Wash. Times: "Obama To Christians: Forget You"


In an April 25 editorial headlined, "Obama To Christians: Forget You," The Washington Times complained that the White House did not issue "official statements for either Easter or Good Friday" and wrote that "[t]his basket of Easter problems underscores Mr. Obama's continuing problem with perceptions of his religious identity."

As Media Matters has noted, despite assertions by the right-wing media to the contrary, presidential proclamations have not historically marked religious holidays. And as Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson noted, presidents going back through at least 1980 have not released a proclamation about Easter.

From The Washington Times:

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 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.

This basket of Easter problems underscores Mr. Obama's continuing problem with perceptions of his religious identity. Lately, the White House has gone out of its way to ramp up the Christian content on Mr. Obama's schedule, which can in part be read as a reaction to the continuing questions in some quarters over whether Mr. Obama truly observes the faith he publicly professes. An August 2010 report from the Pew Research Center showed that the better the American people get to know Mr. Obama, the fewer think he is a Christian and the more believe he is a Muslim. Oversights like the missing Easter message definitely don't help.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
The Washington Times
Attacks on Barack Obama
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