Like the internerds at Google, it seems that the Reverend Luis Leon had his own non-traditional take on the true meaning of March 31st, celebrated in select circles as Easter.
On that day Leon, rector of Saint John’s (Episcopal) Church, decided to focus his homily on something other than the resurrection of the Lord and its meaning for mankind.
Had the reverend talked about farm-labor activist Cesar Chavez it would have been a vast improvement on the remarks he delivered during Easter services at the house of worship known as the “Church of Presidents” due to its close proximity to the White House and frequent visits by First Families.
Instead Rev. Leon delivered a sermon that has no place in civil political discourse let alone in a house of God, especially on the most important feast day in Christianity.
Here’s what Rev. Leon said at the pulpit before the president and the First Family: “It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back, back ,back, back for blacks to be back in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet and for immigrants to be back on their side of the border.”
Apparently Revered Leon got his Easter homily mixed up with his audition for keynote speaker at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
A self-described Republican activist/useful idiot/church parishioner tried to do some spin work on behalf of the pastor who performed his wedding and baptized his son by claiming that the “right wing” media distorted and mischaracterized Reverend Leon’s sermon.
The only thing more amazing than someone attempting to find an appropriate Easter message in that homily was that the Huffington Post ran an article rejecting the attempt to polish up the sermon, stating that Leon’s language “seems to accuse the religious right of actually being in favor of segregated schools, subservient housewives, bullied gays and an immigrant-free society.”
Reverend Leon doesn’t seem the least bit troubled over people misconstruing the meaning of his words. The pastor did not back away from his sermon, telling the Huffington Post that “It’s in there. People will do what they want with it.” Apparently it is what it was.
And the president’s take on the Easter morning demonization of religious conservatives in his presence?
When Fox News’ Ed Henry questioned White House Spokesman Jay Carney about the Reverend Leon’s Easter sermon, Obama’s talking-head refused to criticize the minister’s comments about the religious right, replying to the query by saying that the preacher was not an elected official and how a number of presidents have visited the church over the years.
In plainspeak, the president has no quarrel with preacher or his preaching.
This obviously isn’t the same Barack Obama who held a major speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia in 2008 as word spread about the race-baiting tirades of his one-time family minister in Chicago.
Back then candidate Obama denounced the content of some of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s sermons to be “not only wrong but divisive” and that they “expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country.”
The Philadelphia speech, titled “A More Perfect Union”, was a watershed moment in his campaign that helped salvage his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination from being swallowed by the Jeremiah Wright controversy in addition to providing him with an aura of being someone who would bring the country together in the general election.
Yet the president was all smiles while being escorted out of St. John’s Church by another demagogic reverend.
A better president, regardless of party, would have taken issue with Reverend Leon’s slanderous indictment of spiritual leaders with different opinions of the issues of the day. A better Christian would have admonished the preacher for defiling the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection with a petty political tirade.
Instead Obama grinned Amen.
Though we live in a society where one’s words can bring fiercer consequences than one’s actions, Reverend Leon will not likely face any retribution for going “Good Friday” on Christian conservatives, which is a poor reflection of his church and congregation.
Rather than using his pulpit to light a candle for the Lord and the faith, Reverend Leon chose to embrace the darkness by cursing others.