They’ll Say Anything

The religious right is angry again (so what else is new?) with President Obama. This time religious-right pressure groups are attacking the president (and closet Muslim, right?) for not issuing a proclamation in honor of Easter. Here’s a Twitter post on Monday from David Barton, head of Texas-based WallBuilders:

@whitehouse fails to release #Easter Proclamation and no statement from @BarackObama

Barton’s Tweet links to a disingenuous (one wonders if there is any other kind with that outfit) Fox News piece noting the “failure” of the president to issue such a proclamation.

Then in an “Action Alert” email on Tuesday, the American Family Association (which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group) told its supporters:

The president has been devoted to issuing statements marking all major Muslim holidays, which are of no historical significance to the United States whatsoever. 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. More glaringly, President Obama made no mention of Good Friday or Easter in his weekly address to the nation on Saturday.

AFA shrieked that the president’s failure to issue an Easter proclamation “was an intentional act of disrespect” toward Christian Americans.

Actually, what’s really, deeply disrespectful is how religious-right groups treat their conservative Christian supporters like they’re stupid and gullible. In fact, a blogger searched through presidential proclamations going back to 1980 and found no Easter proclamations from other presidents. Search for yourself here. Moreover, President Obama spoke at an Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House last week about the importance of the day to himself and other Christians. Here’s just part of what he said:

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.

We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities, from leading churches and denominations, to helping to administer important government programs, to shaping our culture in various ways. And I admit that my plate has been full as well. (Laughter.) The inbox keeps on accumulating. (Laughter.)

But then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.

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.

You can read all of President Obama’s statement here. Does he sound like someone trying to be intentionally disrespectful of Christians? Of course not. But extremists like Barton and other religious-righters won’t let the truth get in the way of their cynical and disgraceful attacks.

We’ve said it before: the religious right is a political movement, not a religious movement. Its leaders will do anything, say anything, to promote their divisive, radical agenda for our country. And they see no shame in lying and using faith as a political weapon to divide and manipulate Americans — even their own supporters.

7 thoughts on “They’ll Say Anything

  1. Well titled article, Dan. They WILL say anything. And thank you for the details about President Obama’s Holy Week statement.

    And no doubt “they” are scrambling to find another false claim to trumpet after today’s release of the long-awaited, long-form birth certificate. They desperately NEED this thoughtful, articulate African-American man to be somehow foreign and therefore dangerous; non-Christian, non-American, even non-human.

    Isn’t it funny how some people rush down the corridor to assault an imagined enemy, only to smash into a mirror? Pathetic clowns.

  2. Celebration of Easter was an early casualty of teh Reformation in which Christmas as well as Easter were denounced as pagan and/or idolatry. Given that humans celebrated the change of seasons and attendant change in agriculture, the pressure to restore those ancient celebrations was papered back into holy writ.

    The End of the reaping of summer crops is celebrated with such as Oktoberfest and Thanksgiving. Christmas is halfway through winter, and Easter celebrates the end of winter and start of the planting season.

    The original Pilgrims felt persecuted because of their rejection of Chritmas as a pagan ritual celebrating the Roman god Mithra who birthday is December 25 and which was a favorite of Roman Imperial troops. The Council of Nicea under considerable pressure from Emperor Constantine to come up with a compromise religion he could use to unify the Empire. The Pilgrim interpretation of Christmas et al as pagan was factualy correct, but as many correctness efforts, it was factually irrelevant.

    President Obama is a truly unique President. He solves problems behind closed doors (a Texas soecuakty) with minimal fanfare. Tricky Dick announced his policies with much fanfare after the deal was done and the play was in motion., So did LBJ. Harrt Truman had his ducks lined up befoe he moved, Ford announced the policies he wanted before his ducks were lined up resulting in many dead ducks.

  3. What? WHAT???! St. Ronald the Reagan never made an Easter Proclamation? Will Barton have to move his revisionist history clear up the the 1980’s now, and say he did??

  4. I would like to point out something very important here. A local evangelical Christian preacher that I was listening to on the radio Easter Sunday remarked that “Easter is the most important day in all of Christendom.” It appears that these Religious Right liar organizations feel the same way.

    Why then, did the Texas SBOE complain to high heaven about the selection of Easter as an example of an important Christian holiday in the Texas social studies TEKs? Clearly, it was not good enough for them. They wanted Christmas instead. This just goes to show you how incompetent these Texas SBOE conservatives are and how they cannot even get the established national conservative party line correct in their dealings on with the social studies curriculum.

  5. First the phony “War on Christmas,” and now this.

    Easter doesn’t need a Presidential proclamation. It’s been happening for many centuries, without any Presidential help.

    It would be interesting to know whether Barton and the American Family Association didn’t bother to find out that Obama hosted an Easter Prayer Breakfast at which he gave a talk about Jesus, or they knew about it but chose to mislead their public.