Inspired by the resurrection story of Christ, President Obama held two post Easter events at the White House on Tuesday, including a prayer breakfast with a wide range of Christian clergy members and a meeting with African American pastors.
At the breakfast, which was attended by over 90 Christian leaders including National Council of Churches President the Rev. Peg Chemberlin and Texas mega-church Pastor Joel Osteen among others, Obama said that the promise of redemption in Christ's resurrection is "one of life's great blessings" since everyone is "imperfect…each of errs – by accident or by design."
"Each of us falls short of how we ought to live. And selfishness and pride are vices that afflict us all," Obama said.
"It's not easy to purge these afflictions, to achieve redemption. But as Christians, we believe that redemption can be delivered -- by faith in Jesus Christ," the president said. "And the possibility of redemption can make straight the crookedness of a character; make whole the incompleteness of a soul. Redemption makes life, however fleeting here on Earth, resound with eternal hope."
Preceding the breakfast, Obama met with around 20 black pastors to address the needs of the black community, which has been one of the communities hit hardest by the recession and the loss of jobs.
The President was offered encouragement from the group, which represented some of the largest black denominations in the country.
An open letter from a group of black ministers read: "President Obama has pursued policies that are crucial for our communities and the nation as a whole, and we cannot afford to lose courage and fortitude at this juncture. President Obama has fought for us -- and we must fight for him. . . . We have been troubled by the trivial debates that have become more prominent in Washington and across the country, while at the same time our families are facing historic challenges."
"This meeting is not about politics," spokesman Corey Ealons said. "It is about connecting with key faith leaders on the challenges impacting our nation. President Obama appreciates the acute challenges facing African Americans across the country and respects the work these pastors are doing to support the communities they serve."
Obama has been criticized in the past by black activists, who say that the president is not doing enough to reach the African American community, although the president's ratings among the group remain extremely high.