President Obama delivered official messages for Passover, Ramadan and Diwali. But for Easter? Not so much. The White House came under fire this week for neglecting to issue official statements for either Easter or Good Friday, though Mr. Obama did take time Friday to address Earth Day, a celebration observed by tens of thousands of pagan worshippers of the earth goddess Gaia.
Mr. Obama clearly didn’t simply forget Easter. He and his family attended an Easter service. He presided over the annual Easter egg roll, a White House tradition dating back to the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes. Mr. Obama also hosted his second annual Easter prayer breakfast, at which he said “as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there’s something about the resurrection – something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.” His brief breakfast address could well have served as the official Easter proclamation, if the White House had thought of it.
Mr. Obama has had a difficult official relationship with Easter. His 2010 Easter proclamation was criticized because he attempted to include other faiths in what is a uniquely Christian holiday. This was not equal-opportunity multiculturalism; his Ramadan message did not include a shout-out to American Jews, for example, even though his 2011 Passover message bizarrely related the holiday to the current Arab uprisings. Likewise, Mr. Obama’s 2009 message stated that, “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 nonbelievers alike.” He also quoted passages from a historic 1945 sermon delivered by a chaplain in the wake of the fierce fighting on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima but edited out any mention of Jesus.