class MaryKay Messenger, the lead 
     vocalist of the United States Military Academy Band; and my, 
     friend and the artist who will sing the closing hymn, Ralph 
       Senator Klobuchar: Johnny put the music together this 
     morning and you are going to love it. President Obama and the 
     First Lady will be joining us shortly; His Excellency Jose 
     Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Prime Minister of Spain is with 
     us; my husband, John Bessler who made our daughter's lunch at 
     5:30 this morning while I was getting ready for this; Admiral 
     Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; 2007 
     Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow; the co-chair of the House 
     prayer breakfast, Representative Charlie Wilson of Ohio; and 
     the Heisman Trophy winner of Senate chaplains, Rear Admiral 
     Barry Black.
       Johnny and I wanted you all to hear this morning from our 
     friend, Senate Chaplain, Barry Black, who like all Senate 
     chaplains since 1789 opens each session of the Senate with a 
     prayer. To me and Johnny, Barry is a friend and a spiritual 
     adviser but he is also an embodiment of the power of faith 
     and discipline and hard work. From his impoverished childhood 
     in Baltimore to his distinguished 27-year career in the U.S. 
     Navy, to his service in the Senate, Chaplain Black's ``only 
     in America'' story, a story he has detailed so eloquently in 
     his book, From the

[[Page S4980]]

     Hood to the Hill, shows us that God has great plans for our 
     lives. It is my pleasure to introduce to you our friend, 
     Chaplain Barry Black, who will lead us in the opening prayer.
       Rear Admiral Barry Black: Let us lift our hearts in prayer. 
     Lord of life, the giver of every good and perfect gift. You 
     have been our help in ages past and our hope for years to 
     come. Lord, forgive us when we forget that more things are 
     wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. We thank you for 
     this nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the 
     proposition that people possess basic rights that they 
     receive from you. Make us good global neighbors as we 
     remember that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a 
     reproach to any people. Hear our petitions and use our 
     supplications to change and shape our times according to your 
     plan. May our prayers empower us to trust you more fully, 
     live for you more completely and serve you more willingly. In 
     a special way, smile upon our international guests who have 
     travelled great distances to be with us, give them traveling 
     mercies as they return home. And Lord, shower your favor upon 
     the program participants, especially our primary presenter. 
     May the words of their mouths and the meditations of their 
     hearts bring honor to you. Bless this morning, our food and 
     fellowship. We pray this in the matchless name of Jesus. 
       Senator Isakson: Would you please welcome to your right, 
     Mr. Robert Fraumann, the most gifted musician the United 
     Methodist Church has ever known and enjoy his mix of 
     Beethoven's ``Fifth Symphony'' and ``How Great Thou Art'' and 
     ``The Warsaw Concerto'' and ``To God Be the Glory.'' Robert 
       Mr. Robert Fraumann: (piano music)
       Narrator: Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United 
     States Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama.
       Senator Klobuchar: Welcome, Mr. President, Mrs. Obama. We 
     are so pleased to have you here. I also know there are many 
     members from the House of Representatives. I see Speaker 
     Pelosi. And from the United States Senate and the President's 
     Cabinet--if they could all stand so we could acknowledge you. 
     Thank you. Mr. President, you should know that Johnny, being 
     from Georgia, is really adjusting to the fact that this 
     breakfast had quiche instead of grits. So I really don't know 
     how he is going to explain that when he gets home. And 
     actually, Johnny has been a great pal for me this year as a 
     co-chair of the Senate prayer breakfast and I can tell you 
     that to show his support for his co-chair, he actually 
     supported the Vikings over the Saints in the playoff game. 
     That was a tough game. My fourth quarter prayers made no 
     difference but not even God can overrule a ref's calls.
       Senator Isakson: You know I ain't real sure it was the 
     refs. It might have been Brett Farve's interception.
       Senator Klobuchar: Very good.
       Senator Isakson: We are honored to be here today and I am 
     honored to share with Amy, the co-chairmanship of the Senate 
     prayer breakfast. She thinks getting me to pull for the 
     Vikings was the ultimate reconciliation, not true. Ultimate 
     reconciliation is when Senator Bill Nelson convinced me to 
     invite the quarterback of the Florida Gators, who beat us 
     four successive years at the University of Georgia. Tim, 
     welcome, we are glad to have you. This is a great occasion 
     and we are so delighted and honored that all of you are here 
     today. And I am going to turn it back over to our leader, Amy 
       Senator Klobuchar: Thank you. Each week Johnny and I and 
     our fellow senators get together for a weekly Senate prayer 
     breakfast. I always come away from it a better person. At our 
     breakfasts, a senator always speaks, sometimes about his or 
     her faith, sometimes about a personal struggle, sometimes 
     about the challenges of forgiveness after a tough political 
     fight. Our prayer breakfasts are always real and refreshingly 
     honest. And just when I am ready to give up on working with 
     maybe a few of my colleagues, it reminds me that we all share 
     a common purpose and a common humanity, and that with faith 
     and forgiveness, we can start anew. Now it is my honor today 
     to introduce Sergeant First Class MaryKay Messenger, the lead 
     vocalist with the United States Military Academy Band. 
     MaryKay first sang with the band in 1980 at the age of 
     twelve. She continued throughout the years as a guest 
     vocalist until she joined the Army in 1996. She has performed 
     throughout the world--everywhere from Beijing to the opening 
     bell of the New York Stock Exchange, from Yankee Stadium to 
     Carnegie Hall. This morning she will be singing ``God Bless 
     America,'' a song composed by Irving Berlin during the First 
     World War while he was serving in a United States Army camp. 
     MaryKay Messenger.
       Sgt. MaryKay Messenger: [Singing]

     While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
     Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
     Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
     As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
     God Bless America,
     Land that I love.
     Stand beside her, and guide her
     Through the night with a light from above.
     From the mountains, to the prairies,
     To the oceans, white with foam
     God bless America, My home sweet home.
     God bless America, My home sweet home.

