Obama: Faith should not be divisive

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that faith should not be divisive.

"Far too often we have seen faith wielded as a tool to divide us from one another, as an excuse for prejudice and intolerance," Obama told the annual gathering here Thursday.

"There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same," he said. "But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate."

He added that the Golden Rule is the "one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ The Torah commands, ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.’ In Islam, there is a hadith that reads ‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’ And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists."

Obama also announced that he would be unveiling his White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships later that day, saying that its goal "will not be to favor one religious group over another, or even religious groups over secular groups."

"It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities," he said, "and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state."

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