WASHINGTON (AP) — Delivering his last annual sermon to Washington’s elite, President Barack Obama on Thursday warned of the corrosive impact of fear in public life and urged a bipartisan group of powerbrokers to abide by their faith “even when no one is watching.”
“Fear does funny things. Fear can lead us to lash out against those who are different. Or lead us to try to get some sinister other under control,” Obama said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. “Faith is the great cure for fear. Jesus is a good cure for fear.”
Obama spoke a day after making his first visit as president to an American mosque – a trip he said he made to tell Muslims “they, too, are Americans and are welcome here.”
His remarks come amid of a campaign-season debate over curbing immigration, preventing terrorism and whether the U.S. will continue to open its doors to people of all faiths. Some Republican candidates and lawmakers want to stem the flow of refugees from Syria or block all Muslims from entering the U.S. in an effort to deter Islamic extremists. Obama says such proposals would violate American values.