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President: Keep faith in hard times

President: Keep faith in hard times

Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 9:05 pm
By: AP

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama on Sunday recalled the work of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as he urged those packing a Baptist church to take heart in hard times and celebrate progress — however small. On the eve of the federal holiday marking King’s birth, the first African-American president said he learned — as did the civil rights leader — to rely on his faith even as he felt the “sting of criticism” during his first year as president. “During those times it’s faith that keeps me calm,” he said. Obama pointed specifically to his attempts to move the country out of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression while pressing for an overhaul of the health care system. Speaking to an enthusiastic congregation of nearly 300 people at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, founded in 1866 by former slaves, Obama called King and those who fought with him for civil rights the “Moses generation.” He exhorted parishioners — those he termed the “Joshua generation” — to “get back to basics” as Americans faced the challenges of a “new age.” Obama encouraged those in the audience to learn from the previous generations’ firm resolve, belief that government can be a force for good and commitment to universal ideals. “Our predecessors were never so consumed with theoretical debate that they couldn’t see progress when it came,” Obama said. “Sometimes I get a little frustrated when folks just don’t want to see that even if we don’t get everything, we’re getting something.” In his remarks at the Washington church, Obama reflected on the difficulties he has faced in pushing key elements of his legislative agenda through Congress and the periodic distractions that have arisen from remarks about his race Published in The Messenger 1.18.10

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