The White House is tongue-tied about Easter

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 4/25/2011

Although the White House released statements last year commemorating the observance of the Muslim holidays of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha, this year when it came to the most sacred of Christian holidays, the White House was suddenly tongue-tied. Last year the president did mark the occasion of Easter by describing the Easter message as being, not about redemption and the triumph of God’s love over sin, but as a holiday that recognizes humanity’s aspirations to live a healthy, dignified life dedicated to service. By somehow characterizing Easter in this way, the president believed he was able to transcend the narrow confines of Christianity in his Easter message, or as the president put it:

While we worship in different ways, we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all, Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and non-believers alike… So on this Easter weekend let us hold fast to those aspirations that we hold in common, as brothers and sisters, as members of the same family, the family of man.


His inclusive, Easter message which extended even to non-believers describes humankind’s shared foundational experience thusly:

Our health is the rock upon which our lives are built…

Surprisingly the president did not go for a similarly inclusive approach when making proclamations about any of the Muslim holidays mentioned.

If you’d like to see what Obama had to say about Easter and Passover last year, check out the video of Obama’s Weekly Address from April 3, 2010.

On Good Friday, however, the president was moved to make a public proclamation in honor of Earth Day and waxed on at length about those aspects of the holiday which he found to be inspirational. In case you missed it, here’s a video of the president’s Rose Garden address which includes a shout out to the president’s “green cabinet.” I particularly liked the following bit in the speech where the president says:

It will take all of us coming together in the spirit of Earth Day, not only on Earth Day, but every day to make the dream of a clean energy economy and a clean world a reality.

Kind of reminds me of the message to keep the spirit of Christmas in one’s heart all year long… except without the troublesome allusions to a controversial deity.

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