President Biden on Thursday urged the nation to lean on faith during dark times and to stop viewing one another as Democrats and Republicans, but instead as fellow Americans.
Biden made the comments during the National Prayer Breakfast, a bipartisan event that has been held every year since the Eisenhower administration but was held virtually this year due to the pandemic.
Co-chairs for this year’s breakfast were Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Reps. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.).
Biden, who is Catholic, referenced the pandemic, the calls for racial justice, and the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
“For so many in our nation, this is a dark, dark time,” he said. “So where do we turn? Faith. Kierkegaard wrote, ‘Faith sees best in the dark.’ I believe that to be true. For me, in the darkest moments, faith provides hope and solace. [It] provides clarity and purpose as well. It shows the way forward, as one nation, in a common purpose to respect one another, to care for one another, to leave no one behind.”
Biden, in the past, has said his Catholic faith gave him strength during trials, including after his first wife and one-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972.
He urged Americans to stop viewing each other through a political lens.
“These aren't Democrats or Republicans going hungry in our nation. They're our fellow Americans, fellow human beings,” he said. “They aren't Democrats and Republicans going without health care in America. They are our fellow Americans, fellow human beings. There aren't Democrats and Republicans being evicted from their homes. They are fellow Americans, fellow human beings. And these aren't Democrats and Republicans losing their lives to this deadly virus. They are our fellow Americans, fellow human beings.
“This is not a nation that can or will simply stand by and watch this,” he said of the nation’s problems. “That’s not who we are. It's not who faith calls us to be. In this moment, we cannot be timid or tired. We have too much work to do. And it is by our work – not just our words – that we're going to be judged.”
America, Biden said, will become a stronger nation.
“The Bible tells us, ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ We still have in front of us many difficult nights to endure, but we'll get through them together,” Biden said. “We'll need one another. We need to lean on one another, lift one another up – and with faith guide us through the darkness into the light.”
President Biden Quotes Bible as He Urges Unity: 'We Must End This Uncivil War'
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.