April 19th, 2011
10:18 AM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama held a prayer breakfast this morning at the White House, where he spoke about faith this Easter week. 130 clergy and faith leaders from a wide range of Christian backgrounds including Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox clergy attended the breakfast.
"I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason – because as busy as we are, as many tasks that pile up, during this season we are reminded that there is something about the resurrection, something about the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective," he said.
The president spoke for just five minutes, and did not bring up the debt or the deficit – a subject he will address later this morning at a town hall meeting in Virginia.
Rather, the focus was solely on Holy Week, and his belief in Jesus.
"His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross. And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world - past, present and future - and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection," he said.
"That’s why we have this breakfast," he continued. "Because in the middle of critical national debates, in the middle of our busy lives, we must always make sure that we are keeping things in perspective. Children help do that. A strong spouse helps do that. But nothing beats scripture and the reminder of the eternal."
Obama has had to convince some that he is, in fact, a Christian since his 2008 bid for the presidency, and has repeatedly and publicly affirmed his faith. But a survey by the Pew Forum just last year found nearly one in five Americans believe the president is a Muslim while just 34% correctly identified him as a Christian.
The breakfast is the second annual at the White House, and a tradition Obama said would like to endure like the annual Easter Egg Roll.