       Senator Ron Wyden: Good morning, Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, 
     honored guests. It is my privilege to offer a reading from 
     the second book of the Torah, the Book of Exodus. Exodus 
     deals with the formation of the Jewish people into a nation 
     as they make their way from slavery to the Promised Land. 
     There are very important lessons in the passage where Moses' 
     father in law, Jethro, a Midianite priest, guides Moses on 
     the correct way to govern his people.
       ``Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard 
     all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, 
     how the Lord had brought Israel out from Egypt.'' Then, later 
     in the passage, ``the next day Moses sat as magistrate among 
     the people while the people stood about Moses from morning 
     until evening. But when Moses' father-in-law saw how much he 
     had to do for the people, he said `What is this thing you are 
     doing to the people? Why do you act alone while all the 
     people stand about you from morning until evening?' Moses 
     replied to his father-in-law, `it is because the people come 
     to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, it comes 
     before me and I decide between one person and another and I 
     make known the law and the teachings of God.' But Moses' 
     father-in-law said to him, `the thing you are doing is not 
     right. You will surely wear yourself out and these people as 
     well. For the task is too heavy for you. You cannot do it 
     alone. Now listen to me, I will give you council and God be 
     with you. You represent the people before God. You bring the 
     disputed before God and enjoin upon them before the laws and 
     the teachings and make it known to them, the way they are to 
     go and the practices they are to follow. You shall also seek 
     out from among all of the people capable men who fear God, 
     trustworthy men who spurn ill-gotten gain, set these over 
     them as chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens and 
     let them judge the people at all times. Have them bring every 
     major dispute to you but let them decide every minor dispute 
     for themselves. Make it easier for yourself by letting them 
     share the burden with you. If you do this and God commands 
     you, you will be able to bear up and all these people too 
     will go home unwary.' Now Moses heeded his father-in-law and 
     did just as he had said. Moses chose capable men out of all 
     of Israel and appointed them heads over all the people, 
     chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens and they 
     judged the people at all times. The difficult matters they 
     would bring to Moses and all the minor matters they would 
     decide themselves. Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell 
     and he went his way to his own land.''
       May we all show similar wisdom and be open, open to advice 
     and guidance from any source. Not just within our own group, 
     our own faction, our own tribe, and it is only with that 
     wisdom can we hope to provide just and true leadership.
       Congressman Charlie Wilson: Good morning Mr. President, 
     Madam Secretary, honored guests. I am Congressman Charlie 
     Wilson from Ohio's sixth district and my co-chair is 
     Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri's second district. We would 
     like to thank the Senate for putting this program together 
     this morning. We know the House is looking forward to putting 
     it together again next year. Todd and I are here together 
     this morning because we are the co-chairs of the House prayer 
     breakfast. Members of Congress from both parties have been 
     meeting for prayer on a weekly basis for more than five 
     decades in the House. We come together in the Capitol dining 
     room every Thursday morning at eight a.m., with no staff, we 
     read a verse of scripture, we pray for the sick and wounded 
     and we offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for our country. We 
     also have a different guest speaker each week who shares 
     their testimony. One week it's a Democrat, the next week it's 
     a Republican. Finally, we close in prayer and we make sure to 
     share that too--one week a Democrat leads the closing prayer, 
     the next a Republican. We never know how many are going to be 
     at our prayer breakfast to attend our weekly gathering. I am 
     happy though to let you know that it has increased 
     considerably this year. Our meeting lasts about an hour and 
     many of us refer to it as the best hour of the week. We hope 
     that you will consider our example and set aside time each 
     week with your colleagues to deepen your relationships and 
     open your mind to God. And now, my co-chair, Todd Akin.
       Congressman Todd Akin: Good morning, I am Todd Akin from 
     Missouri. The tradition of the Prayer Breakfast goes back to 
     the days of President Eisenhower. Because of the tremendous 
     importance that we place on a personal relationship with God, 
     a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is a Christian 
     prayer breakfast. And yet we welcome happily people of all 
     different faiths to join us. Along these lines when we arrive 
     on a Thursday morning and hear a personal testimony, we hear 
     a tremendous diversity in the kinds of stories. For example, 
     we heard this story of a little boy who grows up penniless 
     and orphaned on the streets wondering where the next meal 
     will come from, and how he is led on a journey to the U.S. 
     Congress. We hear another story of a pilot of a small 
     airplane in the fog over the mountains of Germany with little 
     instrumentation and how in answer to prayer, a hole is opened 
     up in the fog showing a landing strip way below--how he dives 
     his airplane through the hole in the fog, lands on the 
     landing strip and the fog closes in around the aircraft. It 
     is from these and other testimonies that Congressmen develop 
     a mutual respect and affection for each other. The statesman 
     William Wilberforce from England had two great aims in his 

[[Page S4981]]

