Highlighting the importance of religion and the liberty to freely practice it as central to the United States’ prosperity, President Obama touched on both domestic and international policy areas during his annual National Prayer Breakfast speech. “Around the world, freedom of religion is under threat,” the president Thursday in his annual speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.
His remarks come amid a series of legal cases surrounding the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate and legal cases claiming that it impinges the freedom of religion. Earlier this week, the Department of Justice filed a legal brief opposing a religious exemption to the mandate for the University of Notre Dame. The Supreme Court has extended a temporary injunction exempting a number of religious groups from the mandate, including the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Later this year, the court will hear a case regarding Hobby Lobby’s challenge that the mandate violates the company owners’ religious beliefs.
In his remarks, the president called on Iran and North Korea to free persecuted pastor Saeed Abedini and missionary Kenneth Bae, respectively. Both Abedini and Bae have been imprisoned for over a year for reasons tied to their Christian faith.
President Obama also condemned the “killing of the innocent,” calling it the “ultimate betrayal of God’s will.”