(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama on Monday issued a statement marking the start of Ramadan, the month devoted to prayer and fasting in the Muslim religion.
“As Ramadan begins, Michelle and I would like to send our best wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world,” the statement reads. “Ramadan is a festive time that is anticipated for months by Muslims everywhere.”
Obama did not issue a statement marking Easter this year, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about it during a press conference on April 25.
“You guys traditionally put out statements or proclamations on various religious holidays and I don’t think I saw one from the president on Easter yesterday and was just wondering if there’s any reason one didn’t go out?” a reporter asked.
Carney responded, “You know, the president went to the church yesterday; it was well covered. I’m not sure if we put out a statement or not, but he obviously personally celebrated Easter with his family and went to church to celebrate that, and–”
Another reported interjected, “Wait a minute. The highest Christian holiday and you don’t know if he put out a statement?”
Carney responded, “I’m glad you’re asking these key important questions, guys. The fact is, the president took his family to church in a very high-profile way to celebrate Easter. I think it was highly visible to most Americans. And he – as a devoted Christian, he believes it’s a very important holiday for him personally, for his family and for Christians around the country.”
A review of presidential statements documented at whitehouse.gov indicates that Obama has apparently not issued a statement specifically about Easter since taking office in January 2009.
Obama did host Easter prayer breakfasts at the White House in 2010 and again this year. He has also hosted Ramadan iftar meals and Passover seders.
In 2009, Easter fell on April 12. During that month, Obama made multiple statements on a wide range of issues, including Armenian Remembrance Day, World Malaria Day, the Month of the Military Child, and the passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights.
In 2010, Easter fell on April 4. The numerous statements issued by Obama during that month included one on financial reform and, for the second year in the row, Armenian Remembrance Day. Obama also issued statements that month on Earth Day, his planned trip to Poland, voters’ rights in the District of Columbia, a Russian plutonium reactor, and Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Obama did, however, refer to both Easter and Passover in a “holiday greetings” weekly address on April 3, 2010.
This year, Easter was celebrated on April 24. During that month, Obama again issued a statement marking Armenian Remembrance Day. Statements were also made by Obama on the 16th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the 17th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, and the work of the United Nations in Afghanistan. He also issued a Passover message on April 15.
President George W. Bush issued statements marking Easter, Passover and Ramadan each year he was president.
Bush also hosted iftars and Hannukah parties at the White House, as well as a National Day of Prayer service in the East Room each spring – a practice Obama scaled down in 2009.