     The first was to get rid of slavery. The second one was to 
     build civility--that is, a respectful and loving treatment of 
     the different legislators in England. This prayer breakfast 
     that we enjoy every week inspires that civility in an 
     otherwise polarizing political environment, that is why it is 
     the best hour of the week. God bless you.
       Senator Orrin Hatch: [alarm going off on cell phone] Woops, 
     oh dear.
       Senator Klobuchar: It's time for your prayer. Is that the 
     alarm for your prayer?
       Senator Hatch: I never learned how to turn that alarm off. 
     I apologize. Let us pray. Our dear Father in Heaven, as we 
     bow our heads this morning before Thee, we are so grateful 
     for this great nation and for the nations of the world, but 
     especially for the opportunities we have as a nation to bring 
     peace and contentment and tranquility throughout this world. 
     We are grateful for our great leaders and we pray that Thou 
     wilt bless them. We pray that Thou wilt bless our President 
     and our Vice President and their cabinet and all of the 
     leaders throughout the federal government that they might be 
     inspired to lead us to do the things that are righteous in 
     Thy sight that we might be able to be good followers and that 
     we might be able to combine together to do what is right. As 
     Moses' father in law told him, let's share the responsibility 
     and let's work together in the best interest of our country. 
     Let's have bipartisanship reborn again in this great nation. 
     We are so grateful for those who serve in the military who 
     are represented here today and throughout this country. We 
     are grateful for the sacrifices that they undertake on our 
     behalf. We are grateful for those who are in harm's way and 
     pray that Thou wilt pour special blessings upon them, that 
     they might be blessed and protected. And we pray that we 
     might be a nation that will help to bring peace and 
     tranquility throughout the world. We are grateful for all of 
     the food, clothing and shelter that Thou has provided for us. 
     We are grateful for those who serve in governments throughout 
     the states, for the respective state legislatures. And last 
     but not least, we are grateful for the Congress of the United 
     States and we will pray that the Congress might be able to 
     work together as Democrats and Republicans and Independents 
     to serve Thee, to serve our country, to serve our fellow men 
     and women, and to bring peace and contentment to this great 
     nation and throughout the world. We pray at this time for 
     those who are suffering in Haiti and elsewhere throughout the 
     world. We ask you to bless them and help them and help us to 
     do our share in helping throughout this world. We are 
     grateful for the leaders from other countries who are here 
     and we pray Thy blessings upon them. Once again, we ask that 
     you bless our President, Vice President and the leaders of 
     this country. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
       Senator Klobuchar: Thank you very much Senator Hatch. Now 
     to read our next scripture today we are honored to be joined 
     by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who is currently serving his 
     second four year term as the Prime Minister of Spain. Prime 
     Minister Zapatero however, is not just the leader of one very 
     important country, he is also the current Chairman of the 
     European Union. And if that isn't enough, he made a claim to 
     fame as Prime Minister with a cabinet where a majority of his 
     cabinet members are women. I decided to add that. The Prime 
     Minister has also made invaluable contributions to interfaith 
     dialogue and reconciliation in his country, both as an 
     individual and as an elected leader. His personal quest has 
     been to promote peaceful coexistence and tolerance among the 
     religious faiths in his own country and throughout the world. 
     Please join me in welcoming the Prime Minister of Spain, the 
     Chairman of the European Union, His Excellency Jose Luis 
     Rodriguez Zapatero.
       The Prime Minister of Spain: [Speaking in Spanish]
       Translator: Mr. President, Members of Congress, ladies and 
     gentlemen, thank you. Thank you for inviting me to 
     participate--on behalf of my country, on behalf of Spain--in 
     one of the American people's most symbolic traditions. And 
     thank you to Senators Klobuchar and Isakson. And please do 
     allow me now to speak to you in Spanish, the language in 
     which people first prayed to the God of the Gospels in this 
       No one knows the value of religious freedom better than all 
     of you. Your forbearers fled oppression and so as to never be 
     deprived of their freedom, they founded this country. A 
     nation, the United States of America, born out of democracy; 
     a nation that has never stopped thriving thanks to the 
     strength of that democracy, which abolished slavery, 
     recognized equal voting rights and outlawed discrimination; a 
     nation that has expanded pluralism, tolerance and respect for 
     all choices and beliefs. Admirable feats, admirable in the 
     eyes of a firm believer in democracy, living in one of the 
     oldest nations in the world, Spain. Our nation is also 
     diverse, forged out of diversity and renewed in its 
     diversity. Our nation is as diverse as America. It is the 
     most multi-cultural of the lands of Europe, a Spain that 
     is Celtic, Iberian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Jewish, Arab 
     and Christian, especially Christian as defined by the 
     Latin American Author Carlos Fuentes. Our two countries 
     owe much to us that have come to us from abroad. Our 
     countries cannot be understood without them. Without those 
     who throughout history have come to our land and living in 
     our midst have become us, have become what we are.
       Allow me to read you a Bible passage from Deuteronomy, 
