Obama Links Economic Policies to Jesus' Teachings

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama mixed faith and politics at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, telling a diverse audience of more than 3,000 that his policies are guided by his Christian faith.

The event has been a Washington institution for more than 60 years and provides a rare opportunity for lawmakers on opposite ends of the political spectrum to unite on one stage.

For the third time, Obama addressed the crowd and discussed the importance of prayer.

"These moments of prayer slow us down. They humble us," Obama said.

He revealed some of his own spiritual habits, which include morning prayer, a devotion and daily scriptures from pastors like Joel Hunter and T.D. Jakes.

Obama also suggested that his politics of "shared responsibility" and higher taxes for the rich are shaped by the teachings of Jesus.

"For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,'" Obama said.

"It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who've been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others."

The National Prayer Breakfast is an event that examines the life of Jesus as a model for servant leadership.

"We don't need a constitutional amendment or some big congressional reform. We just need to start acting better. And, Jesus, gives us the place to start," Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said.

Highlighting a current issue in the "cultural war," keynote speaker Eric Metaxas reminded the audience how Christian leaders like William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer fought to end slavery and to stop the Holocaust.

He likened their efforts to the modern-day fight for the unborn.

"Apart from God we cannot see that they are persons as well. So those of us who know the unborn to be human beings are commanded by God to love those who do not yet see that," Metaxas explained.

He also encouraged the audience to love and pray for everyone, especially those with whom they disagree.

That, Metaxas added, is the key between living faith and mere religion.

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