President Obama spoke at the Q conference via video this morning, a week after hosting many Christian leaders at the White House's Easter prayer breakfast. He and his family also celebrated Easter at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
In his Q address, Obama referred to the Easter breakfast.
"It was a time to reflect on what Christ did for us on the cross, and praise a God whose work in our midst didn't culminate on the cross, but continues today," Obama said. "That work can be found in our culture, our congregations, our missions, and our love for one another. It can be found in all of you who are doing your part around the world to address our most difficult challenges. God's hand is moving through his people."
Obama specifically mentioned the Passion Conference's efforts to end modern slavery and Portland congregations who are working with local city government to serve community (CT's November cover story focused on Portland's efforts). "In all these efforts, I want you to know that you have a partner in the White House," Obama said. "But we also know that government isn't the only answer. So many of the challenges we face are also problems of the heart, and without committed individuals, thriving families and strong institutions, any attempt to address them will be incomplete."
The Q conference is a gathering of 700 evangelicals in Washington, D.C., today to listen to cultural and political leaders, such as David Brooks of The New York Times and Andy Crouch from Christianity Today, highlight the best ideas.
"The fact of Easter, and the reality of what God is doing in the world requires us to confront the opportunities and challenges of our age," Obama said in his address. "I look forward to continuing to work with you towards restoration and justice."
Despite Obama's continued references to his faith and how it influences his policies, a recent poll shows that an increasing number of Americans sees the Obama administration as unfriendly toward religion.
In 2009, 17 percent said the administration was "unfriendly" toward religion, compared to this year where 23 percent said the same thing, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Most of the increase came from Catholics (15 to 25 percent), who may be reacting to administration rulings on contraception coverage. Most Americans (71 percent) view the Obama administration as friendly or neutral toward religion.
White evangelicals were the religious group that most viewed the White House as hostile to religion, with 44 percent saying the Obama administration was unfriendly toward religion.
Obama spoke of his own faith and support for churches and other Christian organizations at the White House prayer breakfast held last week. Unlike the White House Easter Egg Roll, the breakfast explicitly focuses on the importance of Easter to Christians.
Obama spoke on the importance of remembering the willingness of Jesus to endure suffering and the hope it gives to those struggling with troubles of their own.
"So it is only because Jesus conquered his own anguish, conquered his fear, that we're able to celebrate the resurrection. It's only because he endured unimaginable pain that wracked his body and bore the sins of the world that he burdened—that burdened his soul that we are able to proclaim, 'He is risen!'" Obama said.
Obama also thanked the leaders for their prayers. "It especially means a lot to us when we hear from folks who we know probably didn't vote for me and yet [are] expressing extraordinary sincerity about their prayers," Obama said. "And it's a reminder not only of what binds us together as a nation, but also what binds us together as children of God."