Your Holiness, in your words and deeds, you set a profound moral example. And in these gentle but firm reminders of our obligations to God and to one another, you are shaking us out of complacency. All of us may, at times, experience discomfort when we contemplate the distance between how we lead our daily lives and what we know to be true, what we know to be right. But I believe such discomfort is a blessing, for it points to something better. You shake our conscience from slumber; you call on us to rejoice in Good News, and give us confidence that we can come together in humility and service, and pursue a world that is more loving, more just, and more free. Here at home and around the world, may our generation heed your call to “never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope.”
At the same time, when you read the full text of the president’s speech you can well imagine that secularists might take exception. Here we have what some might think a clear violation of the high wall separating church and state (can you really violate a wall?).
But no. Conservatives object to the President for not being sufficiently friendly to religion and liberals look the other way when he engages in the sort of civil pieties that used to drive President Bush II and President Reagan’s critics nuts.
That indicates that religion matters in politics far less than party membership.