(Photo: AP Images / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama is expected to speak again at Thursday’s exclusive National Prayer Breakfast, organized by the Fellowship Foundation.
Little is known about what the president will say to the crowd. Last year, he urged for political civility. It is likely that Obama will speak of his faith at the prayer breakfast.
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) will host the more than 50-year-old event for influential guests of the Congress, military and business and diplomatic communities, a spokesman said.
Guests from over 130 nations are expected to attend the 2011 breakfast and small breakfasts and meetings, also arranged by the Fellowship Foundation.
The annual event, which traces its beginnings back to 1942, has been attended by every U.S. president since Eisenhower. Celebrity guests are occasionally welcomed to the breakfasts. Last year, football star and outspoken Christian Tim Tebow was among the high-profile attendees. Rock star Bono has also been a past guest.
Last year, the controversy surrounding Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill spilled over to the event.
The bill seeks to strengthen the criminalization of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who are considered serial offenders, are suspected of "aggravated homosexuality" and are HIV-positive, or who engage in sexual acts with those under 18 years of age.
Pro-gay activists and some church leaders claimed that the Fellowship Foundation was directly tied to the bill. As a result, both groups held their own version of the prayer breakfast called The American Prayer Hour.
Uganda’s political woes threaten to overshadow the breakfast again this year. Ugandan gay activist David Kato was recently killed, and New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop to be ordained in The Episcopal Church, is leading a campaign, urging organizers to honor the murdered activist with a prayer at the breakfast.
Mark Kelly, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' husband, is scheduled to deliver the closing prayer at the event. Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 while at a constituent meeting outside a Tucson Safeway. She has been making "lots of progress," according to Kelly, in her recovery.