National Prayer Breakfasts, political correctness, and spirituality

National Prayer Breakfasts, political correctness, and spirituality

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SAN JOSE, February 10, 2014 – Last Thursday, February 6th, was the anniversary of the National Prayer Breakfast which was not so prayerful according to an article by Leslie Larson in the New York Daily News.

Actually, last Thursday was the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast, and Larson attempted to make a point of how “spiritual” President and Mrs. Obama were this year among the Prayer Breakfast held for “thousands from the Washington elite.” Larson’s case for the Obamas showing their spiritual side was a little thin.

The real irony in the article is that Larson ever-so-subtly reminded readers of how this year’s National Prayer Breakfast “hit a decidedly more spiritual tone than the highly politicized spirit at the 2013 occasion.”

The reference was made to last year’s event in which Dr. Benjamin Carson, the retired Johns Hopkins’ neurosurgeon, spoke out strongly against the dangers of “political correctness” when he said that, “PC is dangerous because it puts a muzzle on people from discussing important issues while the fabric of this nation is being changed.”

Carson’s challenge took courage at the time, as he stood just a few feet away from where President Obama, a major guru of political correctness, was seated.

Needless to say, the comments were not appreciated by the Commander –in-Chief. In truth however, Carson actually had less to be concerned about how political correctness is able to muzzle people, and had more to be concerned about when the IRS came knocking on his door. Apparently, much later, The Washington Times reported that Carson admitted that “I had the first encounter with the IRS shortly after the speech.”

The IRS move may have been a bit obvious, but the IRS scandal swirling around the Obama Administration for quite a while causes one to wonder if being politically correct as Dr. Carson has warned does indeed cause so many Americans to hesitate before saying anything or speaking out against any subject that might bring some form of personal retribution, or even worse: a potentially destructive law suit. Amazingly, since the National Prayer Breakfast last year, Dr. Carson has become a highly sought after public speaker, and a potential candidate for President of the United States.

Larson’s New York Daily News article seemed to disparage how political the doctor’s tone was during the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast , and zoned in on “highlights” of President Obama’s message which made him seem more “spiritual.” One point touched upon was when the president called attention to those who are currently “enduring religious persecution worldwide.” Larson noted that Obama “praised America’s commitment to freedom of worship,” and quoted him as stating that “religion strengthens America.”

It appears that Larson equates words in a speech referring to religion as or freedom of worship as a semblance of spirituality, which may be acceptable to those who observe spirituality from a distance, or who view it through secular lenses. Whether or not the President and Mrs. Obama are spiritual people, is not established by the article. It was a difficult task to begin with considering the subject of study.

When an intelligent person looks at the bigger picture regarding freedom of religion, or freedom worship, this issue is closely tied to freedom of speech and freedom of the press – freedoms bound together by the Bill of Rights as part of the Constitution of the United States. The Obama Administration may have a ways to go before the words in the president’s speeches are not undermined by what the Administration actually does in practice. In essence, for Obama’s words to be more than mere words, to be words that ring true, they need to be aligned with actual deeds.

To genuinely spiritual, or religious people, when one speaks of the value of religious freedom, a person who believes what he/she says, will match word with deed. The fact of the matter is that President Obama’s words indicate one thing, but his actions are discordant and exhibit a different set of objectives. Especially, if one considers the recently enacted Obamacare healthcare legislation as a case in point because due to the Administration mandates, religious-based employers are required to provide compensation for contraception, and that undermines religious faith and religious principles of good conscience.

For those who pay attention to history, Senator Obama demonstrated his very spiritual side when as a Senator in Illinois, he voted against Illinois state legislation that would have provided newborn babies their rights as citizens, as opposed to being treated as medical waste by doctors intent on getting rid of unwanted human life. To be sure, Obama is more political than spiritual and it is hard to make the case for his spirituality whatever the venue.

While it is easy for someone – anyone – to sling words and phrases around as they tell others what they should or should not do, it is truly difficult to live the spiritual way of life. People tell each other what to do all the time – it does not make them a genuine advocate of their admonitions to others. How people actually live their lives speaks more loudly than their word. Of course someone once said that long, long ago. Does America need a refresher course on that?

One true test of a sincerely spiritual person is the depth of faith within their heart as it shows up in their daily lives. President Obama’s words obviously do not ring true. Even people involved in sports, who do not easily appear to exhibit their spirituality, they know that the great players are the ones who not only talk the talk, but they also walk the walk. However to some, if the President appears spiritual, there should be no problems associated with those who are forced by the government to sacrifice their beliefs for the sake of those who could care less about religious beliefs or convictions of conscience.

Maybe it is time for people to re-evaluate the whole concept of political correctness as Dr. Carson challenged last year. Maybe it is time for truly spiritual people to show their true colors and speak up. Maybe it is time America looks deeper than mere words to judge the people that are elected to positions of leadership and authority, especially for those elected to the highest offices.

Maybe it is time for people like Dr. Carson to move out of their comfort zones and speak up for the values upon which the nation was founded.

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