Religious Right Turns Holy Week Into Festival of Lies, False Persecution Propaganda


Religious-right leaders used the holiest days in the Christian calendar to spread lies about President Joe Biden and incite their followers to anger with deceptive claims of anti-Christian persecution. The episode is further evidence that the supposed guardians of truth have little actual regard for it.

The manufactured outrage about President Biden’s supposed efforts to “cancel” and “replace” Easter had two targets: the rules for a White House egg decorating contest and the happenstance that the annual March 31 Transgender Day of Visibility fell on the same date as Easter this year.

First, the eggs. Some conservatives railed against a flyer with rules for a White House egg decorating contest for children of National Guard members, which said that artwork “must not include any questionable content, religious symbols, overtly religious themes, or partisan political statements.” NBC News did some truth-telling about these rules, citing the American Egg Board’s confirmation that the same guideline language has been in use for 45 years. So it is utterly dishonest to portray those rules as an attack on faith concocted by the Biden administration.

The louder outrage on the right came when the White House issued on Friday, along with a number of other ceremonial statements, a proclamation recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility, which always falls on March 31. This year, that date happened to coincide with Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, giving religious-right leaders an apparently irresistible temptation to demonize transgender people and try to turn the recognition into some kind of attack on Christians and Christianity itself.

In reality, of course, President Joe Biden is a practicing Catholic, and recognized Easter with a statement saying, “Jill and I send our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday.” More from the White House Easter statement:

Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s Resurrection.

As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. We pray for one another and cherish the blessing of the dawn of new possibilities. And with wars and conflict taking a toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to work for peace, security, and dignity for all people.

From our family to yours, happy Easter and may God bless you.

But never mind that, there’s outrage to be mined!

On Monday, Ben Johnson of the Family Research Council’s Washington Stand outlet, ranted, “Late last week, the Biden administration prohibited children from expressing their Christian faith while redesignating Easter Sunday as the ‘Transgender Day of Visibility.’ Biden literally banished Christianity from a children’s contest celebrating its most joyful holiday while exalting a radical and harmful ideology in its place.” Johnson accused Biden of “replacing Christianity with a new holiday celebrating transgender ideology.” That is literally a bunch of malarkey, as President Biden might say.

Musician, far-right dominionist, and ardently pro-Trump political activist Sean Feucht seemingly could not stop himself from posting repeatedly over the weekend, making one bogus claim after another. In one video shared on X, he claimed, “JOE BIDEN TRIES TO CANCEL RESURRECTION SUNDAY.” Not remotely true. In another post he claimed Biden was “replacing Easter with perversion and sexual immorality.” Easter wasn’t “replaced” with anything.

In the religious-right outlet The Stream, dominionist Michael Brown charged Biden with using “his bully platform to mock” Christians. “First he announced ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’ on Good Friday,” fumed Brown. “Then, he timed things so that it would be celebrated this year on Resurrection (Easter) Sunday.” What? Biden “timed things”? I’m pretty sure the president had nothing to do with the fact that Easter happened to fall on March 31 this year. Still, Brown urged his readers to “feel the full force of the outrage of the moment.”

If you needed any more convincing that all this fake outrage was about keeping evangelicals fired up to vote for Trump, Feucht claimed, “CHRISTIANS: This is your warning to completely separate yourselves from this demonic blasphemous administration,” adding, “They are evil.” Right-wing pundit Allie Beth Stucky weighed in with “Just a reminder that there is 0 justification for a Christian to ever vote Democrat.” Matt Walsh declared that Biden is “a demon.” Trump himself got in on the action, calling the announcement part of the administration’s “years-long assault on the Christian faith.”

Dominionist Mario Murillo declared that Biden’s proclamation recognizing the lives and contributions of transgender people was “intimidation pure and simple. An intimidation to crush hope, induce despair and discourage resistance.”

“How is it possible for Biden to desecrate Easter so blatantly with little or no backlash from America let alone the church?” Murillo asks. His answer:

There is a demonic hedge around Biden. This hedge blinds millions. It dulls our natural sense of danger and outrage. America is under a spell.

To break that spell we must resort to a different kind of praying: vehement intercession. We must pray prayers that execute eviction orders on Satan.

They declared war on us. Now we must declare war on devils and their power structure. We must aim our war prayers directly at principalities and rulers in the heavens.

The White House, which welcomed tens of thousands of people to the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn Monday, criticized the “cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric” spewed by right-wing political and religious leaders.

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