President Obama and his family attended Easter Day services at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, just across Lafayette Park from the White House. A detailed White House pool report, however, created some discord on an otherwise peaceful day - warranting headlines in the Drudge Report, The Weekly Standard and The Blaze, among other news outlets.
The phrase that began it all was “captains of the religious right,” found in the sermon by Rev. Luis Leon.
“Obama hears shock attack sermon,” heralded TheBlaze.com
Here’s the exact White House transcript:
Highlights from the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon’s sermon:
Opened with a welcome and a joke about people who came to church just so they could tell their parents or people they’re having lunch with later that they did.
What God wants of every one of us is to believe as much as we can at a given moment … it’s all right to have doubts.
We often want things to go back to the way things used to be, before “work got difficult and faith got confused, and life got more confusing,” but when we dwell on the “if only” of life we forget that “God addresses us in the now.”
As Jesus told Mary not to hold on to the past, “You cannot go back.”
“It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back … for blacks to be back in the back of the bus … for women to be back in the kitchen … for immigrants to be back on their side of the border.”
“The message of Easter is about the power of love over loveless power.”
“Easter vision” will allow you to see the whole world in a different way. “There is no injustice so insidious that there can be no truth … no war so deep that there can be no peace … no enemy so bitter that they can’t become a friend.”
“Easter vision” means recognizing reality in a new and wonderful way.
“May God bless you with Easter vision now and forever.”
The sermon was followed by the prayers of the faithful, led by Rev. Patrick Williams, which included prayers for “Barack, our president,” and for “leaders in Afghanistan, Haiti, and the Middle East.
Next on the program was “The Peace”(during which members of the congregation shake hands and greet each other with “The peace of the Lord be with you,” etc.)
This was followed by the Holy Communion (along with its accompanying collection, hymns, and recitation of The Lord’s Prayer).
Pool was able to catch a glimpse of POTUS and the First Lady taking communion.
The post-communion prayer was “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Pool was ushered out at 12:39, before the dismissal. Now outside the church waiting for the president’s exit.
A correction: It was an error to assume that the Obamas were seated in the first pew. National Journal’s George Condon has pointed out that, according to the church website, it is tradition for the president to sit in pew 54.
The transcript ends there. The pool report was filed early Sunday afternoon by Jenee Desmond-Harris of TheRoot.com, an online magazine.