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NAD President Attends National Prayer Breakfast

By Melissa Reid
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

North American Division president, Dan Jackson, was “honored and humbled” to attend yesterday’s 60th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

“If they would invite me every year, I’d never miss,” said Jackson. “I think it’s important for us to be there and interact with people, to let them know that we are a part of the fabric of this society.”

The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held on the first Thursday of February each year. The breakfast is hosted by a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers, and is attended by some 3,000 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries. Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in the annual event.

According to Washington Post and Fox News contributor Cal Thomas, the purpose of the event is “to attempt to bridge political and even religious differences through what is called ‘the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth’ in order that leaders consider a Higher Authority to whom they are ultimately accountable and answerable.”

Elder Jackson described the breakfast as “very spiritual,” and welcomed the opportunity to interact with such a diverse group of faith and civic leaders.

“It’s important that we know and understand our fellow Christians, and [this event] is where you see a really positive cross section.  We always need to have that dynamic of witness.  We don’t have any slam dunks on people’s attention, and I think we need to mingle,” Jackson explained.

Press reports have described President Obama's remarks as an explicit account of how his personal religious beliefs factor into his decision-making on the nation's pressing problems.  Elder Jackson agreed with that assessment.

“The president spoke from the heart. He talked about what was at the root of his own philosophy, what made him feel the way he feels. He talked about Jesus’ words, in terms of the poor, in terms of doing unto others. It was very positive.” (Click here for a complete transcript of President Obama's remarks.)

When asked about potential criticism of his attendance at a political event, Elder Jackson laughed and said, “There’s nothing political about it at all for me, [as a Canadian] I can’t vote.”

He further clarified, “In terms of the political arena, I don’t believe we have the right to jump in on one side or the other, but to assume that Seventh-day Adventists ought to be removed and aloof from the great discussions that go on in the nation is a very false assumption. Jesus said ‘you are the salt of the earth,’ and He wasn’t just talking about spreading the Gospel, although that is the primary feature. Sometimes you don’t get to spread the Gospel because your rights are inhibited, because nobody knows you, and then you are singled out and deal with you in a negative way. We need to be present at the table so we can be free to spread the Gospel.”