The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton on Thursday drew 3,500 people, including President Barack Obama and guests from 130 nations. They munched on eggs and fruit in the cavernous ballroom and talked about the need to take time in their rushed lives for self reflection and a higher power.
Back at the Capitol, the second meeting of congressional Mormons was a much more low-key affair. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, brought a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts.
While it’s not an official caucus, several House members who are LDS have quietly started gathering on a monthly basis to focus on their faith. Politics is off the table but spiritual thoughts are welcome.
“The church, when you’re home, it’s a big part of your life,” says Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Mormon from California. “And now, I have to travel a lot on Sunday and it’s hard to even get to church sometimes. So this is just a chance sometime during the week or the month to say, ‘Hey, put everything else aside and just talk a little bit about our eternal salvation.’ ”
That’s essentially the same reasons that the National Prayer Breakfast was created, to build relationships between elected officials and clergy from various faiths. Obama said Thursday it’s important on occasion to stop talking about “party and ideology” and recall that “we are all children of a living God; brothers and sisters called to make his work our own.”