No one really throws hard balls to the President, so it was still somewhat surprising when he and/or folks within his administration took three big swings at all things Easter and came up with a goose egg (not the kind you want to find on Easter). The first swing and miss came courtesy of President Obama’s choice of which church he and his family would worship at on Easter Sunday morning.
Now, as a (Southern) Baptist pastor, I take some comfort knowing that the President chose to worship at the historic Shiloh Baptist Church in the nation’s Capital. Having worshipped at a large Methodist church last Easter (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I was glad to hear that the First Family would be worshipped with Christians of the Baptist persuasion this Easter.
However, my joy turned to perplexity when I discovered (no thanks to the Washington Post and other MSM) more of the history of Shiloh Baptist Church, particularly of their current pastor. Even as we can celebrate the founding of Shiloh by freed slaves in 1863, one has to wonder why the President or his people chose this particular Baptist church at attend on Easter? Was it because the church hosted a “anti-Israel hate fest in 2009?”
In October of 2009, while Taylor (an Associate Pastor) was serving in the Shiloh Baptist Church and as an intern in the Obama administration, the church hosted a hate Israel conference sponsored by a radicalized Palestinian Christian liberation theology group that called the establishment of Israel “The Catastrophe” (Nakba) and has openly questioned Israel’s right to exist. (full article here)
Was Shiloh Baptist chosen by (or for) America’s first post-racial President because the current pastor, Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, sees Christianity in terms of race, not unlike Obama’s former pastor?
“[Pastor Smith] talked about how his baby grandson’s gurgling is actually “talking” because he is saying ‘I am here … they tried to write me off as 3/5 a person in the Constitution, but I am here right now … and is saying I am not going to let anybody from stopping me from being what God wants me to be.’” (full article here)
That Dr. Smith could even ask such a question belies a complete disconnect from reality. That a Christian pastor would somehow see racists or white supremacists as the ones who would stop his grandson from “being what God wants me to be” when, at the same time, you have the most pro-abortion President sitting in your pews — who has gone out of his way to support abortion, kind of making it impossible at the front-end for anyone’s grandchild to be all that God wants them to be — should tell us all that we need to know about Dr. Wallace Charles Smith.
I’m not sure which is worse: that President and Mrs. Obama chose Shiloh themselves or that their advance team chose Shiloh as the place where the Obama’s would celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. For someone supposedly the smartest man who has ever occupied the Oval Office, this President’s choices would certainly argue the opposite.
Those choices include the people who the President surrounds himself with. One of the more important — and visible — people in the Obama Administration is the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney. While Jay may think that he is a gifted communicator, he (and by extension, the President) took two more swings at Easter-related pitches and whiffed both of them.
First, when asked why the President did not release an official proclamation on Easter, Mr. Carney seemed to dismiss the question in a rather mocking style. As I have not watched him in press conferences that much, I don’t know whether or not a condescending style by Mr. Carney is normal or not. If I had to guess, I would say yes.
In trying to explain that the President and his family attended Easter Worship Services at Shiloh Baptist Church, Carney tried to downplay the significance of no Easter proclamation. While it was nice that the Obama’s attended church (although see my caveat above), church attendance and Easter proclamations are not mutually exclusive. Why couldn’t the President released a simple proclamation for what is arguably the single most important holiday for Christians? He seems to be able to produce proclamations for just about every major Muslim holiday, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to issue a proclamation around Easter.
But, instead of acknowledging the oversight (if it was an oversight), Mr. Carney laughed off the question in a way that seemed to be mocking the reported who asked. Whether or not one sees the need for an Easter proclamation from this President (or any other President) is not necessarily the issue. The reason why Carney swung and missed the second easy pitch was because of a pride that seems to have infected this White House.
The third swing and miss is a bit more problematic. It deals with Mr. Carney’s response to part of an interview that the Rev. Franklin Graham (son of famous evangelist Billy Graham) gave to ABC’s This Week which was broadcast on Easter Sunday morning. In answering a question about Donald Trump’s recent comments regarding President Obama’s birth certificate, Franklin Graham said:
“Well, the — the president I know has some issues to deal with here. He can solve this whole birth certificate issue pretty quickly. I don’t — I was born in a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, and I know that my records are there. You can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when I was born. I don’t know why he can’t produce that. So I’m not — I don’t know. But it’s an issue that looks like he could — he could answer pretty quickly.”
But, instead of ignoring or downplaying what Graham said, Carney chose to respond in a rather petulant fashion (I guess mockery and petulance will get you top communications positions in this White House):
Carney, in an abrupt answer, reacted and said, “It’s interesting that a minister would use Easter Sunday to make preposterous charges.”
Graham was not “using” Easter Sunday to make preposterous charges. He was answering a question that was asked the week before and then broadcast on Easter. I’m quite certain that neither ABC’s This Week nor its News Division gave Rev. Graham the authority to schedule when his interview would be aired.
He was responding to something that Donald Trump had said. His response, by the way, was perfectly reasonable, even for folks like me who do not consider ourselves “birthers.” Of course this is an issue that the President could answer pretty quickly, but for some odd reason, has chosen not to. But, then again, the President has been unwilling to release any of his records from college or law school either. At least he’s consistent.
With his erratic swing and miss at Franklin Graham, Jay Carney and the Presidential team – including its star player – struck out this Easter. There’s always next year, but with this President and the brilliant team that he has surrounded himself with, don’t look for them to do the right thing next Easter either. If they did, they would only be acknowledging mistakes they made this Easter. And that they will never do!
Filed under: Christianity, Politics, Religion, Worship · Tags: Charles Wallace Smith, church, communications, Easter, Easter Proclamation, Easter Worship, First Family, Franklin Graham, Jay Carney, pitches, Politics, President Obama, Religion, Shiloh Baptist Church, swing and miss, Washington D.C.