Since 1953 the National Prayer Breakfast has been an annual Washington tradition. Meeting on the first Thursday of February, about 3,500 people from many cultures and faiths gather at the Washington Hilton. Every president has attended the prayer event.
Because Christian principles cannot be separated from cultural and civic responsibility, the keynote speaker must respectfully maneuver (navigate) the sensitive minefield of the ideas, opinions and beliefs of the guests.
Some speakers have chosen to avoid “politically correct” (PC) language. Many times he or she has exercised a unique blend of wisdom and courage to address some of the critical issues of the day.
Such was the case with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 3, 1994. Then, President Bill Clinton sat a few feet from the petite woman. Her bold comments stunned many.
Courageously she called attention to the need for genuine peace in the world. Taking an unexpected turn, she said, “But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
With her characteristic frankness she continued, “By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.
“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
President Clinton’s position on abortion was well known as the typical “pro-choice” mantra popularized by the culture of death. Some in the media cautiously criticized Mother Teresa, as though one should not disagree with the president.
This year’s breakfast was Feb. 7. Dr. Benjamin Carson, a respected Baltimore neurosurgeon was the keynote speaker. He freely challenged the new health care laws – often labeled “Obamacare” – big government and PC language while President Obama sat impassive in a highly visible seat at the head table.
Carson was introduced as a man who “… loves Jesus, he has a compelling life story, and he is a distinguished man of science and healing.” He is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. He spoke at the same event 16 years ago.
The surgeon began with readings from Proverbs 11:9, 12, 25 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
He said his intention was not to offend anyone, but admitted, “It is very difficult to speak to a large group of people these days and not offend someone … the PC police are out in force at all times.”
Carson believes, “PC is dangerous.” He said one of the founding principles of this country is freedom of thought and freedom of expression. “…[PC] puts a muzzle on [these principles] and at the same time keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of this society is being changed. We cannot fall for that trick.”
Recalling his difficult childhood and his mother’s insistence on personal responsibility, the surgeon expressed his strong support for education. He believes we need to focus less on athletics and more on academics. He and his wife established a foundation which has provided 5,000 scholarships in 50 states (www.Carsonscholars.org).
He believes we can fix it. All we need to do is to remember what our real responsibilities are.
“Our deficit is a big problem,” he said. Explaining that a new tax system is needed, he referred to the Bible as giving the perfect model. The “… fairest individual in the universe, God, … has given us a system. It’s called tithe.” He illustrated how the tithe will work in the tax system as a fair and equal standard of taxation.
Saying the health care system is dysfunctional, Carson disagreed with Obamacare. His plan is, “When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed – pretax – from the time you’re born ’til the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members, so that when you’re 85 years old and you got six diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything. You’re happy to pass it on, and there’s nobody talking about death panels.”
The big difference between this man and Obama is their views on the roles government and the private sector play. The prevailing liberal/progressive view today is that government must control everything. Evidence of this fact is found in the unending pages of regulations and guaranteed entitlements cranked out of Washington every year.
Regulations provide the government the means to manipulate the activities and attitudes of the citizenship. They restrict the freedom of individuals to think for themselves. New regulations include restrictions to public expressions of faith.
Carson pointed out, “Ancient Rome destroyed themselves from within through … moral decay, [and] fiscal irresponsibility …”
The president has not been open to learning from others – especially those who hold a high view of scripture. He should listen to Carson’s wise and courageous message.