     Chapter 24, ``You should not withhold the wages of poor and 
     needy laborers whether other Israelites or aliens who reside 
     in your land or in one of your towns. You shall pay them 
     their wages daily before sunset because they are poor and 
     their livelihood depends on them.''
       Let us be concerned with integrating those who have come to 
     work and live in our countries in our midst. Let us also be 
     concerned with all of those whom we cannot welcome amongst us 
     and who are suffering from hunger and extreme poverty in so 
     many places around the world, such as those living in Haiti 
     and whose misfortune has moved us to offer up all our efforts 
     of solidarity; a solidarity which reconciles us with our 
     human condition, with our vulnerability and our fraternity 
     and which should never wane. Furthermore, I would like to 
     proclaim my deep commitment to those men and women who in our 
     societies in these difficult times are suffering the scarcity 
     of jobs. They should all know that as government leaders, 
     this task is our paramount concern. No other task is more 
     binding to us than that of fostering job creation. Today, it 
     is my plea that we also advocate the right of all persons 
     anywhere in the world to moral autonomy, to their quest for 
     that which is good. Today, it is my plea that we advocate the 
     freedom of all to live their own lives, to live with their 
     loved one and to build and nurture their family environment. 
     This is worthy of respect.
       Freedom, civic truth, the truth common to us all, it is 
     what makes us true, genuine, authentic human beings, because 
     freedom enables each of us to look destiny in the eye and 
     seek our own truth. But tolerance is so much more than 
     accepting the other. It is discovering, knowing, 
     acknowledging the other. Ignorance of the other is at the 
     root of all conflicts that threaten human kind and endanger 
     our future. Ignorance breeds hate. Harmony is founded on 
     knowledge--so is peace. Even in the past, Spain was a model 
     of peaceful coexistence among the three religions of the 
     Book--Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And today in the 
     world, Spain defends religious tolerance and respect for 
     difference, dialogue, peaceful coexistence of cultures, the 
     alliance of civilizations. We do so with as much conviction 
     as we reject excluding statements of moral superiority, 
     absolutism, and uncompromising fundamentalism. The United 
     States knows, as does Spain, that the spurious use of 
     religious faith to justify violence can be hugely 
     destructive. And what better occasion than this prayer 
     breakfast to commemorate together, to honor together, our 
     victims of terrorism. Because it also together that we defend 
     freedom wherever it is threatened.
       Mr. President, members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen, 
     be it with a lofty dimension or a civic one, freedom is 
     always the foundation of hope, of hope in the future, for 
     liberty as for honor says Don Quixote in the masterpiece 
     written in Spanish, ``One can rightfully risk one's life, yet 
     captivity is the worst evil that can befall men.'' Liberty is 
     one of the most precious gifts heaven has bestowed upon man 
     that this gift may continue blessing America and all people's 
     on earth. Thank you very much. [Applause]
       Senator Isakson: Prime Minister Zapatero, thank you for 
     those meaningful and inspirational words. We are delighted to 
     have you in America today and we appreciate your friendship 
     very much. You know every day when I find those special few 
     moments to pause and meditate and pray for the things I am 
     thankful for, the very first prayer is for the men and women 
     who serve us in harm's way in our armed forces around the 
     world. For I know they not only serve the United States, but 
     they serve peace, freedom and democracy of all nations around 
     the world. And it is my pleasure now to introduce the leader 
     of the United States' military, the Chairman of the Joint 
     Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen.
       Admiral Michael Mullen: Thank you. Good morning Mr. 
     President, Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary 
     Clinton, other distinguished heads of state and distinguished 
     visitors, ladies and gentlemen. I am deeply honored to be 
     here and to have this opportunity. I have been asked this 
     morning to offer a prayer for world leaders. When my wife, 
     Deborah, informed me that one of the leaders I would be 
     praying for was probably me, something I hadn't really 
     considered, I actually started taking this very serious. I am 
     also mindful that there is more than one higher power in the 
     room today, no offense, Mr. Vice President. Now, before I ask 
     you all to join me in prayer I would like to tell a little 
     story. It is about an Army platoon leader in the Korean War. 
     He and his men fell into an ambush one day out on patrol and 
     found themselves surrounded by enemy soldiers. They hunkered 
     down in a small clearing, making the best of what little 
     cover they could find and tried desperately to hold on 
     against what seemed to be terrible odds. Every now and then, 
     the platoon sergeant noticed that his young lieutenant would 
     dash behind a big rock and sit for a minute or two and then 
     dash back out and start issuing new commands: ``move here, 
     move there, shift your fire high, shift it low.'' The barrage 
     of orders seemed to come almost as fast as the enemy bullets 
     themselves. After an hour or so, while suffering only a few 
     casualties, the platoon had chased off their attackers and 
     began to safely make their way back to base. On the walk 
     back, the sergeant approached the lieutenant and asked him: 
     ``Exactly what were you doing behind that rock, sir?'' The 
     officer grinned a little, sighed, his shoulders sank, he said 
     ``I needed

