Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Brace Yourself for Lots of "Holier Than Thou" Nonsense

Sunday was Easter, which is the last really Jesus-y holiday before the election (sorry, Lee Greenwood, the Fourth of July is not a religious holiday, "God Bless the U.S.A." or not). This meant that it was the last 100%, ironclad, guaranteed opportunity to take some potshots at Joe Biden's alleged wickedness.

There were two specific lines of complaint about the President when it came to this year's Easter festivities. The first one was that in addition to observing Easter, Biden also declared Sunday to be the annual Transgender Day of Visibility. The second was that, during the White House Easter Egg Roll, there was a prohibition on displays of religious imagery.

To take one example, among many, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) got on Twitter to blast Biden:

The Biden White House has betrayed the central tenet of Easter—which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Banning sacred truth and tradition—while at the same time proclaiming Easter Sunday as "Transgender Day"—is outrageous and abhorrent. The American people are taking note.

Johnson was not only supported here by his fellow Republicans, but also by the "nonpartisan" Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Wilton Gregory, who opined that the President is a "cafeteria Catholic" who picks and chooses which parts of the Bible he chooses to follow. The White House, of course, pushed back against all of this. A Catholic president isn't going to call out a Catholic archbishop by name, but a Baptist Speaker of the House is fair game, so Biden decreed that Johnson is "thoroughly uninformed."

Who has the right of it here? In many cases, with these sorts of questions, that's not so easy to answer. In this case, on the other hand, it's pretty clear. Starting with the Transgender Day of Visibility, it always falls on March 31, and has ever since it was first observed back in 2009. Ipso facto, if Easter falls on March 31, as it did this year, then the two commemorations are going to be on the same day.

We might also add that, while we are not theologians, the staff historian has studied (and taught about) Jesus' ministry. And he is having a hard time understanding how Jesus' message of radical inclusivity does not include trans people. Remember, this has nothing to do with approval; Jesus also embraced thieves, prostitutes, and others whose behavior he considered problematic. So, it does not matter what one's opinion on trans people is, inclusivity means everyone. Incidentally, the Transgender Day of Visibility is also observed in Ireland, Spain and Brazil, among other nations. But what would people there know about how to be a good Catholic, right?

As to the Easter Egg Roll, the prohibition on religious imagery clearly exists for two reasons. The first is to avoid running afoul of the separation of church and state. The second is to make sure all invitees are comfortable; undoubtedly the crowd will include some Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. Note that the same policy was observed... while Donald Trump was president. And George W. Bush. And George H.W. Bush. And even St. Ronnie of Reagan.

Ultimately, the main point here is not to illustrate (yet again) the (apparent to us) hypocrisy of Republican politicians, particularly when it comes to matters of religion. It's to point out that Republicans know they need to really gin up the base to reverse their three-cycles-long losing streak, and part of their strategy is to really, really lean into the "we're as pure as the driven snow, while the opposition is the spawn of Satan" shtick. So, there's going to be a lot of this kind of rhetoric over the next 6 months. There is much irony, of course, in the fact that the target of the "he's not religious" vitriol is actually a churchgoing Christian, while the beneficiary of the "he's God's candidate" nonsense is in the running with Thomas Jefferson for the title of most irreligious man ever to serve as president. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates