Author Eric Metaxas and President Barack Obama made similar addresses with different emphases during the National Prayer Breakfast's 60th anniversary, both noting a religious motivation to "care for the least of these" and concern of "phony religiosity" while standing on different positions politically.
"Who do we say is not fully human today?" Metaxas said. "Those of us who know the unborn to be human beings are commanded by God to love those who do not yet see that."
During President Clinton's administration, Mother Teresa famously noted abortion at the 1994 prayer breakfast, saying, "Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child." Metaxas noted his views on abortion were personal, emphasizing love for those who do not agree with him.
"Apart from God we cannot see that they are persons as well," Metaxas said. "Love those that do not yet see that." His wife, Susanne Metaxas, directs the Midtown Pregnancy Support Center in Manhattan.
Obama's remarks partly mirrored Metaxas when talking about mutual respect, though the two part ways on the issue of abortion.
"I have to say that sometimes we talk about respect, but we don't act with respect towards each other during the course of these debates," Obama said. Many Christian groups have decried the administration's mandate to provide free contraceptives under the new health care law.
Obama's emphasis on the "least of these" connected economic positions to Christian principles.
"It coincides with Jesus' teaching, 'To whom much is given, much is required,'" Obama said.
Metaxas decried "phony ...