March 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

In a sharp break with his predecessor, President Joe Biden called for unity and healing during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 4.

The event is privately sponsored by the Fellowship Foundation (aka The Family), a Christian nationalist organization, but presidents and other public officials routinely attend. Due to the pandemic, the event this year was virtual and consisted of pre-recorded videos.

During his time in office, President Donald Trump used the breakfast to unveil policy proposals sought by his Christian nationalist allies and to attack his political opponents. Biden took a much different tone, stressing in brief remarks the same themes of unity he has highlighted since his election.

“For me, in the darkest moments, faith provides hope and solace – provides clarity and purpose as well,” Biden said. “It shows the way forward as one nation in a common purpose. To respect one another, to care for one another, to leave no one behind.”

In light of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was backed by many Christian nationalists, Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United, called for Biden to look for other ways to take part in spirituality.

“We would love to work with the administration to figure out a way to change the sponsorship of an event like this and to make it a place for Americans of all different religious beliefs,” Laser told The Associated Press. She has also called on Biden to use more inclusive language in his public remarks and remember that not all Americans are religious.