[[Page S4982]]

     time to think, to adjust so I kept asking myself three 
     questions: What am I doing? What am I not doing? And how can 
     I make up the difference?'' Now, I do not know if that story 
     is really true or not--I am told that it is. I really like 
     it, because it illustrates perfectly the deepest challenge of 
     leadership during difficult times--that of self reflection 
     and sober analysis. Even in the heat of battle, perhaps 
     especially in the heat of battle, we must find the time to 
     think, to adjust, and to improve our situation. After more 
     than four decades in uniform in peace and in war, it has been 
     my experience that people are guided best not by their 
     instincts but by their reason. That leaders are most 
     effective not when they rule passionately but when they 
     decide dispassionately. As St. Thomas Aquinas once said, ``A 
     man has free choice only to the extent that he is rational.'' 
     And so in these dangerous, difficult and immensely 
     challenging times, when our young troops fight two wars 
     overseas while their loved ones back home fight to keep their 
     families together, when everything from the economy to the 
     environment instills fear and uncertainty, let us exercise 
     our own free choice. Let us lead rationally and calmly. Let 
     us take the time to ask ourselves: What are we doing? What 
     are we not doing? And how can we make up the difference? We 
     may not always like the answers--I know I seldom do--but we 
     can always learn from having posed the questions.
       And now, please bow your heads and join me in prayer. 
     Father in Heaven, we gather today to ask your blessing over 
     the lives and decisions of those who lead us around the 
     world. Theirs is a mighty task and a noble calling, for upon 
     their shoulders rest the hopes and dreams of billions of 
     people, not only of this generation but of future generations 
     who know us not. May you guide them in that pursuit, oh Lord, 
     give them the faith to seek your guidance, the wisdom to make 
     the right decisions and the character to see those 
     decisions through. Help them choose love over hate, 
     courage over fear, principle over expediency. Let them 
     always seek concord and peace and to remember that the 
     best leader is a good and humble servant. Encourage them, 
     Father, to seek your council as Solomon himself did in 1 
     Kings, chapter 3, saying to you: ``but I am only a little 
     child and do not know how to carry out my duties. So give 
     me a discerning heart to govern your people and to 
     distinguish between right and wrong.'' May you bless us 
     all Lord, your children, and give our leaders that same 
     discerning heart. Help us always to distinguish between 
     right and wrong and to serve others before ourselves. This 
     we pray, in Thy name, Amen.
       Senator Klobuchar: Thank you very much, Admiral Mullen. It 
     is now my great honor to introduce our keynote speaker, 
     Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is an 
     incredibly accomplished woman whose life has been shaped by 
     the deep and abiding faith she was blessed to receive during 
     her childhood in suburban Chicago. Faith was always central 
     to Hillary Clinton's family. Her mother taught Sunday school 
     and made sure that her daughter and sons were there the 
     moment the church doors opened. In high school, she was 
     deeply influenced by her youth minister who taught her about 
     faith in action. On one memorable evening at age fourteen, 
     her church youth group went to hear a speech by Reverend 
     Martin Luther King, a transformative experience that inspires 
     her today. As a successful attorney and the First Lady of 
     Arkansas, her faith inspired her to be a forceful advocate 
     for disadvantaged children and families. As our nation's 
     First Lady, her faith led her to be a champion for health 
     care reform and for human rights, especially for women around 
     the world. As I have learned from people who were here at 
     this prayer breakfast long before me, Hillary Clinton and her 
     husband, President Bill Clinton, were always generous with 
     their time at this prayer breakfast. As a Senator from New 
     York, Senator Clinton's faith sustained as she became a 
     highly respected legislator who always did her homework. And 
     after a long and bruising presidential campaign in which she 
     shattered the glass ceiling for national women candidates 
     forever, she was asked by President Obama to serve as 
     Secretary of State. She could have so easily said ``no'' and 
     stayed as the powerhouse she was in the Senate, instead, she 
     once again answered the call to serve. She didn't flinch, she 
     didn't hesitate. And in the words of Isaiah, she said, ``Send 
     me.'' From the sands of the Mideast, to the capitals of 
     Europe, to the devastation in Haiti, she has shown America's 
     strength and commitment to the world. Please join me in 
     welcoming, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
       Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Thank you. Thank you. 
     Thank you very much. I have to begin by saying that I am not 
     Bono. Those of you who were here when he was, I apologize 
     beforehand. But it is a great pleasure to be with you and to 
     be here with President and Mrs. Obama, to be with Vice 
     President Biden, with Chairman Mullen, with certainly our 
     hosts today, my former colleagues and friends, Senators 
     Johnny Isakson and Amy Klobuchar. And to be with so many 
     distinguished guests and visitors who have come from all over 
     our country and indeed from all over the world.
       I have attended this prayer breakfast every year since 
     1993, and I have always found it to be a gathering that 
     inspires and motivates me. Now today, our minds are still 
     filled with the images of the tragedy of Haiti where faith is 
     being tested daily in food lines and makeshift hospitals, in 
     tent cities where there are not only so many suffering people 
     but so many vanished dreams.
       When I think about the horrible catastrophe that has struck 
     Haiti, I am both saddened but also spurred. This is a moment 
     that has already been embraced by people of faith from 
     everywhere. I thank Prime Minister Zapatero for his country's 
     response and commitment. Because in the days since the 
     earthquake, we have seen the world and the world's faithful 
     spring into action on behalf of those suffering. President 
     Obama has put our country on the leading edge of making sure 
     that we do all we can to help alleviate not only the 
     immediate suffering, but to assist in the rebuilding and 
     recovery. So many countries have answered the call, and so 
     many churches, synagogues, mosques and temples have brought 
     their own people together. And even with modern technology 
     through Facebook and telethons and text messages and Twitter, 
     there has been an overwhelming global response. But of 
     course, there is so much more to be done.
       When I think about being here with all of you today, there 
     are so many subjects to talk about. You have already heard, 
     both in prayer and in Scripture reading and in Prime Minister 
     Zapatero's remarks, a number of messages. But let me be both 
     personal and speak from my unique perspective now as 
     Secretary of State. I have been here as a First Lady. I have 
     been here as a senator, and now I am here as a Secretary of 
     State. I have heard heartfelt descriptions of personal faith 
     journeys. I have heard impassioned pleas for feeding the 
     hungry and helping the poor, caring for the sick. I have 
     heard speeches about promoting understanding among people of 
     different faiths. I have met hundreds of visitors from 
     countries across the globe. I have seen the leaders of my own 
     country come here amidst the crises of the time and, for at 
     least a morning, put away political and ideological 
     differences. And I have watched and I have listened to three 
     presidents, each a man of faith, speak from their hearts, 
     both sharing their own feelings about being in a position 
     that has almost intolerably impossible burdens to bear, and 
     appealing often, either explicitly or implicitly, for an end 
     to the increasing smallness, irrelevancy, even meanness, of 
     our own political culture. My own heart has been touched and 
     occasionally pierced by the words I have heard and often my 
     spirit has been lifted by the musicians and the singers who 
     have shared their gifts in praising the Lord with us. And 
     during difficult and painful times, my faith has been 
     strengthened by the personal connections that I have 
     experienced with people who, by the calculus of politics, 
     were on the opposite side of me on the basis of issues or 
       After my very first prayer breakfast, a bipartisan group of 
     women asked me to join them for lunch and told me that they 
     were forming a prayer group. And these prayer partners prayed 
     for me. They prayed for me during some very challenging 
     times. They came to see me in the White House. They kept in 
     touch with me and some still do today. And they gave me a 
     handmade book with messages, quotes, and Scripture to sustain 
     me. And of all the thousands of gifts that I have received in 
     the White House, I have a special affection for this one. 
     Because in addition to the tangible gift of the book, it 
     contained 12 intangible gifts, 12 gifts of discernment, 
     peace, compassion, faith, fellowship, vision, forgiveness, 
     grace, wisdom, love, joy, and courage. And I have had many 
     occasions to pull out that book and to look at it and to try, 
     Chairman Mullen, to figure out how to close the gap of what I 
     am feeling and doing with what I know I should be feeling and 
     doing. As a person of faith, it is a constant struggle, 
     particularly in the political arena, to close that gap that 
     each of us faces.
       In February of 1994, the speaker here was Mother Theresa. 
     She gave, as everyone who remembers that occasion will 
     certainly recall, a strong address against abortion. And then 
     she asked to see me. And I thought, ``Oh, dear.'' And after 
     the breakfast we went behind that curtain and we sat on 
     folding chairs, and I remember being struck by how small she 
     was and how powerful her hands were, despite her size, and 
     that she was wearing sandals in February in Washington.
       We began to talk and she told me that she knew that we had 
     a shared conviction about adoption being vastly better as a 
     choice for unplanned or unwanted babies. And she asked me--or 
     more properly, she directed me--to work with her to create a 
     home for such babies here in Washington. I know that we often 
     picture, as we are growing up, God as a man with a white 
     beard. But that day, I felt like I had been ordered, and that 
     the message was coming not just through this diminutive woman 
     but from some place far beyond.
       So, I started to work. And it took a while because we had 
     to cut through all the red tape. We had to get all of the 
     approvals. I thought it would be easier than it turned out to 
     be. She proved herself to be the most relentless lobbyist I 
     have ever encountered. She could not get a job in your White 
     House, Mr. President. She never let up. She called me from 
     India, she called me from Vietnam, she wrote me letters and 
     it was always: ``When is the house going to open? How much 
     more can be done--quickly?''
       Finally, the moment came: June 1995 and the Mother Theresa 
     Home for Infant Children opened. She flew in from Kolkata to 
     attend the opening and, like a happy child, she gripped my 
     arm and led me around, looking

