Obama’s Easter message: he ain’t no atheist

Well, I freely admit that I was wrong when I speculated, before the last election, that Barack Obama was an atheist.  I wasn’t going on much, to be sure, but over the last few years he’s shown no signs of heathenosity. In fact, his goddishness seems to be increasing, as we can see in the Easter message he issued this weekend. You can watch the video on ABC News, but I really cringed when I heard our President talk about Jesus and his resurrection. It was painful!

I’ve put in bold every statement that is factually incorrect.

Statement by the President on Easter Weekend:

For millions of Americans, this is a special and sacred time of year.

This week, Jewish families gathered around the Seder table, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of faith over oppression. And this weekend, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will join Christians around the world to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hopeful promise of Easter.

In the midst of all of our busy and noisy lives, these holy days afford us the precious opportunity to slow down and spend some quiet moments in prayer and reflection.

As Christians, my family and I remember the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us – how He took on the sins of the world and extended the gift of salvation. And we recommit ourselves to following His example here on Earth. To loving our Lord and Savior. To loving our neighbors. And to seeing in everyone, especially “the least of these,” as a child of God.

Of course, those values are at the heart not just of the Christian faith; but of all faiths. From Judaism to Islam; Hinduism to Sikhism; there echoes a powerful call to serve our brothers and sisters. To keep in our hearts a deep and abiding compassion for all. And to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

That’s the common humanity that binds us together. And as Americans, we’re united by something else, too: faith in the ideals that lie at the heart of our founding*; and the belief that, as part of something bigger than ourselves, we have a shared responsibility to look out for our fellow citizens.

So this weekend, I hope we’re all able to take a moment to pause and reflect. To embrace our loved ones. To give thanks for our blessings. To rededicate ourselves to interests larger than our own.

And to all the Christian families who are celebrating the Resurrection, Michelle and I wish you a blessed and joyful Easter.

God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

____

*Not religious ideals, as Obama implies!

92 Comments

  1. Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. President:

    I can haz, you can haz
    We can all haz raisins
    Jus’ three days, after he die
    We can all haz raisins
    Way up high, in the sky
    We can all haz raisins.

    I can haz sum raisins,
    you can haz ‘em too
    All the graves of Jerusalem open
    up for me and you, cuz …
    I can haz, you can haz
    We can all haz raisins.

  2. Sastra
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Of course, those values are at the heart not just of the Christian faith; but of all faiths. From Judaism to Islam; Hinduism to Sikhism; there echoes a powerful call to serve our brothers and sisters. To keep in our hearts a deep and abiding compassion for all. And to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

    The value at the heart of all faiths is a powerful call to serve God. Sometimes God wants you to embrace all people regardless of belief — and sometimes God wants you to purge the infidel from the midst of the Holy. It’s up to God. Not us. Don’t look at us. Don’t blame us.

    Obama is trying to claim that humanism is at the heart of every religion. No. Humanism is humanism. Bring God into it and all bets are off on what you’re going to get.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      “Humanism is humanism. Bring God into it and all bets are off on what you’re going to get”

      Nicely put 🙂

    • jimroberts
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      “Sometimes God wants you to embrace all people regardless of belief”

      Does this really sometimes happen? Examples?

      • Sastra
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Yes — most of the neopagan/New Age/ Spiritual-but-not-religious religions profess that God/Spirit is completely indifferent to whether you believe in it or not. “All paths lead to God,” etc. This is usually accompanied by a firm belief that belief in God is the mark of a sensitive, spiritually-evolved person. Atheists will eventually catch up. We’re slow.

        Also, I think even the supernaturalist versions of Buddhism tend to downplay the significance of what you believe about God.

    • david
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      “Obama is trying to claim that humanism is at the heart of every religion. No. Humanism is humanism. Bring God into it and all bets are off on what you’re going to get”.

      A very important point, clearly expressed in a few sentences. Truly excellent.

      What is to be done?

      From a purely practical point of view, there is absolutely no chance of hundreds of millions of people becoming agnostics or atheists in the near future (more’s the pity). This being so, shouldn’t the short and medium term goal be the “domestication” of organised religiosity?

      i.e. If the de facto result was that all the aforementioned faiths practised and preached values that are behaviourally in harmony with humanism, but continue to wrap it up in devotional, transcendent language, wouldn’t that be, in spite of its obvious shortcomings, a tremendous victory?

      Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating an “accomadation” or compromise with religion on, what I view as, the most important issues: intellectual freedom, gender and sexual equality, freedom of conscience, etc. Just the opposite. I’m suggesting that if and when religious believers accept and defend these things we should celebrate it, and when they don’t we should continue to criticise them.

      I emphasise that i’m making a practical and sociological point here at the expense of an intellectual and moral ideal (the ideal of every human being embracing rational and empirical methods in pursuit of probabilistic conceptions of truth) that I don’t think will ever be widely realised on earth.

      Religion generally has two main faults; firstly, it isn’t true; secondly, it’s harmful. But unless one has a strikingly ascetic and egalitarian attitude towards “truth”, the second fault is far more significant than the first.

  3. Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    By “every statement that is factually incorrect”, I think the author means “every reference to something ridiculous”. After all, Jews do commemorate the biblical Exodus and Christians do celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, even though both events are likely fictional.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think one can say, those are “likely” to be fictional. I take it that they are _known_ to be fictional:

      – Archaeologists can’t find any signs of large scale movements in the area between the then Palestine and Egypt. But more importantly, AFAIK _they find that Palestine culture was contiguous_. That is impossible, if you have an influx of a large group of people from another culture.

      – Zombies are biologically impossible.

      So two impossibilities.

      • Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Well, Richard Carrier has calculated that the “swoon” theory isn’t impossible- http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/2.html . And, besides, where are the encampments of the miners who made their yearly journey from Egypt to Serabit al-Khadim? There should be hundreds of them. Where are the encampments of the armies of Esarhaddon and Cambyses? http://www.bibleorigins.net/ramesesmapavaris.html

      • Occam
        Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        As a skeptical archaeologist I must point out that, in archaeology, the argument from absence isn’t exactly proof of anything. What we just don’t know, we just don’t know; what we have no evidence for, we have no evidence for.

        Talk of a “Palestine culture” doesn’t make sense, as it wasn’t any entity. Contiguity is an artifact of mapping (assuming the mapped finds are actually relevant). For many periods, the region was a koiné: ethnic, linguistic, economic, political divisions were often not congruent.

        A hypothetical influx, had it occurred, would likely have been rather small, as most such movements were, where documented or plausibly reconstructed.

        OTOH, there are common archaeological examples where a large population influx leaves little traces, whereas a small but influential group (viz. the Nabataeans) can upset the whole record.

        Archaeology is best left to its own devices, and shouldn’t be abused to confirm (or infirm) founding myths and zombie tales.

    • Dave
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      I believe it was meant that the events themselves are factually incorrect. e.g., the exodus never happened, whether celebrated or not.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Which is why only the events themselves are bolded, not the “commemorating” parts.

  4. steve
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t think this affects your theory that he’s an atheist. His increase in religiosity might simply indicate his maturing as a politician. And I don’t think he was implying that America’s ideals were religious ones. He said they’re additional to religious ones. The only intention apparent from these statements is that he’s being careful to please everyone.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      But this is his second term…

      • Kevin Alexander
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        And he still has his agenda. If he admitted his disbelief nothingwould get done after.
        Obama could well be an atheist but he would still carry that secret to his grave if he wants to see any kind of legacy.

        • gbjames
          Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Huh? Do you think there might be some other middle position between religious pandering and admitting disbelief?

          There is absolutely no evidence that Obama is an atheist. I wish there was.

          • tomh
            Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            “There is absolutely no evidence that Obama is an atheist.”

            I agree, that was always wishful thinking. There is some evidence, though, that Obama agrees that church and state should be separate in some instances. Early on, he rescinded the Bush regulations on conscience exemptions for health professionals, issued in the waning hours of the Bush administration.

    • jay
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Arghhh.

      I don’t get it. No matter what he does, so many people are ready to apologize for him. The same with his civil liberties record, in many ways as bad as Bush, but the faithful (i.e. most of the US left) suck it up.

      • Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        No, progressives don’t “suck it up”. It is often a topic of criticism, and there are many criticism of Obama. Check out Congressman Alan Grayson (now he more probably is an atheist, but unannouced) who has said, “I’ve voted for the guy twice, he is a fellow Democrat, but he is wrong..”

        (Topic beyond scope of a narrow discussion).

  5. Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Sorry to read about your disappointment Prof. Coyne. It is going to be a while before an American president is openly atheist. Republicans as a group found it very difficult to stomach a Mormon candidate. Imagine how Americans would react to a person who completely disavowed any religious faith at all. They would see it as a personal affront. Like the matter of same-sex marriage. Politicians will not begin to show true support for it, if national polls are well below 50%.

    • Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Always remember California governor Culbert Olson, who was an open atheist:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culbert_Olson

      California almost elected Upton Sinclair as governor in the 1930s. He promised single-payer healthcare…”…but that’s SOCIALISM!!”

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        The US as a whole would have been more likely to elect an atheist in the 19th century than today…

        • tomh
          Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

          “The US as a whole would have been more likely to elect an atheist in the 19th century than today…”

          I don’t know about that. In the 19th century there were still many (enforceable) laws on the books barring atheists from holding public office, or testifying in courts, for that matter. People were still jailed for blasphemy in the 19th century.

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

            The zeitgeist, esp. in political circles was much more open. Believe it. Check out Susan Jacoby’s excellent “The Age of American Unreason” for a very well-balanced accounting of what things were like pre vs. post Civil War. Diane’s right, no doubt.

            • Diane G.
              Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

              Thanks. I’d been trying to compose something similar, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as succinct and clear. And Jacoby is great!

  6. Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The fact that he spoke about Jesus does not necessarily make him a believer/follower. Remember America is supposedly a “Christian nation”, so, it is “expected” that the leader is, too, a Christian.
    However, does that reflect reality… Je ne sais pas, I can only speculate.

    I agree with the person above, he may simply be playing his role as the christian leader.

  7. Andrikzen
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Scuse me my confirmation bias is showing. In my opinion Obama is playing to the populist crowd, a slight of hand to prevent those who would stop their ears to his real message, the message of our collective humanity.
    To keep in our hearts a deep and abiding compassion for all. And to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
    That’s the common humanity that binds us together. And as Americans, we’re united by something else, too: faith in the ideals that lie at the heart of our founding*; and the belief that, as part of something bigger than ourselves, we have a shared responsibility to look out for our fellow citizens.

  8. gbjames
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I was appalled when I read his message. It is shameful for any president to use his office like this.

    • Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      There’s no shame in politics.

      • Roux Brownwell
        Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:46 am | Permalink

        “You can sooner embarrass a sofa
        than a congressman.”
        –George Will

    • tomh
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      “It is shameful for any president to use his office like this.”

      Just about every president since Jefferson has had to beat the religious drum. In his first term, in 2011, Obama and the White House did not issue any Easter proclamation, nor a statement marking Good Friday. He took a lot of flak for it from the right-wing (perhaps also because he did recognize Ramaden), so maybe he learned a lesson.

      • gbjames
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        What lesson is it that you think was learned? “More religious pandering is required.”?

        • tomh
          Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Yes, it is required if you want to be halfway successful in American politics. Sad, but true.

          • gbjames
            Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            Give me a break. He did not have to make this statement. He didn’t make this statement last Easter (to my knowledge) or in the years prior. And he is no longer running for office. I don’t think you should be making excuses for him.

            (Note: I am a longtime Obama supporter. But I will not wink and pretend this kind of thing isn’t embarrassing, unnecessary, and ugly.)

            • darrelle
              Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:47 am | Permalink

              I agree that it does not seem necessary. But it does seem quite possible to me that Obama would think it beneficial for some reason. And, I don’t know, he may be right. I have never been of the opinion that accommodationism can not be tactically advantageous.

              As far as Obama being an atheist or not, I wouldn’t be surprised either way, and this statement doesn’t make it any clearer to me.

              • gbjames
                Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

                Well he obviously thinks it is beneficial for some reason. I just think he is wrong. I was annoyed when W spouted religion, I am annoyed when Republican politicians spout religion. And I see no reason to give Obama a pass. Mixing religion with government leadership is offensive, divisive, and just plain wrong.

