by Megan Haymond
Wednesday morning, February 4 at the 62nd National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama praised the freedom of religion and spoke out against countries such as China and North Korea. Obama stated that religious freedom is a pillar of security and success. This global push for peace was largely motivated by American missionaries held captive in foreign nations. Iran has held a Christian missionary captive for eighteen months. North Korea has also held another United States missionary captive for fifteen months. This demonstration of support and urgency for the return of U.S. citizens was much needed as many Americans have become outraged at the lack of support from the U.S. Government.
The National Prayer Breakfast is held on the first Thursday of February yearly in Washington, D.C. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to attend the National Prayer Breakfast and every president since has attended. The breakfast encourages people to come together and pray for the nation and its leaders. This breakfast is an icon of American freedom to religion and a way to keep in touch with the traditional Christian heritage of our forefathers. However, the guests vary in religious ideologies. The focus of the morning is on prayer and faith, not a specific faith. Abraham Vereide, founder of Goodwill Ind., was the founder of the first National Prayer Breakfast in 1953. Each year the president and a keynote speaker address the breakfast. This year Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, spoke.
The theme of the breakfast was unity, whether with relations between the legislative branches or abroad. Republican Gohmert and Democrat Hahn co-chaired the breakfast showing support for each other and peace between parties, indicating hope that a peaceful prayer time everyone shared will carry over into Congress.