This morning, President Obama hosted his second annual Easter prayer breakfast, welcoming more than 100 attendees from various Christian congregations. Two of the event’s chosen speakers were religious leaders who take very public anti-LGBT positions.
Opening the breakfast, Obama spoke of the “magnificent grace” of how Jesus took on the sins of the world, a grace that he said calls him to reflect, pray, and ask God for forgiveness for his transgressions. He then offered the podium to two evangelical leaders who preach that homosexuality is among the sins for which individuals should seek repentance:
- BISHOP T. D. JAKES: Head of the Potter’s House black megachurch in Dallas that has more than 30,000 members, he has said he would not hire a gay person, calling homosexuality “brokenness.” Jakes also apparently showed his son “correction” and “restorative grace” after he was arrested for soliciting gay sex in a public park in 2009.
- PASTOR TIM KELLER: Founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Keller has insisted his church “allows for political diversity,” but he also takes the traditional Christian point of view that homosexuality is a sin. In a 2009 profile, he admitted “you can’t teach what we teach—that you must be born again through belief in Jesus Christ—without saying most of the world is wrong.”
One of the other speakers was Rev. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of Disciples of Christ Christian Church, who previously delivered the sermon at the President’s inaugural national prayer service. Unlike the other anti-gay pastors featured at the breakfast, she has actually spoken out against anti-gay bullying.