Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obama Gives Christmas Message To Children At D.C. Boys and Girls Club

On Monday, President Obama visited a Boys and Girls Club in Washington, D.C. and gave the children present a largely religious-themed message about Christmas. The White House has posted his remarks and the response by the children listening. Here is part of it:

THE PRESIDENT: I think one thing that's important to remember is that, even though there's a lot of fun at Christmas, you know, you got -- especially when it's snowy like this, so it's pretty outside, you got the Christmas tree, you got the Christmas cookies, you've got presents. You know, I think that the most important thing is just to remember why we celebrate Christmas.

CHILD: I know!

THE PRESIDENT: Do you know?

CHILD: The birth of baby Jesus.

THE PRESIDENT: The birth of baby Jesus, and what he symbolizes for people all around the world is the possibility of peace and people treating each other with respect. And so I just hope that spirit of giving that's so important at Christmas, I hope all of you guys remember that as well. You know, it's not just about getting gifts but it's also doing something for other people....

CHILD: I know why we give gifts to other people.

THE PRESIDENT: Why is that?

CHILD: Because the three wise men gave gifts to baby Jesus.

THE PRESIDENT: That's exactly right.... You know, the three wise men, if you think about it, here are these guys, they have all this money, they've got all this wealth and power, and yet they took a long trip to a manger just to see a little baby. And it just shows you that just because you're powerful or you're wealthy, that's not what's important. What's important is what's -- the kind of spirit you have.

So I hope everybody has a spirit of kindness and thoughtfulness, and everybody is really thinking about how can they do for other people -- treating them well, because that's really the spirit of Christmas....

THE PRESIDENT: ...[T]he thing that I want everybody to remember, the most important message I can leave is, is that you guys have so much potential -- one of you could end up being President some day. But it's only going to happen if you stay focused and you work hard in school.... That's the most important thing you can do.


vjack said...

Didn't the U.S. Supreme Court rule that while the government can celebrate Christmas, it cannot support Christian doctrine? How is this legal?

LexAequitas said...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Even extending the amendment to cover the President (I think it rightly extends to bodies created by Congress), it's hard to see how a general statement of support constitutes any kind of a law.

vjack said...

The same could be said for nativity scenes inside government buildings, and yet, that is usually not considered legal.

Bob Ritter said...

Oh LexAequitas, you are taking the word "law" literally. The courts, however, construe law more broadly to include acts by governmental officials and employees.

President Obama has been a huge disappointment to persons who believe in separation of church and state. During the election, his campaign staff tried to assure us by saying that Obama, as a law professor, taught Constitutional Law. Apparently he must have skipped the section on the Establishment Clause.

CMC said...

State sponsored religious displays are state endorsements of religion and violate the Establishment Clause.

Religious speech by the President may or may not violate the Est Cl, depending on whether he is speaking in his official capacity or his personal capacity. After all, becoming President should not mean that Obama cannot talk about his faith for eight years.

Bea said...

Its hard to see how a general statement of support constitutes any kind of a law.

Barb said...

The president has free speech rights and a right to free expression of religious belief -- he is talking about Jesus --not establishing a religion.

It's interesting how he could laud most any other good man in history without being criticized for it, but if he lauds Jesus, he's guilty of establishing a religion!

O you petty, dangerous Grinches, YOU!

May God bless Obama and the USA for telling these kids some truth. Notice, too, that the kids initiated the religious talk!!! with their comments. What was he supposed to do if he disagreed? just say so? Hardly! He did the right thing to tie into THEIR beliefs about the positive aspects of the Christmas story.

I was disappointed, though, that he said the most important thing they could do is study in school --it is CERTAINLY IMPORTANT --and should be a top priority for kids who want to climb out of poverty and find jobs some day. But even more important is that they follow this Christ in whom many of them already believe --and grow up to be good, law-abiding, kind people --and Obama did talk about kindness.

I realize that he couldn't tell them to believe in Jesus in order to be saved (the most important truth and priority) --so he did pretty well with the topic.

If I were him, however, I would not call studying in school the most important thing --but one of the most important. Some kids will never be achievers at school --and they should feel that they nevertheless can be EXCELLENT in GOODNESS! and excellent in their efforts in school, paying attention and minding their teachers, doing homework, turning off the tv and games -- with the help of God they can be successful in the ways that matter!