April 29, 2011
A few conservative activists accuse Obama of intentionally ignoring Easter, while others are taking issue with his choice of church. Last week, President Obama hosted the second annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. On Easter, President and his family attended Easter services at historic Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington. Monday featured the annual White House Easter Roll. But in today's political climate, even Easter can be controversial.
When a member of the White House press corp asked on Monday why the president did not issue an Easter proclamation, Jay Carney said that Obama and his family went to church to celebrate Easter, but he was unsure if a proclamation was sent out.
For the American Family Association (AFA) the lack of an official proclamation was “an intentional act of disrespect.” The AFA said he ignored Easter, but “he has released statements in honor of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha, holidays which most Americans cannot pronounce and certainly do not celebrate.” The AFA encouraged people to send an e-mail to the president over the issue.
The lack of proclamation was featured in a Fox News story that was subsequently picked up by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which referenced it on Twitter: “The White House failed to release a statement recognizing the national observance of #Easter or Good Friday. http://ow.ly/4Hoo8 @foxnews"
While the White House did not issue a proclamation, it did host an Easter prayer breakfast April 19 with around 130 Christian leaders in attendance. Obama initiated the prayer breakfast last year. In his remarks at the breakfast, Obama explained the purpose for the breakfast and the importance of Easter:
"I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason -– because 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," Obama said. "…And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection."
The Family Research Council FRC noted that the group of clergy included clergy from “non-traditional groups, among them clergy from homosexual and pro-homosexual denominations, one considered a forerunner in shaping homosexual theology.”
In a very different take on the breakfast, ThinkProgress.com criticized the breakfast for featuring two prominent “anti-LGBT pastors,” Bishop T.D. Jakes and Pastor Tim Keller, who “preach that homosexuality is among the sins for which individuals should seek repentance.”