President Donald J. Trump’s weekly address last Friday was dedicated to recognizing the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter that were celebrated this past weekend. This time is always an opportunity for the president to honor two highly important celebrations in two of the most significant religious traditions in the United States. Yet, in a move that should surprise no one, Trump still found a way to make his message divisive.
Here are some excerpts from his remarks:
America is a Nation [sic] of believers.
And we pray for the strength and wisdom to achieve a better tomorrow—one where good people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience.
As long as we have faith in each other, and trust in God, we will succeed.
Trump’s words certainly make me miss the days of Obama, the first president to recognize “nonbelievers” in an inaugural address, and a leader who regularly mentioned humanists and nonbelievers in various other speeches throughout his presidency.
True, a statement on Passover and Easter may not be the place to give the secular movement a shout-out, but to boldly claim that we are “a nation of believers” is yet another one of Trump’s many lies and demonstrates a complete disrespect for the growing percentage of nonbelievers in America.
To compare, Barack Obama’s simple statement on Easter in 2016 was four sentences that focused on both remembrance and celebration during Easter. Even his simple words of “we wish all who celebrate a blessed and joyful Easter” demonstrates how respectful he is toward those who don’t celebrate—a recognition of the true religious, and nonreligious, diversity of America.
From his ban on Muslim immigrants to his promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment, we know that Trump has no interest in supporting any religion other than evangelical Christianity. This should be disturbing not just to nonbelievers, but to all Americans who value religious freedom.