      • dth
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Obama at the UN General Assembly:

        “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. (Applause.)”
        http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/remarks-president-un-general-assembly

        Obama believes in the God of Robert Wright.

        • Ken Pidcock
          Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Good call.

        • darrelle
          Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

          Robert Wright makes my teeth itch.

      • Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        I’m not so sure I agree with the religious drum banging happening on every presidential watch. One can look up State of the Union speeches and see slim-to-no mentions of goddy-woddy stuff… until Ronnie took office in 1981. After that, it has been heating up and up and up. It’s gotten so that I don’t even recognize a presidential speech anymore; they sound like pastors talking to their congregation.

        Perhaps State of the Union speeches aren’t the place to look for such things (as today’s sermon wasn’t one)… but it sure seemed to me, especially among modern presidents (including deeply religious ones like Carter), that they KNEW HOW to keep their god-talk in check at official presidential functions. Now the bastards are scrambling over each other with god plastered everywhere.

        • Diane G.
          Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

          Exactly. Kennedy, of course, had to publicly promise to put his Catholicism on the shelf if elected.

      • Dawn Oz
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        In his Easter message 2012, Obama spoke specifically about THE resurrection, and then went on to encompass other traditions, such as Judaism. As a US watcher from Australia, I can’t imagine anyone espousing atheism being elected as President. Give the guy a break – he needs all the understanding he can get. In the group I belong to, we say behaviour is more important than belief, and he is trying to not frighten the horses, whilst pulling the US into some sort of less corporate supporting position – and against terrible odds. He can’t be all things to all people, and we atheists can strand up for ourselves, whereas those who are socio-economically disadvantaged can’t.

        Here is his Easter 2012 speech.

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/7/obama-delivers-easter-message-free-politics/

        • gbjames
          Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink

          I don’t ask that he espouse atheism. I do ask that he refrain from preaching religious hooey. He could do just fine with a “Happy Easter, everyone”, or a wave on the way out of church.

          And you are describing a false dichotomy. One does not need to be preach the gospel to work for a more equitable society. There are disadvantaged atheists out there, too. He is the President and represents all Americans, not just the believers.

        • Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          …and to hammer it home just a teensy bit more: he’s not exactly a less-corporatizing president… not with his blatant protections of rampant telecomm lawbreaking, questionable appointments, similarly blatant strategy pulling the rug out from single-payer — paving the way for a conflict-laden giveaway to insurance companies… I understand that keeping a close eye on stuff like this 1/2 a world away has got to take low priority. But from here it’s pretty easy to see that we are fast sliding from a fascist police state to a theocratic, fascist police state. And our supposedly “liberal” major party seems to be cheerleading the way right along with our wingnuts. We are SO screwed.

          • darrelle
            Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

            Jesus! Please cheer up! I’m ready to slit my wrists here.

            • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

              Sorry. I only barely managed to pull myself back from the brink. I’ve got to remember to think about more than my pitiful self when I get digital diarrhea.

            • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:03 am | Permalink

              And then I read shit like this happening half a day’s drive east of me.

              …fumbling towards the sharps dispenser…

              • darrelle
                Posted April 2, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

                That is infuriating. And this.

                “The 7:30 a.m. raid was part of a highly publicized series of raids conducted on a day that is known to some as a marijuana holiday. After the raids, the sheriff’s office publicly declared the initiative a success, claiming that they had confiscated 43 marijuana plants and one pound of marijuana.

                That is pathetic. People that think that is worth the costs incurred are pretty scary.

              • Jeff Johnson
                Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

                And this: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=95475&page=1#.UVsCuRfvsfQ

                You can find hundreds of stories of police raiding the wrong address, or raiding the right address and killing unarmed people and innocent bystanders.

                Since 9/11 it has gotten worse because it’s easier to get warrents. The PATRIOT act is often misapplied in the drug war.

                When people drone on about the threat to civil liberties possibly implied by the Anwar Al-Awlaki, they are getting alarmed about something hypothetical while ignoring the real and present and far more prevalent everyday abuse by local police department SWAT teams.

