"We can't leave our values at the door," Obama told politicians and officials gathered at the Washington Hilton. "If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries."
The president said his values weren't "limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends."
"When I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren't discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren't taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody," he said.
"But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God's command to 'love thy neighbor as thyself.'"
The president continued: "When I talk about shared responsibility, it's because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it's hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I'm willing to give something up as somebody who's been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that's going to make economic sense.
"But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,'" he said.