Obama’s Easter prayer: ‘There’s something about the resurrection’

On the morning of April 19, 2011, President Obama hosted the second annual Easter Prayer Breakfast. “I wanted to host … Continued

On the morning of April 19, 2011, President Obama hosted the second annual Easter Prayer Breakfast. “I wanted to host this [event] for a simple reason,” announced the president to a White House stocked with some of America’s most prominent Christian leaders. “During this season, we are reminded that there is something about the resurrection. Something about the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ that puts everything else in perspective.”

In this week’s episode of The God Vote, Sally Quinn and Jacques Berlinerblau discuss the significance of Obama’s remarks. Other topics of interest are the Obama administration’s position on the National Day of Prayer, the state of religion and secularism in America and the White House celebrations of Easter, Passover, and Iftar.

There is a clear distinction between the approach to religion of presidential hopeful Barack Obama of 2008 and the incumbent candidate of 2012. In the last presidential campaign, Obama tended to be pluralistic in his rhetoric and avoided talking about his personal religious beliefs in any significant depth. Since his inauguration, however, he has grown increasingly open about these views.His Easter prayer address is only the latest example of a trend toward publicly acknowledging the Christian faith.

Still, Obama’s talk about his Christianity has not excluded celebration of other faiths. On April 18, Obama celebrated a Passover seder in the White House, marking his third consecutive observance of the Jewish holiday. Last November, Obama traveled to India during the celebration of Diwali, an important festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. At a White House Iftar last August, Obama stressed the importance of religious freedom for all citizens.

While the president’s celebration of diversity is admirable, some say that he has marginalized minority beliefs. (Check out the God Vote for Berlinerblau’s take on this.) These include faiths from Mahayana Buddhism to Native American spiritual traditions. Others argue that state religious ceremonies also alienate those individuals who are non-believers or agnostics.

WATCH: This week’s edition of the God Vote and answer in the comments section below —
Do you want your president to make a profession of faith? What of minority traditions or secularists?


Benjamin Rosenblum is a sophomore in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs and serves as assistant producer for The God Vote.

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  • acebojangles

    Obama’s not going to convince the nuts who think he’s a secret Muslim no matter what he does. It’s sad that he feels the need to try.

  • YEAL9

    First to set matters straight with respect to the Resurrection/Easter.

    There was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity. If there is a place called Heaven, it is as per Aquinas and JPII, a spirit state i.e. no bodies there now or ever.

    With respect to BO and his speeches, he is running for re-election and will say anything to win votes. But behind this mantle of Christianity is his leadership of the Immoral Majority i.e. The fastest growing USA voting bloc: The 70+ million “Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers” of aborted womb-babies” whose ranks grow by two million per year.)

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:
    69,456,897 for BO 59,934,814 for JM

    Bottom line: BO will win in 2012 unless the Republicans come up with a candidate who is pro-abortion or neutral on the subject. A “respect for human life in all its forms” candidate cannot win.

  • Evenfoolsarerightsometimes

    It really is MY “profession of faith” I’m cncerned with. What do I know about what somebody else’s faith means?

  • Monique6

    Freedom of religion means everyone has the right to worship as they believe, but it also means citizens shouldn’t have any religion shoved down their throat. I’d prefer if the leader of our nation does not profess any religion publicly. I also find it quite annoying that he finishes speeches with “God Bless America.” As far as I’m concerned, it’s just as accurate to say “Santa Claus Bless America.”

  • Monique6

    A “respect for human life in all its forms” candidate: except in the form of a criminal.

    Not judging – just stating facts. Most republicans support the death penalty.

  • YEAL9

    I don’t believe most citizens consider murderers or traitors to be human but god might save them if we simply pushed said murderers and/or traitors out a airplane door at 10,000 ft. Hey, we are giving them a chance to live, something many growing children inside many wombs never get.

    With respect to BO and his leadership of the Immoral Majority:

    What BO can do to at least lift part of the Immoral Majority leader label?

    He says abortions should be “safe, legal and rare” but says nothing about the basic tenet of proper human conduct i.e. Thou Shalt Not Kill. And where is BO’s sense of indignation that abortions are not rare and that these acts of horror demean the Golden Rule considering that he says he is a Christian. And where is his sense of indignation that women who use the Pill do not use it properly resulting in an failure rate of 8.7% as per the Guttmacher Institute statistics. Using these and other Guttmacher Insttute data, this failure of women to use the Pill properly results in ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year. And the annual abortion rate in the USA is?? ~1,000,000 as per the CDC.

    And do males use condoms properly? No, as said failure rate for this birth “control” method is 17.4%!! Again using Guttmacher data, said failure rate results in another ~1,000,000 unplanned pregnancies every year.

    The Guttmacher Institute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    Bottom line: BO is still not aware of the basics of birth control and still remains the leader of the Immoral Majority and will remain so until he becomes a true Christian and who at least emphasizes the proper use of birth control methods!!!

  • ThomasBaum

    Benjamin Rosenblum

    You asked, “Do you want your president to make a profession of faith?”

    I don’t see where my or anyone else’s “want” should have anything to do with it, if the President wishes to make a profession of faith, it is his decision and I think that anyone in this country should have the right to make or not make a profession of faith and I believe that this right should extend to all of the people of this country which includes the President.

    I happen to believe that absolutely everyone on the planet should have this right but many do not and isn’t it pitiful that so many in this country wish to stiffle others in this regard.

    You also asked, “What of minority traditions or secularists?”

    I happen to believe that all should have this right and this most definitely includes “minority traditions or secularists”.

    Take care, be ready.

    Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Rongoklunk

    Any politician who wants to get the votes realizes that – in American politics today – being religious is de rigueur.
    America is not ready for an atheist president. But let’s check back in about two generations when religious myths will be pushed aside – because in a scientific world where evidence matters – superstition will have nothing going for it, and will end up on the scrapheap of dead ideas along with astrology, alchemy and palm reading. It’s inevitable. Look at the educated European countries, where only the immigrants are religious. Most folks know that inventing gods was the best our ignorant ancestors could do when trying to figure out how real world worked. And they were wrong!!! They’d never heard of science, and evolution. That was a big handicap which we don’t have today.

  • martha6

    Thank you for stating this point so succinctly. I’m over here wringing my hands and shaking my head, so sad that said ‘nuts’ have so much power in this perverted political time!

  • paulhume

    First, election to political office does not require that the official cannot engage in acts of religion. The Constitution equally debars the state from the religious arena and forbids requiring religious tests of belief OR unbelief.

    I do not expect the President (any President) to get up and declare “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” (the central tenet of my own belief system, Thelema) so I won’t feel “marginalized.”

    I would happily criticize an official (like former President Bush or former Sen. Barr) who publicly denigrates a religion (both sounded off in remarkably half-witted terms about Wicca during the controversy that Barr stirred up about Wiccan soliders having access to chaplain resources at Ft. Hood). But I would feel no sympathy for a Wiccan who complained that they are “marginalized” if the White House doesn’t observe Beltane.

    Grow the frak up, people.