  9. bric
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    But . . . but . . . wasn’t Obama busy destroying Easter and therefore the USA?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/us-news-blog/2013/mar/31/cesar-chavez-google-doodle-easter?CMP=twt_fd

  10. ChrisK
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Definitely a statement of a second term president. Honestly, I don’t care. If I have to trade the empty words of an Easter statement for his very real support for gay marriage (also the result of being in the political home stretch), I’ll take it, no matter how much I disagree with the contents.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I hate this nasty presumption:

    … those values are at the heart not just of the Christian faith; but of all faiths. … And to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

    “As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term “Golden Rule”, or “Golden law”, as it was called from the 1670s.[1][6] As a concept of “the ethic of reciprocity,” it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[1][5]”

    “The Code of Hammurabi, (1780 BCE),[12] dealt with the reciprocity”.

    [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule ]

    Those values are at the heart not just of the Enlightened world; but of world cultures of all times.

    • Occam
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:07 am | Permalink

      The Golden Rule, Georges Brassens version:
      “Gloire à celui qui n’ayant pas d’idéal sacro-saint
      Se borne à ne pas trop emmerder ses voisins”

      (Georges Brassens, “Don Juan”, 1976)

      My approximation:
      Praise to them who have no sacrosanct ideal
      And just refrain from annoying their neighbours

      Although emmerder translates more accurately as pissing someone off.

      My immediate reaction upon reading the POTUS’s sanctimonious treacle was to wish for an Easter Address by Georges Brassens.

  12. neil
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m disappointed. He could have washed a few feet while he was at it.

  13. ForCarl
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Obama has always been good at throwing verbal bones to atheists, but I could tell that his head was purely in Jesusland. I’ll bet he pictures an atheist when he says, “the least of these”.

    He STILL has no idea what separation of church and state MEANS. Sometimes he’s worse than W. was.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      I can see you are disappointed, but not even close.

  14. Dave
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I felt like taking a shower after reading that.

  15. Thomas
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    You take President Obama very literally.

  16. Bruce S. Springsteen
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I see only two possible explanantions for this sort of speech: He’s either less bright than folks suppose, or a bigger hypocrite. I wouldn’t presume to guess which. Neither would shock me.

  17. Allautin@gmail.com
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    At least we can thank Jesus that he is an okay Pres.
    OMG what am I saying?

    Amen

  18. Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    If you have a look at the chapter on faith in his book “Audacity of Hope”, which is kind of a campaign book, he talks about joining a church. Hitchens wrote about it somewhere, saying that to him it read like Obama just joined a church for street cred in Chicago’s south side.

    Personally, I think that the President affirms belief, but probably doesn’t believe it in his private thoughts. I think that a lot of people do that: affirm belief when they really don’t have it. Obama strikes me as someone like this (I should say that I am a supporter).

    That, in fact, is kind of what religion is, at least the big ones. It makes these metaphysical and spiritual and moral claims, and by demanding affirmation of belief in these things, it forms a psychological and social dynamic, the purpose of which is to preserve, justify, and uphold a feudal social order. Religions are really feudal political ideologies that come packaged in the form of a metaphysical and spiritual belief.

  19. Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I find the Obama speech text to be more agreeable if you put the word “alleged” after the word “the” in each of the bold text portions.

  20. Jeff Johnson
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I noticed he was really laying on an extra heavy dose of checklist shibboleths to the Jesus worshipers.

    In the past he has been more neutral, and it has generated much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the butt-hurt theocratic Christo-fascist right wing media-industrial complex.

    I guess the unreasonably strident Christian Nationalists, wishing to enforce uniform observance of their deity, finally got on his nerves.

    • Cliff Melick
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      You may be right, but what Obama will soon learn is that the Christian Nationalists (as you style them) will just bitch about something else he does.

  21. Ken Pidcock
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    So I’m president of the United States, and advisers say I should do an Easter message. Shouldn’t be too secular; the party’s pretty big right now on getting God. Probably a good dose of Christian redemption with a stiff dash of interfaith.

    Piss off the atheists, though. Hard to get around. What if I did a glance to Enlightenment values as something else, too? Pretty weak, but what the hell. Politically, it’s like pissing off the Klan.

