President Obama has been invoking Jesus Christ a lot lately, and it’s hard to see another reason for this new behavior other than it appeals to a certain large group of voters who tend to be believers.
In his Christmas-related remarks this year, Obama has been much more personal about his own belief and for the first time invoked the name of Jesus Christ, departing from the more secular, universal messages of previous years.
In the 2010 Midterm elections, white middle class voters abandoned the Democrats en masse. In order to achieve reelection, Obama will need to keep as many as possible of these often church-going voters from straying to the Republicans. His ability to hold white middle class voters will determine whether or not he wins in key states like Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida and elsewhere.
In recent weeks, we’ve found Michelle Obama awkwardly in attendance at that other white middle class church – a NASCAR track, where she was booed – as well as shopping at Target and, along with her husband, hosting country music night at the White House. Meanwhile, he’s been taking campaign-style bus trips through the Midwest and North Carolina and Virginia, everywhere rolling through must win states filled with the demographic.
Obama’s increasingly overt religious message seems consistent with this.
Sunday, after attending church, Obama made his annual appearance on the “Christmas in Washington” special, taped for broadcast December 16.
Here’s the passage where he referred to Christ:
This is the season to celebrate the story of how, more than two thousand years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among cattle and sheep. He was no ordinary child. He was the manifestation of God’s love. And every year we celebrate His birth because the story of Jesus Christ changed the world.
For me, and for millions of Americans, His story has filled our hearts and inspired our lives. It moves us to love one another; to help and serve those less fortunate; to forgive; to draw close to our families; to be grateful for all that has been given to us; to keep faith; and to hold on to an enduring hope in humanity.
In 2010, Jesus barely makes and appearance in Obama’s remarks – and not by name, and not with the accompanying reference to Christian doctrine.
This season reminds us that more than 2,000 years ago, a child born in a stable brought our world a redeeming gift of peace and salvation. It’s a story with a message that speaks to us to this day — that we are called to love each other as we love ourselves, that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper, and our destinies are linked. It’s a message that guides my Christian faith and it focuses us as we think about all those whose holidays may be a bit tougher this year.
Obama also added significant new religious flourishes this year during the annual Christmas Tree Lighting on December 1.
Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us. And He grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful: that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
So it seems The One has signed up The Messiah. I can only hope for Jesus’s sake that He is not on the email list too.
But don’t fret, Republicans. Moses may still be available.