President Barack Obama proved on Thursday that conservatives don’t have a monopoly on using religion to advocate for specific public policies.
Speaking to a group of mostly-conservative politicians at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, the president quoted scripture in a effort to get Republicans to support a fairer tax code and caring for the poor.
“When I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on main street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody,” Obama explained. “But I also do it because I know far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years. And I believe in God’s command to love thy neighbor as thyself.”
“And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe at a time when folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I am willing to give something up as someone who has been extraordinarily blessed, give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy — I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.”
He added: “But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”
“Treating others as you want to be treated, requiring much from those who have been given so much, living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper, caring for the poor and those in need, these values are old and they can be found in many denominations and many faiths and among many believers and among many non-believers. They’re values that have always made this country great when we live up to them, when we just don’t just give lip service to them, and we just don’t talk about them one day a year.”
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Feb. 1, 2012.