Merry Christmas 2013

12/24/2013

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Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

Weekly Address
The White House
December 25, 2013

THE PRESIDENTHello everybody, and happy holidays.

THE FIRST LADY: We know how busy this time of year is for everyone, so we’re not going to take much of your time.

But we did want to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.

THE PRESIDENT:  This is a season for millions of Americans to be together with family, to continue long-held holiday traditions, and to show our gratitude to those we love.  And along the way, some of us might even watch a little basketball or eat some Christmas cookies, too.

THE FIRST LADY: Here at the White House, over the past few weeks, we’ve had about 70,000 people from all across the country come visit us and look at our holiday decorations.

This year’s theme was “Gather Around: Stories of the Season.”

And in every room of the house, we tried to tell a story about who we are as Americans and how we celebrate the holidays together.

And we made certain to highlight some of the most powerful stories we know – the stories of our outstanding troops, veterans, and military families and their service and sacrifice for our country.

THE PRESIDENT:  Our extraordinary men and women in uniform are serving so that the rest of us can enjoy the blessings we cherish during the holidays.  But that means many of our troops are far from home and far from family.  They’re spending some extra time on the phone with their loved ones back home. Or they’re setting up video chats so they can watch as the presents are opened.  So today, we want all of our troops to know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers this holiday season.

And here’s the good news: For many of our troops and newest veterans, this might be the first time in years that they’ve been with their families on Christmas.  In fact, with the Iraq war over and the transition in Afghanistan, fewer of our men and women in uniform are deployed in harm’s way than at any time in the last decade.

THE FIRST LADY: And that’s something we all can be thankful for.

And with more and more of our troops back here at home, now it’s our turn to serve – it’s our turn to step up and show our gratitude for the military families who have given us so much.

And that’s why Jill Biden and I started our Joining Forces initiative – to rally all Americans to support our military families in ways large and small.

And again and again, we have been overwhelmed by the response we’ve gotten as folks from across the country have found new ways to give back to these families through their schools, businesses, and houses of worship.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s the same spirit of giving that connects all of us during the holidays.  So many people all across the country are helping out at soup kitchens, buying gifts for children in need, or organizing food or clothing drives for their neighbors.  For families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what He taught us – to love our neighbors as we would ourselves; to feed the hungry and look after the sick; to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper.  And for all of us as Americans, regardless of our faith, those are values that can drive us to be better parents and friends, better neighbors and better citizens.

THE FIRST LADY: So as we look to the New Year, let’s pledge ourselves to living out those values by reaching out and lifting up those in our communities who could use a hand up.

THE PRESIDENT:  So Merry Christmas, everyone.  And from the two of us, as well as Malia, Sasha, Grandma, Bo…

THE FIRST LADY: And Sunny, the newest Obama.

THE PRESIDENT:  We wish you all a blessed and safe holiday season.

THE FIRST LADY: Happy holidays everybody, and God bless.

http://youtu.be/b3Dz2yCLQ-c

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Norad Santa Tracker

~ * ~ NORAD Tracking Santa ~ * ~

NORAD uses radar, satellites, Santa cams, and fighter jets to track Santa Claus.
Track Santa’s location: http://www.noradsanta.org

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Sorry but ProPresObama thread comments &
WH daily schedule not available 12/1/13 – 1/5/14
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The Spirit of This Country

04/17/2013

Ray of HOPE

“I want to take a moment to say that our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Boston. My husband continues to monitor the situation, and he has directed the full resources of the federal government to assist state and local authorities as they investigate this horrific act.

And what happened on Monday was a reminder that in times of crisis, here in America we respond with courage, and grit, and selflessness. That’s exactly what we saw from the people of Boston, and from all those who rushed to aid the victims, especially the police officers and firefighters, the first responders, and our men and women in uniform.

And that is the spirit of Boston, but it is also the spirit of this country. And in many ways, that’s the spirit of service and sacrifice that we are here to honor today.”

