An Easter message from a head of state:
Religious holidays are special days, during which the society enjoys intense feelings of unity, solidarity and brotherhood.
Easter is one of the most important feasts, celebrated by our Christian citizens of various churches and groups.
We, with the strength and the understanding of justice we draw from our civilization which considers differences to be a source of richness, attach great importance to all our citizens’ ability to freely practice their religions, cultures and traditions in our country regardless of their belief, religion, sect or ethnicity.
I congratulate all Christians, our Christian citizens in particular, on the occasion of Easter. Peace be upon you!
The author is Recep Erdoğan, President of Turkey. He’s a conservative Muslim in a country where Muslims make up 82% of the population according to Ipsos and 99.8% according to the government. He is also an authoritarian populist, and has fought to bring the media and the judiciary under his control. However, there’s nothing wrong with the message. That is, it’s inoffensive and positive boilerplate.
There is no obligation on heads of state to issue Easter messages. Very few do. I can’t find any statement from the monarchs of Spain, Denmark, and Norway, or the President of Italy, countries where Christianity has a privileged status by constitution or custom. Queen Elizabeth of the UK didn’t say anything, but Prince Charles recorded a video, focussing on persecuted Christians round the world. The King and Queen of Sweden put a photo on Instagram of the couple sitting by a fire with their dog, Brandie, in the snow. Their message said, “The royal couple wishes a happy Easter from Storlien.” Tip: kings are not limited to 140 characters.
In the USA, the 45th President put out a bland combined Easter and Pesach message as is customary, on video. His real message was a furious anti-immigrant tweetstorm on Sunday morning, attacking Mexico, Dreamers -“NO MORE DACA DEAL!” -, NAFTA, Democrats, and Senate Republicans.
How much longer will Americans put up with so contemptible a man occupying – you can’t say filling – the office held by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama?