When I attended the National Prayer Breakfast back in February, I was struck by the clear confession of faith President Barack Obama gave. There were many speakers and every single one of them was talking about their faith. But while many speakers were opaque, Obama said things I wouldn’t be surprised to hear in my own church on Sunday morning. I left the country a few hours later so I never saw how the media covered that speech.
Well, yesterday President Obama hosted his second annual Easter breakfast. How do you hold an Easter event before Easter I will never understand, but I guess the Christian practice of fasting this week isn’t universal.
Anyway, if I thought his confession of faith was clear at the National Prayer Breakfast, I hardly know how to describe what he said yesterday. Here’s a snippet, as posted by The Baltimore Sun:
“We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities, from leading churches and denominations, to helping to administer important government programs, to shaping our culture in various ways. And I admit that my plate has been full as well. (Laughter.) The inbox keeps on accumulating. (Laughter.)
“But then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.
“And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world — past, present and future — and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.
“In the words of the book Isaiah: ‘But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.’
“This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son — his Son and our Savior.
Now, whenever President Obama says anything, you can expect coverage. And there was. But I’m curious what you think of the coverage. Particularly in the context of the poll results from last year showing that many Americans are either unsure of or wrong about which religion Obama adheres to.
It is perhaps surprising that some of the better coverage came from the conservative press, such as this CNSNews.com report that gave a full run-down.
Let me just concede that I realize it’s almost impossible to discuss an issue like this without acknowledging the politics swirling around.
This is pretty obvious, I know. But just from a media angle, remember how much the media covered those polls showing that huge chunks of people in all parties were confused about Obama’s religion? Isn’t that at least partly an indictment of how the media cover Obama’s own words about his faith? Even when he speaks very clearly about his own religious views, the news is covered but not highlighted, pushed to the margins or sent out on the wire without fanfare.
I know that this was not the biggest news of the day, but was it covered appropriately?