[[Page S4983]]

     at the bassinets and the pretty painted colors on the wall, 
     and just beaming about what this meant for children and their 
       A few years later, I attended her funeral in Kolkata, where 
     I saw presidents and prime ministers, royalty and street 
     beggars pay her homage. And after the service, her successor, 
     Sister Nirmala, the leader of the Missionary of Charity, 
     invited me to come to the Mother House. I was deeply touched. 
     When I arrived, I realized I was one of only a very few 
     outsiders. And I was directed into a whitewashed room where 
     the casket had already arrived. And we stood around with the 
     nuns, with the candles on the walls flickering, and prayed 
     for this extraordinary woman. And then Sister Nirmala asked 
     me to offer a prayer. I felt both inadequate and deeply 
     honored, just as I do today.
       And in the tradition of prayer breakfast speakers, let me 
     share a few matters that reflect how I came on my own faith 
     journey, and how I think about the responsibilities that 
     President Obama and his administration and our government 
     face today. As Amy said, I grew up in the Methodist Church. 
     On both sides of my father's family, the Rodhams and the 
     Joneses; they came from mining towns. And they claimed, going 
     back many years, to have actually been converted by John and 
     Charles Wesley. And, of course, Methodists--we are 
     methodical. It was a particularly good religion for me. And 
     part of it is a commitment to living out your faith. We 
     believe that faith without works may not be dead, but it is 
     hard to discern from time to time. John Wesley had this 
     simple rule which I carry around with me as I travel: ``Do 
     all the good you can by all the means you can and by all the 
     ways you can and all the places you can at all the times you 
     can to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.'' 
     That is a tall order. And of course, one of the interpretive 
     problems with it is, who defines good? What are we actually 
     called to do, and how do we stay humble enough, obedient 
     enough, to ask ourselves, ``Am I really doing what I am 
     called to do?'' It was a good rule to be raised by and it was 
     certainly a good rule for my mother and father to discipline 
     us by. And I think it is a good rule to live by, with the 
     appropriate dose of humility. Our world is an imperfect one 
     filled with imperfect people, so we constantly struggle to 
     meet our own spiritual goals. But John Wesley's teachings, 
     and the teachings of my church, particularly during my 
     childhood and teenage years, gave me the impetus to believe 
     that I did have a responsibility. It meant not sitting on the 
     sidelines, but being in the arena. And it meant constantly 
     working to try to fulfill the lessons that I absorbed as a 
     child. It is not easy. We are here today because we are all 
     seekers, and we can all look around our own lives and the 
     lives of those whom we know and see everyone falling so 
       As we look around the world, there are so many problems and 
     challenges that people of faith are attempting to address--or 
     should be. We can recite those places where human beings are 
     mired in the past--their hatreds, their differences--where 
     governments refuse to speak to other governments, where the 
     progress of entire nations is undermined because isolation 
     and insularity seem less risky than cooperation and 
     collaboration, where all too often it is religion that is the 
     force that drives and sustains division rather than being the 
     healing balm. These patterns persist despite the overwhelming 
     evidence that more good will comes from suspending old 
     animosities and preconceptions, from engaging others in 
     dialogue, from remembering the cardinal rules found in all of 
     the world's major religions.
       Last October, I visited Belfast once again, 11 years after 
     the signing of the Good Friday agreement, a place where being 
     a Protestant or a Catholic determined where you lived, often 
     where you worked, whether you were a friend or an enemy, a 
     threat or a target. Yet over time, as the body count grew, 
     the bonds of common humanity became more powerful than the 
     differences fueled by ancient wrongs. So bullets have been 
     traded for ballots--as we meet this morning, both communities 
     are attempting to hammer out a final agreement on the yet 
     unresolved issues between them. And they are discovering anew 
     what the Scripture urges us: ``Let us not become weary in 
     doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if 
     we do not give up.'' Even in places where God's presence and 
     promise seems fleeting and unfulfilled or completely absent, 
     the power of one person's faith and the determination to act 
     can help lead a nation out of darkness.
       Some of you may have seen the film, ``Pray the Devil Back 
     to Hell.'' It is the story of a Liberian woman who was tired 
     of the conflict and the killing and the fear that had gripped 
     her country for years. So she went to her church and she 
     prayed for an end to the civil war. And she organized other 
     women at her church, and then at other churches, then at the 
     mosques. Soon thousands of women became a mass movement, 
     rising up and praying for a peace, and working to bring it 
     about that finally, finally ended the conflict.
       And yet, the devil must have left Liberia and taken up 
     residence in Congo. When I was in the Democratic Republic of 
     Congo this summer, the contrasts were so overwhelmingly 
     tragic--a country the size of Western Europe, rich in 
     minerals and natural resources, where 5.4 million people have 
     been killed in the most deadly conflict since World War II; 
     where 1,100 women and girls are raped every month; where the 
     life expectancy is 46 and dropping; where poverty, starvation 
     and all of the ills that stalk the human race are in 
     abundance. When I traveled to Goma, I saw in a single day the 
     best and the worst of humanity. I met with women who had been 
     savaged and brutalized physically and emotionally, victims of 
     gender and sexual-based violence in a place where law, custom 
     and even faith did little to protect them. But I also saw 
     courageous women who, by faith, went back in to the bush to 
     find those who, like them, had been violently attacked. I saw 
     the doctors and the nurses who were helping to heal the 
     wounds, and I saw so many who were there because their faith 
     led them to it.
       As we look at the world today and we reflect on the 
     overwhelming response--of the outpouring of generosity--to 
     what happened in Haiti, I am reminded of a story of Elijah. 
     After he goes to Mount Horeb, we read that he faced ``a great 
     wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and 
     breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was 
     not in the wind; and after the wind, an earthquake, but 
     the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the 
     earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and 
     after the fire, a sound of sheer silence--a still small 
     voice.'' It was then that Elijah heard the voice of the 
     Lord. It is often when we are only quiet enough to listen, 
     that we do as well. It is something we can do at any time, 
     without a disaster or a catastrophe provoking it. It 
     shouldn't take that.
       But the teachings of every religion call us to care for the 
     poor, tell us to visit the orphans and widows, to be generous 
     and charitable, to alleviate suffering. All religions have 
     their version of the Golden Rule and direct us to love our 
     neighbor and welcome the stranger and visit the prisoner. But 
     how often in the midst of our own lives do we respond to 
     that? All of these holy texts, all of this religious wisdom 
     from these very different faiths, call on us to act out of 
     love. In politics, we sometimes talk about message 
     discipline--making sure everyone uses the same set of talking 
     points. Well, whoever was in charge of message discipline on 
     these issues for every religion certainly knew what they were 
     doing. Regardless of our differences, we all got the same 
     talking points and the same marching orders. So the charge is 
     a personal one. Yet across the world, we see organized 
     religion standing in the way of faith, perverting love, 
     undermining that message. Sometimes it is easier to see the 
     far away than the here at home. But religion, cloaked in 
     naked power lust, is used to justify horrific violence, 
     attacks on homes, markets, schools, volleyball games, 
     churches, mosques, synagogues, temples. From Iraq to Pakistan 
     and Afghanistan to Nigeria and the Middle East, religion is 
     used as a club to deny the human rights of girls and women, 
     from the Gulf to Africa to Asia, and to discriminate, even 
     advocating the execution of gays and lesbians. Religion is 
     used to enshrine in law intolerance of free expression and 
     peaceful protest. Iran is now detaining people and executing 
     people under a new crime--waging war against God. That seems 
     to be a rather dramatic identity crisis.
       So in the Obama Administration, we are working to bridge 
     religious divides. We are taking on violations of human 
     rights perpetrated in the name of religion. And we invite 
     members of Congress and clergy and active citizens like all 
     of you here to join us. Of course, we are supporting the 
     peace processes from Northern Ireland to the Middle East, and 
     of course we are following up on the President's historic 
     speech at Cairo with outreach efforts to Muslims and 
     promoting interfaith dialogue, and of course we are 
     condemning the repression in Iran. But we are also standing 
     up for girls and for women, who too often in the name of 
     religion, are denied their basic human rights. And we are 
     standing up for gays and lesbians who deserve to be treated 
     as full human beings. And we are also making it clear to 
     countries and leaders that these are priorities of the United 
     States. Every time I travel, I raise the plight of girls and 
     women, and make it clear that we expect to see changes. And I 
     recently called President Museveni, whom I have known through 
     the prayer breakfast, and expressed the strongest concerns 
     about a law being considered in the parliament of Uganda.
       We are committed, not only to reaching out and speaking up 
     about the perversion of religion, and in particularly the use 
     of it to promote and justify terrorism, but also seeking to 
     find common ground. We are working with Muslim nations to 
     come up with an appropriate way of demonstrating criticism of 
     religious intolerance without stepping over into the area of 
     freedom of religion, or non-religion, and expression. So 
     there is much to be done, and there are a lot of challenging 
     opportunities for each of us as we leave this prayer 
     breakfast, this 58th prayer breakfast.
       In 1975, my husband and I, who had gotten married in 
     October, and we were both teaching at the University of 
     Arkansas Law School in beautiful Fayetteville, Arkansas--we 
     got married on a Saturday and went back to work on a Monday. 
     So around Christmastime, we decided that we should go 
     somewhere and celebrate, take a honeymoon. And my late father 
     said, ``Well, that's a great idea, we'll come too.'' And 
     indeed Bill and I and my entire family went to Acapulco. We 
     had a great time, but it wasn't exactly a honeymoon. So when 
     we got back, Bill was talking to one of his friends who was 
     then working in Haiti, and his friend said, ``Well, why don't 
     you come see me? This is the most interesting country. Come 
     and take some time.'' So indeed, we did. So we were there

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     over the New Year's holidays. And I remember visiting the 
     cathedral in Port-au-Prince, in the midst of, at that time, 
     so much fear from the regime of the Duvaliers, and so much 
     poverty, there was this cathedral that had stood there and 
     served as a beacon of hope and faith. After the earthquake, I 
     was looking at some of our pictures from the disaster, and I 
     saw the total destruction of the cathedral. It was just a 
     heart rending moment. And yet, I also saw men and women 
     helping one another, digging through the rubble, dancing and 
     singing in the makeshift communities that they were building 
     up. And I thought again that as the Scripture reminds us, 
     ``Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, 
     yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my 
     covenant of peace be removed.''
       As the memory of this crisis fades, as the news cameras 
     move on to the next very dramatic incident, let us pray that 
     we can sustain the force and the feeling that we find in our 
     hearts and in our faith in the aftermath of such tragedies. 
     Let us pray that we will all continue to be our brothers' and 
     sisters' keepers. Let us pray that amid our differences we 
     can continue to see the power of faith not only to make us 
     whole as individuals, to provide personal salvation, but to 
     make us a greater whole and a greater force for good on 
     behalf of all creation. So let us do all the good that we 
     can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all 
     the places we can, to all the people we can, as long as ever 
     we can. God Bless you.
       Senator Isakson: Thank you, Secretary Clinton, for your 
     words of inspiration and for the magnificent job you do as 
     the Secretary of State for our nation. I now have the high 
     honor and distinct privilege of introducing the President of 
     the United States--that is no easy task. Have you ever tried 
     introducing somebody that is known to everybody on the 
     planet? It is hard to find something unique and 
     inspirational. Everyone knows of the historic impact of 
     Barack Obama's election to the Presidency of the United 
     States. We all marvel at his oratory skills and his ability 
     to communicate, and we all know his energy is boundless. We 
     also know that his audacity of hope has given hope to 
     millions of people around the world, to aspire to the highest 
     of achievement in their life. But it was his State of the 
     Union that inspired me as to what I would say, because I 
     listened when he asked us to seek those things that we have 
     in common, not those things that divide us. And then I 
     realized it, Mr. President, you and I share one unique 
     characteristic in common--we married way over our heads. With 
     a magnificent First Lady like Michelle Obama, I felt it only 
     appropriate that I would introduce you today, sir, as the 
     husband of the dynamic First Lady of the United States of 
     America, President Barack Obama.
       The President: Thank you. Thank you very much. Please be 
       Thank you so much. Heads of State, Cabinet members, my 
     outstanding Vice President, members of Congress, religious 
     leaders, distinguished guests, Admiral Mullen--it's good to 
     see all of you. Let me begin by acknowledging the co-chairs 
     of this breakfast, Senators Isakson and Klobuchar, who embody 
     the sense of fellowship at the heart of this gathering. They 
     are two of my favorite senators. Let me also acknowledge 
     the director of my Faith-based Office, Joshua DuBois, who 
     is here. He's doing great work.
       I want to commend Secretary Hillary Clinton on her 
     outstanding remarks and her outstanding leadership at the 
     State Department. She is doing good every day. I am 
     especially pleased to see my dear friend, Prime Minister 
     Zapatero, and I want him to relay America's greetings to the 
     people of Spain. And Johnny, you are right, I am deeply 
     blessed, and I thank God every day for being married to 
     Michelle Obama.
       I am privileged to join you once again as my predecessors 
     have for over half a century. Like them, I come here to speak 
     about the ways my faith informs who I am--as a President and 
     as a person. But I am also here for the same reason that all 
     of you are, for we all share recognition--one as old as 
     time--that a willingness to believe, an openness to grace, a 
     commitment to prayer can bring sustenance to our lives.
       There is, of course, a need for prayer even in times of joy 
     and peace and prosperity. Perhaps especially in such times 
     prayer is needed--to guard against pride and to guard against 
     complacency. But rightly or wrongly, most of us are inclined 
     to seek out the divine not in the moment when the Lord makes 
     his face shine upon us but in the moment when God's grace can 
     seem farthest away.
       Last month, God's grace, God's mercy, seemed far away from 
     our neighbors in Haiti. And yet I believe that grace was not 
     absent in the midst of tragedy. It was heard in prayers and 
     hymns that broke the silence of an earthquake's wake. It was 
     witnessed among parishioners of churches that stood no more, 
     a road side congregation holding bibles in their laps. It was 
     felt in the presence of relief workers and medics, 
     translators, service men and women bringing food and water 
     and aid to the injured.
       One such translator was an American of Haitian decent, 
     representative of the extraordinary work that our men and 
     women in uniform do all around the world--Navy Corpsman 
     Christopher Brossard. And lying on a gurney aboard the USNS 
     Comfort, a woman asked Christopher: ``Where do you come from? 
     What country? After my operation,'' she said, ``I will pray 
     for that country.'' And in Creole, Corpsman Brossard 
     responded, ``Etazini.'' The United States of America.
       God's grace, and the compassion and decency of the American 
     people is expressed through the men and women like Corpsman 
     Brossard. It is expressed through the efforts of our Armed 
     Forces; through the efforts of our entire government; through 
     similar efforts from Spain and other countries around the 
     world. It is also, as Secretary Clinton said, expressed 
     through multiple faith-based efforts. By Evangelicals at 
     World Relief. By the American Jewish World Service. By Hindu 
     temples, and mainline Protestants, Catholic Relief Services, 
     African-American churches, the United Sikhs. By Americans of 
     every faith, and no faith, uniting around a common purpose, a 
     higher purpose.
       It's inspiring. This is what we do, as Americans, in times 
     of trouble. We unite, recognizing that such crises call on 
     all of us to act, recognizing that there but for the grace of 
     God go I, recognizing that life's most sacred 
     responsibility--one affirmed, as Hillary said, by all of the 
     world's great religions--is to sacrifice something of 
     ourselves for a person in need.
       Sadly, though, that spirit is too often absent when 
     tackling the long-term, but no less profound issues facing 
     our country and the world. Too often, that spirit is missing 
     without the spectacular tragedy--the 9/11 or the Katrina, the 
     earthquake or the tsunami--that can shake us out of 
     complacency. We become numb to the day-to-day crises, the 
     slow-moving tragedies of children without food and men 
     without shelter and families without health care. We become 
     absorbed with our abstract arguments, our ideological 
     disputes, our contests for power. And in this Tower of Babel, 
     we lose the sound of God's voice.
       Now, for those of us here in Washington, let's acknowledge 
     that democracy has always been messy. Let's not be overly 
     nostalgic. Divisions are hardly new in this country. 
     Arguments about the proper role of government, the 
     relationship between liberty and equality, our obligations to 
     our fellow citizens--these things have been with us since our 
     founding. And I am profoundly mindful that a loyal 
     opposition, a vigorous back and forth, a skepticism of power, 
     all of that is what makes our democracy work.
       And we have seen actually some improvement in some 
     circumstances. We haven't seen any canings on the floor of 
     the Senate any time recently. So we shouldn't over-
     romanticize the past. But there is a sense that something is 
     different now; that something is broken; that those of us in 
     Washington are not serving the people as well as we should. 
     At times, it seems like we are unable to listen to one 
     another; to have at once a serious and civil debate. And this 
     erosion of civility in the public square sows division and 
     distrust among our citizens. It poisons the well of public 
     opinion. It leaves each side little room to negotiate with 
     the other. It makes politics an all-or-nothing sport, where 
     one side is either always right or always wrong when, in 
     reality, neither side has a monopoly on truth. And then we 
     lose sight of the children without food and the men without 
     shelter and the families without health care.
       Empowered by faith, consistently, prayerfully, we need to 
     find our way back to civility. That begins with stepping out 
     of our comfort zones in an effort to bridge divisions. We see 
     that in many conservative pastors who are helping lead the 
     way to fix our broken immigration system. It's not what would 
     be expected from them, and yet they recognize, in those 
     immigrant families, the face of God. We see that in the 
     Evangelical leaders who are rallying their congregations to 
     protect our planet. We see it in the increasing recognition 
     among progressives that government cannot solve all of our 
     problems, and that talking about values like responsible 
     fatherhood and healthy marriage are integral to any anti-
     poverty agenda. Stretching out of our dogmas, our prescribed 
     roles along the political spectrum, that can help us regain a 
     sense of civility.
       Civility also requires relearning how to disagree without 
     being disagreeable; understanding as President Kennedy said, 
     that ``civility is not a sign of weakness.'' Now, I am the 
     first to confess that I am not always right. Michelle will 
     testify to that. But surely you can question my policies 
     without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my 
       Challenging each other's ideas can renew our democracy. But 
     when we challenge each other's motives, it becomes harder to 
     see what we hold in common. We forget that we share in some 
     deep level the same dreams--even when we don't share the same 
     plans on how to fulfill them.
       We may disagree about the best way to reform our health 
     care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go 
     broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth. We 
     can take different approaches to ending inequality, but 
     surely we can agree on the need to lift our children out 
     of ignorance; to lift our neighbors from poverty. 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 is here in the United States or, as 
     Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are 
     being proposed most recently in Uganda.
       Surely, we can agree to find common ground when possible, 
     parting ways when necessary. But in doing so, let us be 
     guided by our faith, and by prayer. For while prayer can buck 
     us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer 
     can stiffen our