    So let ’em be ashamed. Be very ashamed.

    • neil
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Where is an atheist gonna go? The Republican party? LOL. We’re going to have to be growing like the Hispanic population before anyone cares what we think.

  22. Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know; “the resurrection” doesn’t have to be any more historical that “santa bringing presents”.

    Still, he is no atheist though he is no fundamentalist either.

  23. David Duncan
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    “You can watch the video on ABC News, but I really cringed when I heard our President talk about Jesus and his resurrection. It was painful!”

    It’s all politics.

    • gbjames
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:35 am | Permalink

      “It’s all politics.” is like “Everyone breaths air.” It is true, of course but ignores the problem. In this case someone let one go and the air smells bad.

  24. Sines
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t Obama hold a national day of prayer a few years back, after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional? Yes, that ruling was overturned a year later (And the proceedings for that were already underway at the time), but it was still unconstitutional at the time.

    This was in 2010. I’m sorry, but it’s clear from that event alone that Obama is a Christian. It’s possible he’s an atheist (or something else), but if that’s the case, then he’s willing to throw atheism under the bus for votes and publicity.

    That he’s still doing this in his second term just makes it all the plainer. Frankly, if he WAS an atheist, it would just mean he’s willing to lie about his beliefs AND ignore the Constitution. Frankly, I’d prefer the Obama who is a Christian, and just fools himself into thinking “It’s close, but not really violating the seperation of church and state.” At least Christian Obama might be said to mean well, rather than just doing whatever makes him popular regardless of what is right.

    I’m not saying Obama is all bad, his approach to gay rights has been great, but anyone who tries to say “He could still be an atheist!” has kind of missed the point. Even if he was, why should I care that he agrees with me on the whole god thing, if he doesn’t act like it? To borrow a Christian cliche, Stalin was also an atheist.

    Trying to defend Obamas potential atheism is merely tribalism, caring more for a label than why that label has value.

  25. Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Seems to me he’s doing a clever dance within Christianity. It’s got as much social gospel and as little woo as it reasonably could have without him being tarred and feathered as an atheist.

    “And this weekend, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will join Christians around the world to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hopeful promise of Easter.”

    Sure he’ll be joining them, but does he believe in it?

    “And to all the Christian families who are celebrating the Resurrection, Michelle and I wish you a blessed and joyful Easter.”

    Doesn’t that sound like standing outside their houses, calling in?

    He asks God to bless us and the USA, but that’s very much a formula that a US president can barely escape. His God does not seem to be a god who does anything else, such as sending his only begotten son that they who believe ….

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

      Put it another way, has he said anything that a Jeffersonian deist could not say?

  26. @eightyc
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    lol.

    well can’t get any sillier than that.

  27. grasshoppa
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Thank godt I wrote in ‘Bugs Bunny’ the second time around.

  28. Molly Sandford
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    You know, as much as Obama might be a Christian, he could well not be. Someone could not become president of the United States without being a Christian (and a certain type at that). As much as this speech makes me shudder a little, it’s not him that actually writes these things and, even if it was, he kind of has to say them. It is a bit weird that there seems to be an implication of religious ideals being within the founding of the USA because they categorically weren’t. But, ya know, he does just kinda have to say this stuff.

    p.s. Richard Dawkins says he believes that Barack Obama is too intelligent to a Christian :L

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Richard Dawkins says he believes that Barack Obama is too intelligent to a Christian :L

      I did not know that! I’d sure like to believe it myself…

      Think of the implications, though. If he’s carrying out a charade, probably Michelle is, too. But can they explain this role-playing to their children? (At the same time that they’re inflicting them with all that fervent woo?) I do think it’s important to expose all children, esp. freethinking children, to religious customs and beliefs, but not necessarily to the hypocrisy involved here. At least not until they’re mature enough to grasp the political machinations…

