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Obama: 'God gives us the power to resist fear'

US President Barack Obama told hundreds at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday (4 February) that the power of God's love is the best antidote to fear …

US President Barack Obama told hundreds at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday (4 February) that the power of God's love is the best antidote to fear …

The president spoke on the fear that has been felt in the US since terrorist attacks in Paris and California, and anger that has been a feature of the presidential campaigns.

"Fear does funny things," he said. "Fear can lead us to lash out against those who are different, or lead us to try to get some 'sinister other' under control. It can lead us to succumb to despair or paralysis or cynicism."

“It is primal and contagious,” he continued. “If we let it consume us, the consequences of that fear can be worse than any outward threat.”

God’s love “gives us the power to resist fear’s temptations,” Obama said. “He gives us the courage to reach out to others across that divide, rather than push people away.”

Delivered with less than a year left in his presidency, wrote The Washington Post, Obama’s remarks amounted to a brief and heartfelt prayer for the country he will soon no longer be leading.

“Like every president, like every person, I have known fear,” Obama said. After the shootings at the  elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that fear and grief drove him to his knees in prayer, he said.

Even as he seemed to criticize the harsh political rhetoric and anti-immigrant sentiment that have dominated the recent election cycle, Obama also sought to praise his country. He said that he saw God’s hand in acts of decency and compassion that he has seen both here and abroad during the course of his ­presidency.

“He gives us the fortitude to sacrifice ourselves to a larger cause,” Obama said. “Less of me, more of God.”

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