President Obama literally edited Christ out of his “holiday greeting” today when he excerpted a sermon given by a military chaplain on Iwo Jima on Easter Sunday 1945.
Below is the relevant paragraph from Obama’s holiday greeting today:
The rites of Passover, and the traditions of Easter, have been marked by people in every corner of the planet for thousands of years. They have been marked in times of peace, in times of upheaval, in times of war.
One such war-time service was held on the black sands of Iwo Jima more than sixty years ago. There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said “of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew. Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands…Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me.” The chaplain continued, “The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them…their only hope that this unity will endure.”
Their only hope that this unity will endure.
Now read below the same paragraph again, but this time note the additional bolded language that comes from the original audio of the 1945 sermon and its context, but which President Obama decided not to include:
There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said:
He has risen. With all due reverence, we apply these words to our beloved dead.
There are too many air call wings encrusted with the stain of their owners’ life blood, too many marine trousers upon the graves, too many symbols of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew. Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands under the fury of enemy guns here on Iwo Jima. Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me. Together they stand before the greatest soldier of them all – Jesus Christ, to receive the token of our triumph. For Christ has said: “Greater love than this no man hath then that he lay down his life for his friends.”
And so our beloved dead have gone from the world of hate to the world of eternal love.
The chaplain continued, “The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them in the drudgery of recruit training or here in the chaos of bursting shouts. Their only hope: that this unity will endure.”
And so our dead have risen to glory.
We’re all too aware that we live in an ecumenical time where no faith can be placed atop another and so a part of me understands that the President of the United States must take care not to engage in speechifying that might leave that impression.
But it is Easter. And Easter is a Christian holy day… the holiest of Christian holy days… and so mentioning Christ would seem respectful and appropriate.
Not however by this President.
I’ll allow Wordsmith of Flopping Aces to conclude for us:
As a non-Christian, I don’t feel excluded, offended, put-off, by religious holidays like this one. In fact, the commercialized aspects of it (Easter Bunny, egg hunts, etc.) like Christmas (Santa Claus, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, gift-giving, etc.), makes it nationally and universally accessible and all-inclusive to anyone who wants to be a part of the festivities. There is no good reason to segregate yourself off from what’s been an American tradition.
Vince Haley concludes with this question:
Is this the first American president to dechristianize Easter?
My guess is, “yes“.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.