Though President Obama hasn't picked a church in D.C. to be his family's church, he does attend from time to time. Yesterday, Easter, He visited Saint John's Episcopal Church to commemorate, well, it's hard to tell what was commemorated.
By the accounts of the sermon that was preached, I have a simple one-word assessment:
The CNN Religion Blog's headline reads, "Obama hears hint of politics during Easter sermon," The Washington Post, "Obama attends Easter service; minister criticizes 'captains of the religious right'," and Newsmax is the most straightforward when they say, "Obama Pastor Bashes 'Religious Right' During Easter Sermon."
The sermon included only two real errors - its politics and its theology. Other than that, I am sure it was wonderful.
The minister upbraided the religious and political right of wanting to send blacks to the back of the bus. He accused those same people of wanting to look back to days of oppression and hatred. In reality, he will not be able to name a single individual who actually wants to do that and his entire point of view here is dependent upon misguided emotion, not fact.
Theologically he stated that Easter is about the lesson of looking forward and not backward, about the "power of love not loveless power," and moving into more modern views on love and marriage. Shame on him. None of that is true of Easter. This is a case of a political creature wantonly and unthinkingly imposing his personal preferences upon the Resurrection.
Quite frankly, don't call that a church service. Let's call it what it was - political pandering blessed with a pulpit on a Sunday morning.
Don't call that service something that was delivered by a pastor. Pastors ought to know better than to say those kinds of hateful and ignorant things under the guise of an Easter sermon. And I am sure this kind of thing - and all sorts of silly things - was said hundreds of times over yesterday, which makes it all that more depressing.
The Church belongs to a power much greater than any nation, even the office of the President of the United States, and we lower ourselves when we pander this much.