New York Times best-selling author and syndicated radio show host Eric Metaxas and Susanne Metaxas attend an event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Jan. 17, 2019. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Save the Storks)
IRVINE, Calif.—Nearly 1,000 Orange County residents joined local leaders during the 58th Annual Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast Sept. 29 to pray for the county and the nation, as well as hear the thoughts of best-selling author Eric Metaxas.
The breakfast, hosted by Orange Coast Christian Outreach, was to encourage the community to gather and “reaffirm spiritual values upon which the nation was founded.”
According to organizers, the event was designed after the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., first held by President Eisenhower in 1953 as a time of personal reflection and rededication to God.
Local politicians who spoke and prayed with the crowd included six Orange County mayors, including Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan, Laguna Hills Mayor Janine Heft, and San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan.
Mr. Metaxas, a New York Times best-selling author, is known for his books “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty,” and “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life.”
During his speech, he expressed the importance of retaining and acting on a belief in God, as well as becoming aware of the dangers of the political landscape in the U.S. and abroad.
Residents gather at the 58th Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Irvine, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2023. (Carol Cassis/The Epoch Times)
“No matter what happens, the only answer to evil is God,” Mr. Metaxas said. “If God is not with you, you lose.”
A son of Greek and German immigrant parents who fled the rise of communism in their respective countries after World War II, Mr. Metaxas said that communism is among one of the largest threats to the United States, taking particular aim at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Communism is evil. Any time the state says, ‘We are God,’ that’s slavery,” he said. “Communist China will kill you if you dare to raise your voice against them, because those are their values.”
Mr. Metaxas said ideologies like that of China, which revolve around atheism and state control, have begun to seep into American politics and pose a “major threat” to American society.
Examples he listed included his undergraduate education at Yale, where he said his instructors taught that God wasn’t real, as well as the late Sen. Diane Feinstein’s criticism of then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett for her Catholic faith during her nomination hearing in 2017.
At the time, Ms. Feinstein questioned Judge Barrett’s competence and objectivity to serve the court due to her religious background, telling her “the dogma lives loudly within you.”
Surf City Church in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 20, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Metaxas said. “That an old Senator, who should know better ... basically said ‘you’re one of the scary religious people.’ Yet you’re a U.S. Senator, do you understand? The whole point of this country is that people of faith have every right to express their faith in every sphere.”
Such religious intolerance, Mr. Metaxas said, echos in more severe religious persecution in China, where CCP leaders persecute Uyghur Muslims, imprison them in concentration camps, and illegally harvest their organs for transplant.
Mr. Metaxas said that such atheism abroad, as well as dwindling faith in the U.S., can have similarly deadly consequences.
“You have no America [without] religious liberty and freedom of speech. These are the fundamental things that make it possible to function and to respect people of other faiths or no faith,” he said. “If you live in an atheist state, you don’t have those values.”
The Epoch Times was present as a top sponsor, alongside Vanguard University, Citivest, and DJM Wealth Management.