In his Christmas speech on December 23, President Biden said, referring to Christmas’s religious significance,
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is given. There is a certain stillness at the center of the Christmas story. A silent night when all the world goes quiet and all the glamour, all the noise, everything that divides us, everything that pits us against one another, everything — everything that seems so important but really isn’t, this all fades away in stillness of the winter’s evening. And we look to the sky, to a lone star, shining brighter than all the rest, guiding us to the birth of a child—a child Christians believe to be the son of God; miraculously now, here among us on Earth, bringing hope, love and peace and joy to the world.”
Many conservative blogs, pundits and celebrities “pounced,” attacking the President for not mentioning Jesus by name.
The headline at The Daily Wire was “Biden Delivers Christmas Address Without Mentioning Jesus By Name: ‘A Child Christians Believe To Be The Son Of God’” Father Gerald Murray of the Archdiocese of New York told Newsmax that it made “no sense” for Biden to omit the name of Jesus from his annual Christmas address to the country. “President Biden is always talking about his Catholicism and how it inspired him,” Murray said. “If you’re going to honor the birth of Jesus, you should mention his name. I was very sad to see that. That’s not anything that should be imitated in the future.” Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican and former member of the House,said, “Not saying the name of Jesus—look, there are other holidays to celebrate, but Christmas is the birth of Christ. When we celebrate the birth of Christ who came and gave us the gift of life. That’s what we celebrate and to take that out is just sad.” The Heritage Foundation’s Kara Frederick, complained, “America’s lost its sense of God, it’s Judeo-Christian values, and I think this is just a manifestation. This speech not mentioning Christ, talking about how divided this nation’s been for so long, it’s all part and parcel of the secularization of America and we need to return to our faith.”
The United States is not supposed to have a stated “sense of God,” and for the President of the United States to officially espouse the beliefs of any particular religion is, according the the line of judicial interpretations of the Establishment Clause and the First Amendment, a violation of the Constitution.
Yes, Presidents have crossed the line before, and that still doesn’t make it ethical. Biden, for better or worse, and as little as he acts like it most of the time, is duty-bound to be President of all Americans and to use his power and influence in a manner that does not favor one group over others. Whoever wrote that speech—it sure wasn’t Joe, not that there’s anything wrong with that—went right up to the ledge of endorsing Christianity without falling.
The President deserves praise for successfully navigating that perilous journey, not criticism.