First Lady Michelle Obama 4/17/13

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Thursday, April 11 @ 11:00 AM ET
President Obama attends and delivers remarks at “Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service” dedicated to those who were wounded or killed in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.
First Lady Michelle Obama also attends
Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA

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Healing Our City
An Interfaith Service
April 18, 2013
Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA

Order of Service
10:30 AM ET
Music: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”
Welcome & Opening Prayer: Reverend Liz Walker,
Roxbury Presbyterian Church
Metropolitan Methodios
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, Brookline
Prayer & Reflection:
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino
Music: “My Life Flows on in Endless Song”
Reverend Nancy S. Taylor,
Senior Minister & CEO, Old South Church, Boston
Reading from Psalm 147:3
Rabbi Ronne Friedman,
Senior Rabbi Temple Israel, Boston
Nasser S. Wedaddy,
Chair of the New England Interfaith Council
Civil Rights Outreach Director, American Islamic Congress
Reverend Roberto Miranda,
Senior Pastor, Congregación León de Judá, Roxbury
Music: Boston Children’s Chorus, “Up to the Mountain”
Gospel Reading from Matthew 5:1-12
Bishop John M. Borders III,
Senior Pastor, Morning Star Baptist Church, Mattapan
Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.
Musical selection performed by Yo-Yo Ma
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick
President Barack H. Obama
Closing Blessing: Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.
Music: “America the Beautiful”

Streamed Live: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

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Weekly Address: America Stands with the City of Boston

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House

April 20, 2013

On Monday, an act of terror wounded dozens and killed three innocent people at the Boston Marathon.

But in the days since, the world has witnessed one sure and steadfast truth: Americans refuse to be terrorized.

Ultimately, that’s what we’ll remember from this week. That’s what will remain. Stories of heroism and kindness; resolve and resilience; generosity and love.

The brave first responders – police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and National Guard – who ran toward danger to help their fellow citizens.

The race volunteers, spectators, and exhausted runners who rushed to help, including troops and veterans who never expected to see such scenes on the streets of America.

The determined doctors and nurses at some of the world’s best hospitals, who have toiled day and night to save so many lives.

The big-hearted people of Boston – residents, priests, shopkeepers – who carried victims in their arms; delivered water and blankets; lined up to give blood; opened their homes to total strangers.

And the heroic federal agents and police officers who worked together throughout the week, often at great risk to themselves, to keep our communities safe. As a country, we are eternally grateful for the profound sacrifices they make in the line of duty – sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice to defend the people they’ve sworn to protect.

If anyone wants to know who we are; what America is; how we respond to evil and terror – that’s it. Selflessly. Compassionately. And unafraid.

Through days that would test even the sturdiest of souls, Boston’s spirit remains undaunted. America’s spirit remains undimmed. Our faith in each other, our love for this country, our common creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences we may have – that’s what makes us strong. That’s why we endure.

In the days to come, we will remain vigilant as a nation. And I have no doubt the city of Boston and its surrounding communities will continue to respond in the same proud and heroic way that they have thus far – and their fellow Americans will be right there with them every step of the way. May God bless the people of Boston and the United States of America.

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April 22, 2013 2:50 PM ET
Boston observes moment of silence Bells across Boston rung as the city pauses to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

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Happy Holidays & Thank You to Our Troops

12/22/2012
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December 22, 2012

Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their Service

WASHINGTON, DC—In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thanked our brave troops and their families for their service.  The President and First Lady asked the American people to visit JoiningForces.gov to find ways to honor and support our veterans and military families, and said that we must all come together, as we always do, to care for eachother during this holiday season.

Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 22, 2012

THE PRESIDENT:  Hi everybody.  This weekend, as you gather with family and friends, Michelle and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays.

THE FIRST LADY:  We both love this time of year.  And there’s nothing quite like celebrating the holidays at the White House.  It’s an incredible experience and one that we try to share with as many folks as possible.

This month, more than 90,000 people have come through the White House to see the holiday decorations.  And our theme for this year’s holiday season was “Joy to All” – a reminder to appreciate the many joys of the holidays: the joy of giving…the joy of service…and, of course, the joy of homecomings. 

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  This weekend, parents are picking up their kids from college – and making room for all that laundry they bring with them.  Children are counting down the hours until the grandparents arrive.  And uncles, aunts and cousins are all making their way to join the family and share in the holiday spirit.

THE FIRST LADY:  That’s what makes this season so special – getting to spend time with the people we love most.

THE PRESIDENT:  And this year, that’s especially true for some of our military families.  You see, the war in Iraq is over.  The transition in Afghanistan is underway.  After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home.  And all across America, military families are reuniting.

