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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF dismayed that Biden attended prayer breakfast

While the Freedom From Religion Foundation is pleased that progress is being made as more members of Congress abandon the National Prayer Breakfast, the state/church watchdog is disappointed that President Biden participated in the event on Feb. 3.

FFRF had called on the president and members of Congress to boycott the event, warning that the Christian nationalist organizers are exploiting their presence to further anti-democratic and anti-LGBTQ aims. Sen. Tim Kaine and several other past regulars did not attend this year’s gathering.

“We are disturbed that President Biden nevertheless chose to address an event that has become a hotspot for Christian nationalists and theocrats, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and influence-peddling,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

The annual shindig, which is privately hosted but sounds as if it is an official governmental function, has been mired in scandal after scandal, including the FBI’s arrest of a Russian agent with ties to Vladimir Putin. The National Prayer Breakfast zealously promotes right-wing ideas — far from the bipartisan event that it pretends to be.

Thanks to extensive reporting from Jonathan Larsen of TYT Investigates, we are seeing more information about how destructive the National Prayer Breakfast and its supporting organization, the Fellowship Foundation, are. 

The National Prayer Breakfast is a pay-to-play event with a troubling history:

• Mike Lindell of My Pillow infamy credits his rise and relationship with Donald Trump to being “picked out of 12 people to pray with Ben Carson in a room [at] the National Prayer Breakfast.”

• The FBI caught Maria Butina, an unregistered foreign agent with ties to Vladimir Putin, using the event to illegally “back channel” with American officials who attended. Butina pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2018.

• New records reveal that Rev. Franklin Graham is the primary financial backer of the event, which he admitted is meant to buy access: “They’re wanting to be able to rub elbows with somebody that they normally couldn’t rub elbows with.” Graham justified this by pointing to “the gays, they do everything they can to get their politicians into office.”

• Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is baked into the event and its organizers. Recent stories have documented how the foreign officials who join the event are often less-than-official and virulently anti-LGBTQ. European LGBTQ groups like Forbidden Colours are objecting to this international influence.

• President Trump used the event in 2019 to promote discriminatory adoption practices, “My administration is working to insure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs.” His comments were met with tremendous enthusiasm.