President Obama sent an Easter greeting Saturday that focused heavily on what people of all faiths have in common.
The president made it clear that his family will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, but made an effort to extend a Passover greeting to Jewish families and to address Hindus, Muslims and people of no faiths in his holiday message.
Most of his weekly address was focused on the dreams and goals that Americans, regardless of their faith, have in common. The president spoke about the dignity and security that comes with the ability to wok and support a person’s family, the value of health and the importance of education.
“All of us are striving to make a way in this world; to build a purposeful and fulfilling life in the fleeting time we have here,” Obama said. “A dignified life. A healthy life. A life, true to its potential. And a life that serves other.”
“These are aspirations that stretch back through the ages – aspirations at the heart of Judaism, at the heart of Christianity, at the heart of all the world’s great religions,” the president added.
Obama’s Easter greeting is starkly different from that of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Bush’s Easter messages usually cited a Bible verse and was exclusively addressed to a Christian audience.
In 2004, Bush’s Easter message was entitled “The Lord is Risen Indeed” and cited Luke 24:34. The message was clearly about victory over sin through the love of God as shown through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
“I send greetings to Christians around the world as they gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Bush had said. “Jesus’ life and teachings continue to speak to every generation, and Christians believe his miraculous resurrection provides hope for the future and offers us the promise of new life.”
“Through his ministry and sacrifice, Jesus demonstrated God’s unconditional love for us,” he continued. “For those who observe Easter, our faith brings confidence that good will overcome evil and that joy is everlasting.”
In 2008, Bush’s Easter message addressed the American troops in Iraq and he spoke about the “gift that took away death’s sting.”
"These brave individuals have lived out the words of the Gospel: 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,'" he had said. "And our nation's fallen heroes live on in the memory of the nation they helped defend."
While Bush is known for his unabashed evangelical Christian convictions, President Obama has taken the route of affirming his Christian faith while extending a hand to people of other faiths as well as Americans of no faiths.
Obama asked Americans during this Easter and Passover season to be mindful of their common bonds.
“Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all those celebrating, here in America, and around the world,” Obama said.