President Barack Obama veered in and quickly out of a national debate over religious freedom legislation, calling out Christians as "less than loving" at an annual Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday in Washington, Mediaite reported.
"On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love," Obama told the group, gathered at the Washington Hilton hotel, turning from his scripted speech.
"And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned," he said as the murmur in the crowd turned audible, Mediate said.
"But that’s a topic for another day… I was about to veer off. I’m pulling it back," the president quickly added.
He then pivoted to his prepared remarks,
which carried the flavor of civil rights speeches of the past.
"Where there is injustice we defend the oppressed," Obama said. "Where there is disagreement, we treat each other with compassion and respect. Where there are differences, we find strength in our common humanity, knowing that we are all children of God."
Fox News noted that the president did not mention recent attacks in Kenya where Christian university students were slaughtered, Mediaite reports.
According to CNN,
147 died and dozens were injured at the hands of Islamist gunmen on April 2.
The president's oddly timed remarks will likely fuel the flames of his critics on the right who question why he has failed to denounce Muslim extremist violence directed at Christians worldwide.
ABC News described
his jibe as a "mild poke."
The Daily Caller,
however, described them as words that "malign Christians."
Talking Points Memo noted
it was not the first time that the president offered eye-raising remarks at a prayer service. It noted that: "Obama faced a barrage of criticism from the right earlier this year for his comments about Christianity at the National Prayer Breakfast. Critics berated him for stating that Christians shouldn't get on their 'high horse' about religious barbarism, given the Crusades and Christian backing for slavery and Jim Crow laws."
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