President Obama remarked this morning during the annual National Prayer Breakfast.
Said Obama: "For almost 60 years, going back to President Eisenhower, this gathering has been attended by our President. It’s a tradition that I'm proud to uphold not only as a fellow believer but as an elected leader whose entry into public service was actually through the church. This may come as a surprise, for as some of you know, I did not come from a particularly religious family. My father, who I barely knew -- I only met once for a month in my entire life -- was said to be a non-believer throughout his life."
In an honest moment with the attendees, President Obama shared his almost non-religious upbringing.
"My mother, whose parents were Baptist and Methodist, grew up with a certain skepticism about organized religion, and she usually only took me to church on Easter and Christmas -- sometimes. And yet my mother was also one of the most spiritual people that I ever knew. She was somebody who was instinctively guided by the Golden Rule and who nagged me constantly about the homespun values of her Kansas upbringing, values like honesty and hard work and kindness and fair play."
Wikipedia reports that the yearly event, held in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February each year includes a series of meetings, luncheons, and dinner. It has taken place since 1953 and has been held at least since the 1980s at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue N.W.
The founder of this event was Abraham Vereide.
The breakfast, held in the Hilton's International Ballroom, is attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries and 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.
President Obama begin his remarks by recognizing Mark Kelly, husband of Gabrielle Giffords.
"I want to begin by just saying a word to Mark Kelly, who’s here. We have been praying for Mark’s wife, Gabby Giffords, for many days now. But I want Gabby and Mark and their entire family to know that we are with them for the long haul, and God is with them for the long haul."
The breakfast could not have come at a better moment just as senseless shootings, continued unemployment, and homelessness are on the rise here in the U.S., and tensions and protests in Egypt continue to mount surrounding its president Hosni Mubarak, whom residents want resigned.