So this week let’s give thanks for our veterans and their families.  And let’s say a prayer for all our troops – especially those in Afghanistan – who are spending this holiday overseas, risking their lives to defend the freedoms we hold dear.

THE FIRST LADY:  And remember, when our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve right along with them.  Across this country, military spouses have been raising their families all alone during those long deployments.  And let’s not forget about our military kids, moving from base to base – and school to school – every few years, and stepping up to help out at home when mom or dad is away.

Our military families sacrifice so much on our behalf, and Barack and I believe that we should serve them as well as they serve this country.  That’s why Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces – an effort to rally all Americans to honor and support our veterans and military families.  Just go to joiningforces.gov to find out how you can show your gratitude for their service.

THE PRESIDENT:  Because that’s what this season is all about.  For my family and millions of Americans, it’s a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. To reflect on His life and learn from His example.  Every year, we commit to love one another.  To give of ourselves.  To be our brother’s keeper.  To be our sister’s keeper.  But those ideas are not just part of our faith.  They’re part of all faiths.  And they unite us as Americans.

THE FIRST LADY:  In this country, we take care of each other.  And in this season of giving, it’s inspiring to see so many people all across America taking the time to help those most in need.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s part of what makes us such a compassionate nation.  And this year, I know many of you are extending that kindness to the families who are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy and your prayers to the people of Newtown, Connecticut.

THE FIRST LADY:  So thank you for all that you’ve done this year on behalf of your fellow Americans.

THE PRESIDENTAnd on behalf of my favorite Americans – Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Bo – Merry Christmas, everybody.

THE FIRST LADY:  Happy holidays.

Thank the Troops

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Moment of Silence for Newtown

12/20/2012

Candle light

Our hearts are broken today. We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived.”

12/15/12 President Obama

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December 21, 2012 - 9:30 AM ET

Please join President Obama and the nation in observing a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.

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Please join me in lighting a candle for our Nation

http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

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Resources for Parents and Schools After Connecticut Tragedy

December 17, 2012 05:07 PM EST Megan Slack – whitehouse.gov

Following Friday’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, the Department of Education has provided a number of resources to help parents in the wake of traumatic events, as well as a host of resources to help schools prepare for and recover from crisis.

Below is a list of resources specifically designed for parents and guardians to provide guidance on talking to children after a traumatic event:

* Tips for Adults on How to Talk with Children About Connecticut School Shooting [PDF]

*Helping Young Children and Families Cope with Trauma [PDF]

      * Spanish -

Ayudando a Niños(as) y Familias a Enfrentarse con el Trauma

    [PDF]

* Childhood Traumatic Grief Educational Materials for Parents[PDF]

*Tips for talking to children and youth after traumatic events: A guide for parents and educators [PDF]

*Parent Tips for Helping Infants and Toddlers after Disasters[ PDF]

*Parent Tips for Helping Preschool-Age Children after Disasters [PDF]

*Parent Tips for Helping School-Age Children after Disasters [PDF]

*Parent Tips for Helping Adolescents after Disasters [PDF]

Click here for more information and to see documents in additional languages.

In message to schools around the country, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan shared some resources from the U.S. Department of Education’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center.

*Helping Youth and Children Recover from Traumatic Events

*Creating and Updating School Emergency Management Plans

Mr. Rogers quote

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Dealing With Holiday Stress

12/15/2012

Holiday Stress

Tips On Dealing With Holiday Stress

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Get Through the Holiday Blues

The holidays aren’t joyous for everyone. This time of year can bring stress and feelings of loneliness. Exercise, focusing on positive relationships, and doing things that you find rewarding can help with depression. Get tips on what to do if you feel depressed. Keep in mind that winter depression could be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is caused by the lack of sunlight. Treatment for SAD is much like other forms of depression, but may also involve light therapy.

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Grief and Mourning

Overviews
* Diagnosis/Symptoms
Children
* Teenagers
Seniors

Learning to Live Through Loss: Grief and the Mourning Process

Grief, Bereavement, and Coping with Loss (PDQ)

How to Deal with Grief

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Find Seasonal Employment
Even in a tough economy, businesses need extra help around the holidays. Seasonal employment can help supplement your income and potentially lead to a permanent position. If you need to update your resume, check out resume and interview tips to help you stand out in the job market. Get online tools and resources to help with your job search.

