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February 9th, 2009
11:33 AM ET

World Leaders and Interfaith Cooperation

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/05/obama.faith/art.obamacap2.gi.jpg caption="President Obama announced Thursday that he is changing the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives."]

Eboo Patel
The Washington Post

It was striking to hear the similarities in the speeches that Tony Blair and Barack Obama gave at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. They each told their personal stories of growing up in nonbeliever households and finding their way to faith. They each quoted "Golden Rule" type scriptures from different faiths. They each spoke more of faith-inspired service to the world than the inner life of prayer and the soul. And they talked about interfaith cooperation as an antidote to religious extremism.

As Blair said, "If faith becomes the property of extremists, it will originate discord. But if, by contrast, different faiths can reach out to and have knowledge of one another, then instead of being reactionary, religious faith can be a force for progress."

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Filed under: Eboo Patel • Raw Politics • Religion
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    The Secretary of Social Assistance (in Brazil), Benedita da Silva, also met with President Obama, this breakfast. She and many others.

    I think that Benedita da Silva herself blend better with Senator Tom Daschle.
    I think I did understand, right? (with light blush of shame ...)

    February 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  2. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    I apologize, but I can't see this (so much) religious aspect of Tony Blair.

    A little more, Mr. Blair go out the policy and he will live only to their 'faith'. (Laughing. ..)

    President Obama, please beware!
    In the breakfast, the air was heavy (Tony Blair, Benedita da Silva – Brazil, and others).
    If you had indigestion after breakfast, I know why.

    February 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  3. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    US will receive the bulk of foreign investment by Petrobras (state oil and natural gas in Brazil).

    February 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  4. ed cruz

    In my opinion, Jewish Religion is the best for I know how they helped my co- worker when he first came to USA from Russia.

    February 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  5. Sue

    Okay so the cynic in me wonders if their finding faith despite not having been brainwashed from birth in one, is more for political expediency than real faith... but I am a cynic and a skeptic. As for interfaith discord, maybe if all our faiths were shaken a bit then we would not be so sure that we are right and the other guys are wrong and we know it all and that justifies all kinds of arrogances based on "faith". I am proud to be agnostic for I simply say I don't know and I don't believe any other human being knows... they may be wise, jesus, buddha, mohhammed, abraham, zorasthru etc etc but they were wise in how we should live good lives and that maybe even that we need a faith system to help the masses struggling to stay good but I don't for one minute believe any human being has ever known the mind of God, what God is, if God is... and maybe a little more of that skepticism will stop all the insanity of feeling one has the right to tell the other guy you know it all, you can abuse your power and that they just don't matter as much as you... but I am a cynic and I know that will never happen in my life time.

    February 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm |