President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden addressed the United States on Sunday with a noteworthy Easter-themed message.
Critics were quick to point out that the commander in chief omitted any mention of Jesus, opting instead to reference COVID-19 vaccination rates on multiple occasions.
“For a second year”
In a tweet, he wrote: “From our family to yours, we wish you health, hope, joy, and peace. Happy Easter, everyone!”
Biden’s message continued with “warmest Easter greetings” from the first family, noting that this year’s celebration of “this most holy day” will include many American families “going without familiar comforts of the season.”
Although he included comments regarding the Gospel of John and Pope Francis, he neglected to directly reference Jesus Christ’s resurrection as the reason Christians celebrate the holiday. He did, however, include multiple reminders to get a vaccination shot.
The Bidens have long cited their faith as members of the Roman Catholic Church, so they certainly understood the Easter story yet chose to “celebrate” the holiday by highlighting COVID-19.
“The virus is not gone, and so many of us still feel the longing and loneliness of distance,” the president added. “For a second year, most will be apart from their families, their friends, the full congregations that fill us with joy.”
“A different feeling today”
Despite his warnings, many American Christians nevertheless chose to gather for in-person Easter celebrations.
A federal judge ruled last month that houses of worship in Washington, D.C., could gather for religious services without the previous limit of 25% capacity or 250 congregants.
The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation’s capital met for worship on Easter Sunday. The 3,000-seat venue allowed about one-third of its capacity to be filled.
Julia Omotade, a D.C.-area eucharistic minister, suggested that the event had “a different feeling today” with indications that “we’re almost home in terms of being pandemic-free.”
While Biden might not be ready to return to church or even mention the name of Jesus, many Americans had already made the decision to fill pews across the nation in time to celebrate the actual reason for the season.