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Celebrate on a Budget
The holidays can be expensive, but you don’t have to break the bank to celebrate. Take a few minutes to decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts, travel, parties, decorations, and other holiday expenses. Once you’ve created a spending plan, keep track of your purchases.

Shopping online can help you stick to a budget as you’ll avoid the temptation of store displays and may be able to use coupons and promotion codes. Before you buy, look for free shipping offers; check ordering deadlines to ensure that your gifts will arrive on time; and read the return policy.

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Buy Safe Toys
If you plan to buy toys for the kids in your life, choose age-appropriate toys and look for labels with safety advice. For young children, avoid toys with small parts, sharp edges, and electric toys that can heat up. Always purchase safety gear in addition to sports-related gifts or ride-on toys, such as bicycles or skateboards. Get additional toy safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (PDF).

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Pay Attention to Food Portions and Physical Activity
The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends, but celebrations sometimes involve over-indulging in sweet treats and heavy foods. Even if you only gain one or two pounds during the holidays, these gains can add up over the years. The holidays are probably not the ideal time to try to lose weight, but you can take steps to maintain your weight.

Read 10 tips on how to enjoy your food, but eat less of it (PDF) and learn how to make exercise and physical activity a regular part of your day.

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Keep Food Safe
Holiday buffets are convenient ways to entertain a crowd, but leaving food out for long periods of time can invite bacteria that cause foodborne illness. To keep your holiday foods safe, cook them thoroughly; use shallow containers; never leave them sitting out for more than two hours; and keep them at the appropriate temperature. Get more food safety tips to help keep your guests healthy.

For additional information on safely preparing a variety of meats and side dishes, order a FREE print kit of Top Food Safety Tips.

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Reduce Holiday Waste
The holiday season includes many opportunities to reduce waste, recycle, and reuse items. Did you know that about 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season? Consider buying rechargeable batteries (and a charger) for electronic gifts to help reduce the amount of harmful materials thrown away. After the holidays, look for ways to recycle your tree instead of sending it to a landfill. If you plan to send greeting cards, consider purchasing ones that are made of recycled paper or sending electronic greetings.

Get more ideas on how to reduce waste, save money, and help the environment.

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Pack for Hassle-Free Air Travel
You can get through the airport security line faster by traveling with unwrapped gifts and following the “3-1-1 rule” when carrying on liquids. You may have favorite liquid food items (like cranberry sauce or special dips) that you want to share during the holidays, but it’s best to put such items in your checked bag or ship them ahead of time. If you need last-minute information about what you can and can’t bring through security, use the My TSA app or mobile website. Get more helpful hints for holiday travelers.

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Give the Gift of Service
Sometimes the greatest gift you can give to others is service. Studies show that reading to a child just three hours a week significantly improves his or her reading skills. If you help out at a local soup kitchen or food bank, you are directly providing meals to hungry individuals.

Find volunteer opportunities in your area, or create your own and recruit others.

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Religious Tolerance

08/09/2012

US Bill of Rights - Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Source: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

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“I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation. And as somebody who relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand the passions that religious faith can raise. But I’m also respectful that people of different faiths can practice their religion, even if they don’t subscribe to the exact same notions that I do, and that they are still good people, and they are my neighbors and they are my friends, and they are fighting alongside us in our battles.”

September 10, 2010 President Obama

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8/10/12  10:00 AM ET Sikh Temple of Wisconsin wake and memorial service

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Support Wisconsin Shooting Victims - Attend a Support Event

8/6/12 - 8/26/12 http://www.kaurista.com/events/

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“I was in Aurora to meet those who lost loved ones during that terrible shooting. And I just had a chance to see some of the first responders who helped to save lives and comfort families during that terrible, terrible day.  Unfortunately, since that time, we’ve had another tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where six members of our community were killed as they entered into a house of worship.

And so I think we can all acknowledge, we’ve got to put an end to this kind of senseless violence  — whether it’s in Aurora, whether it’s in Oak Creek, whether it’s in Tucson, whether it’s in cities all across America where too many lives are cut short because of senseless violence. This is going to have to stop. And as an American family — as one American family — we’re going to have to come together and look at all the approaches that we can take to try to bring an end to it.

And I want you to all know that the thoughts and prayers of the entire nation remain with those in Aurora. And even though the perpetrators of these acts have received a lot of attention, attention on them will fade and what will be replaced are the stories of heroism and hope that we’ve seen here in Colorado, and in Wisconsin, and across the nation. That’s what we’ll remember. That’s what’s going to matter.  That’s what we will value — the strength and the resilience and the care and the love of the American people.”

August 08, 2012 President Obama

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August 08, 2012

Readout of the President’s Call with the Prime Minister of India
President Obama spoke with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh this morning to express condolences for victims of the senseless attack at the gurdwara in Wisconsin, which took the lives of Indian nationals as well as Americans, and to convey the solidarity of the American people. President Obama reiterated that the Sikh community is an essential and vibrant part of the American family. The President also underscored that the incident is particularly tragic because it took place in a house of worship. Prime Minister Singh expressed his gratitude for the many messages and gestures of support from the United States, and for the prompt reaction and heroism of the local police department. The two leaders re-affirmed their nations’ commitment to the shared values of pluralism, religious freedom, and freedom of worship.

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Presidential Proclamation–Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin


National Freedom Day & National Prayer Breakfast

01/31/2012

President Harry Truman signs the bill proclaiming February 1 as National Freedom Day – June 30, 1948

National Freedom Day

National Freedom Day is a United States observance on February 1 honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865, although it was not ratified by the states until later.

Major Richard Robert Wright Sr., a former slave, believed that there should be a day when freedom for all Americans is celebrated. While living in Philadelphia towards the end of his life, he invited local and national leaders to meet to organize a movement for a national holiday to commemorate Lincoln’s signing of the 13th Amendment. The resulting National Freedom Association proposed having a memorial date to call attention to the continuing struggle for freedom for African-Americans. Since President Lincoln had signed the 13th Amendment on the first day of February, that date was chosen to celebrate National Freedom Day. The first commemoration took place on February 1, 1942, at Independence Hall. As it has every year since, the remembrance included laying a wreath at the Liberty Bell.

On June 30, 1948, President Harry Truman, a Democrat,  signed a bill proclaiming February 1 as National Freedom Day. It is not a federal holiday; government offices and banks are open for business.

For the entire article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Freedom_Day

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The 60th National Prayer Breakfast
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Hilton Washington International Ballroom in Washington D.C

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The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as “The Family”. Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.

This interfaith gathering features speakers focused on affirming commonly held religious values and putting aside political differences. National and world leaders have read from the Bible, the Torah, and quoted the Koran.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Prayer_Breakfasthttp://www.waleadership.com/national-prayer-breakfast


Prayer

09/11/2010

President Barack Obama prays with Christian leaders in the Blue Room of the White House, prior to the Easter Prayer Breakfast, April 6, 2010

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Better Business Bureau Religious Charities http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/religious/

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Faith

07/23/2010

Keeping the Promise of Religious Freedom

By Diana L. Eck

Two of the bedrock principles of the United States are religious liberty and the separation of church and state. At the time the Republic was founded more than two centuries ago, the overwhelming majority of Americans were Christians. Since that time, however, as the author of this article documents in her book, A New Religious America, the United States has become the world’s most religiously diverse society, especially during the last several decades.

Diana L. Eck is professor of comparative religion and Indian studies on the faculty of arts and sciences and a member of the faculty of divinity at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The huge white dome of a mosque with its minarets rises from the cornfields just outside Toledo, Ohio. You can see it as you drive by on the interstate highway. A great Hindu temple with elephants carved in relief at the doorway stands on a hillside in the western suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee. A Cambodian Buddhist temple and monastery with a hint of a Southeast Asian roofline is set in the farmlands south of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The religious landscape of America has changed radically in the past 40 years, a change gradual and colossal at the same time. It began with the “new immigration,” spurred by the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, as people from all over the world came to the United States and became citizens. With them have come the religious traditions of the world – Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Zoroastrian, African, and Afro-Caribbean. The people of these faiths have moved into American neighborhoods, tentatively at first, their altars and prayer rooms in storefronts and office buildings, and basements and garages, nearly invisible to the rest of us. But since the 1990s, their presence has become evident. Not all Americans have seen the Toledo mosque or the Nashville temple, but they will see places like them in their own communities. They are the architectural signs of a new religious structure in the United States.

Read more: http://www.america.gov/st/diversity-english/2008/August/20080819113100cmretrop0.3268701.html#ixzz0tLAIgRYQ
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