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     spines to surmount an obstacle--and I assure you I'm praying 
     a lot these days--prayer can also do something else. It can 
     touch our hearts with humility. It can fill us with a spirit 
     of brotherhood. It can remind us that each of us are children 
     of an awesome and loving God.
       Through faith, but not through faith alone, we can unite 
     people to serve the common good. And that's why my Office of 
     Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been working so 
     hard since I announced it here last year. We have slashed red 
     tape and built effective partnerships on a range of uses, 
     from promoting fatherhood here at home, to spearheading 
     inter-faith cooperation abroad. And through that office, we 
     have turned the faith based initiative around to find common 
     ground among people of all beliefs, allowing them to make an 
     impact that is civil and respectful of difference and focused 
     on what matters most.
       It is this spirit of civility that we are called to take up 
     when we leave here today. That is what I am praying for. I 
     know in difficult times like these--when people are 
     frustrated, when pundits start shouting and politicians start 
     calling each other names--it can seem like a return to 
     civility is not possible, like the very idea is a relic of 
     some bygone era. The word itself seems quaint--civility.
       But let us remember those who came before; those who 
     believed in the brotherhood of man even when such a faith was 
     tested. Remember Dr. Martin Luther King. Not long after an 
     explosion ripped through his front porch, his wife and infant 
     daughter inside, he rose to that pulpit in Montgomery and 
     said, ``Love is the only force capable of transforming an 
     enemy into a friend.''
       In the eyes of those who denied his humanity, he saw the 
     face of God.
       Remember Abraham Lincoln. On the eve of the Civil War, with 
     states seceding and forces gathering, with a nation divided 
     half slave half free, he rose to deliver his first inaugural 
     and said, ``We are not enemies but friends . . . Though 
     passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of 
       Even in the eyes of Confederate soldiers, he saw the face 
     of God.
       Remember William Wilberforce, whose Christian faith led him 
     to seek slavery's abolition in Britain. He was vilified, 
     derided, attacked; but he called for ``lessening prejudices 
     and conciliating good-will, and thereby making way for the 
     less obstructed progress of truth.''
       In the eyes of those who sought to silence a nation's 
     conscience, he saw the face of God.
       Yes, there are crimes of conscience that call us to action. 
     Yes, there are causes that move our hearts and offenses that 
     stir our souls. But progress does not come when we demonize 
     opponents. It is not born in righteous spite. Progress comes 
     when we open our hearts, when we extend our hands, when we 
     recognize our common humanity. Progress comes when we look 
     into the eyes of another and see the face of God. That we 
     might do so--that we will do so all the time, not just some 
     of the time--is my fervent prayer for the nation and the 
       Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States 
     of America.
       Senator Isakson: Thank you so much, Mr. President, for your 
     leadership and your words of faith. We are now in for a 
     magnificent treat. Ralph Freeman founded Song Sermon 
     Ministries years ago, has sung on continents around the world 
     and throughout the United States. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. 
     Ralph Freeman.
     Mr. Ralph Freeman: [Singing]
     We believe in the Father who created all that is
     And we believe the universe and all there is His
     As a loving Heavenly Father he yearned to save us all
     To lift us from the fall--we believe

     We believe in Jesus, the Father's only son
     Existing uncreated before time had begun
     A sacrifice for sin, he died then he rose again
     To ransom sinful man--we believe.

     We believe in the Spirit who makes believers one
     Our hearts are filled with His presence
     The Comforter has come
     The kingdom unfolds in His plan
     Unhindered by quarrels of man
     His church upheld by his hands--we believe

     Though the Earth be removed
     And time be no more
     These truths are secure God's words shall endure
     Whatever may change, these things for sure--we believe.

     So if the mountains are cast down into the plains
     When the kingdoms all crumble, this one remains
     Our faith is not subject to seasons of man
     With our fathers we proclaim
     We believe our Lord will come as He said
     The land and the sea will give up their dead
     His children will reign with Him as their head
     We believe
     We believe

       Senator Klobuchar: What an amazing song. Thank you so much 
     and the President wanted me to let you know he only had to 
     leave early so it makes it easier for you all to get out of 
     here. But we want to thank you for such a beautiful morning, 
     something we will never forget and we have one last prayer, a 
     closing prayer and Johnny will introduce our speaker.
       Senator Isakson: My favorite verse in the Bible is in the 
     first book of Thessalonians, the 5th chapter, the 16th and 
     17th verses--``Rejoice evermore.'' And certainly after this 
     morning's message from Secretary of State Clinton and the 
     gifted musicians that we heard from, Ralph Freeman, Bob 
     Fraumann and MaryKay Messenger, we have had a reason to 
     rejoice this morning. But in addition, the second verse says 
     ``Pray without ceasing,'' and I can not think of a more 
     appropriate person to close today than the young man of great 
     gift and talent on the gridiron, who lives his faith and 
     ministers around the world sharing with others. A role model 
     for the youth of America, the University of Florida 
     quarterback, the Heisman Trophy Winner, Mr. Tim Tebow.
       Mr. Tim Tebow: It is actually rather incredible that a 
     Georgia Bulldog would invite a Florida Gator. So you can 
     actually see the hand of God here today already. Madam 
     Secretary, Senators, distinguished guests, thank you so much 
     for this opportunity. Now if you would, please bow your heads 
     and pray with me right now.
       Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for bringing 
     together so many people that have a platform to influence 
     people for you. Lord, as we disperse today let us be united 
     in love, hope and peace. Lord, let us come together as one 
     and break down all the barriers in between us that separate 
     us. Lord, you came to seek and save those who were lost and 
     we thank you for that. Lord, we don't know what the future 
     holds but we know who holds the future and in that there is 
     peace and in that there is comfort and in that there is hope. 
     Lord, we pray for the people all over the world who are 
     hurting right now, Lord. And the first thing that comes to 
     mind is James 1, verses 2 through 4, ``Consider all joy my 
     brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the 
     testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance 
     have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and 
     complete, lacking in nothing.'' And we pray for the people in 
     Haiti right now, Lord, that you make them perfect and 
     complete because you love them and you have a plan for their 
     lives, just like you do with our lives right now. So my 
     prayer is as we leave today, we are united as one because of 
     you. We love you and thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
       Senator Isakson: Thank you for attending. We look forward 
     to seeing you at the 59th Prayer Breakfast next year.
       Senator Klobuchar: Thank you.