      • Molly Sandford
        Posted April 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        I’ve got to say, he does seem an incredibly intelligent man by all accounts. Not just in a practical political way but in an intellectual way too. So, perhaps!
        Well, being the children of the president, I’m sure they’ve been brought up knowing that they’ve got a role to play. Think of how much what they wear, who they’re friends with, what they say, where they go must be controlled already. Adding Christianity to the lie probably wouldn’t be too much hassle.
        And is this right? Well, in idealistic terms, no. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the child of the president.
        But someone’s got to be the president. And somebody’s going to be their child. And, pragmatically, if Barack Obama thinks he really can help to benefit the lives of people in America, and across the globe, then that may just be worth having to bring up his children in the odd charade that is modern politics.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Political reality is such that, while the President can’t be all things to all people, he at least needs to make the best effort he can to be all things to all people. He needs to host Easter Egg rolls, Christmas tree lightings, Passover Seders, and break the fast at Eid al Fitr. He invites Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs to the white house, and groups of every kind imaginable. In each case he needs to be familiar with national and traditional customs and pay respect to them. That’s the job. Every President has done these things forever. Jefferson was the first to host Muslims at Eid, and the tradition continue up through George Bush.

      One thing I haven’t notice anyone mention is that President Obama is the first President to explicitly acknowledge non-believers in his inaugural address, and it may have made it into other speeches as well. Jefferson made reference to agnostics and philosophers in some private letters.

      If he is a Christian, he’s not a fundamentalist. He doesn’t let God decide things for him. He’s data driven and pragmatic. He’ll follow the evidence and adopt what works.

      • Molly Sandford
        Posted April 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        I agree. He needs to acknowledge all people and all traditions. Especially as the Constitution is explicit in saying that there is no national religion (though I will admit, as a British person, I’m never quite sure why the Constitution holds *quite* so much importance in the US). I think, if Obama is a Christian, then he’s probably a very liberal one who separates faith from political decisions (as should be the way and is, again, stated in the Constitution).
        Meanwhile I’ll just hold out for a Native American, female, homosexual atheist in the White House.

        • tomh
          Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          ” I think, if Obama is a Christian, then he’s probably a very liberal one who separates faith from political decisions ”

          On some issues he does. He did rescind the Bush-era conscience clause regulations – on the other hand he has actually expanded the faith-based grants that Bush began. And, although in the 2008 campaign he promised to reform Bush regulations on such things as hiring for these programs, that never happened. So tax dollars can still fund, under a George W. Bush executive order, a religious organization that decides, for example, to fire gay employees because its religion so dictates, or that it will only hire people of the same faith. His church/state record, like the rest of his presidency, is decidedly mixed.

          • Molly Sandford
            Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

            Okay fair enough. My opinion on that matter was based on his views on the main social issues of the last election (abortion, the death penalty, birth control, gay marriage e.t.c.) in comparison to those of his Republican contemporaries. I dislike making decisions based on partial evidence so I’ll look into that stuff – it sounds interesting. 🙂

            • tomh
              Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

              Oh, well, compared to the Republicans, it’s no contest – he’s in another league altogether.

              • Molly Sandford
                Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                Haha! Indeed.
                But I will certainly look up what you mentioned in your previous comment.

            • tomh
              Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

              This is an article from Salon detailing some of these problems, and this is the American Humanist Association’s take on it.

              • Molly Sandford
                Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

                Thanks! I’ll take a look 🙂

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 1, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        One thing I haven’t notice anyone mention is that President Obama is the first President to explicitly acknowledge non-believers in his inaugural address, and it may have made it into other speeches as well. Jefferson made reference to agnostics and philosophers in some private letters.

        Oh, it was talked about at the time. And he’s thrown us a sop or two since, but seems to be mentioning us less often rather than more so. Anyway, compared to dragging on the Iraq war, his religiosity is a minor affront to secular humanism.

        • Bruce S. Springsteen
          Posted April 2, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

          Maybe he sucked up to us to help him get reelected, and now that he’s in his second term he’s saying what he really thinks.

          • Jeff Johnson
            Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            Right. Maybe he’s got shape-shifting reptilian security guards mentally controlling his every move.

  29. Jeff Johnson
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    On the bright side we have this, visible support for a project to map the human brain. This is something that should be very threatening to the dogmatically religious.

  30. DV
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    He’s going over backwards just to emphasize he’s not Muslim.


%d bloggers like this: