Like Gandhi, Obama Believes In Power Of Interfaith Prayers

March 13, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Times of India

President Barack Obama, who has acknowledged Mahatma Gandhi as one of his inspirations, prefers to have interfaith prayers at rallies, and has thus opened "a new frontier of religious politics".

Prayer has become more common at presidential appearances under the Obama administration, including at nonreligious events such as stimulus rallies, the Washington Post reported this week.

The White House is acting in a deliberately inclusive, interfaith way that seems to limit opposition, it said. The practice is reminiscent of Gandhiji's meetings that invariably started with recitation of prayers from a variety of faiths.

Some experts say the policy, which Obama followed during the campaign too, does not appear to be illegal because the White House tells people who lead the prayers to be non-sectarian.

The policy, first reported in the US News & World Report, appears to continue a new White House approach to religion: invite piety and spirituality at every opportunity, but with a new emphasis on interfaith participants and atheists, the Post said.