President Barack Obama issued an Easter address Saturday urging people of all faiths, along with nonbelievers, to embrace their common aspirations and "shared spirit of humanity."
Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to touch lightly on some of his administration's top priorities: expanding health coverage, creating jobs and improving education. But his comments were more spiritual than political in tone.
"On this Easter weekend," he said, "let us hold fast to those aspirations we hold in common as brothers and sisters, as members of the same family — the family of man."
Obama noted that Jewish families recently celebrated Passover, and on Sunday, "my family will join other Christians all over the world in marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
He also embraced a broader, more ecumenical audience. "While we worship in different ways," the president said, "we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all — Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike."
Work is important to people's security and dignity, Obama said. "That is why it was heartening news that last month, for the first time in more than two years, our economy created a substantial number of jobs, instead of losing them," he said.
He called health "the rock upon which our lives are built." He made no direct reference, however, to the recently enacted health care legislation, which divided Congress and the nation.
Education is valuable, the president said, but "we also know that ultimately, education is about something more, something greater. It is about the ability that lies within each of us to rise above any barrier, no matter how high; to pursue any dream, no matter how big; to fulfill our God-given potential."
Obama cited American troops who held a multifaith Easter service during some of the Pacific's fiercest fighting in World War II.
"As Easter begins and Passover comes to a close," he said, "let us remain ever mindful of the unity of purpose, the common bond, the love of you and of me, for which they sacrificed all they had; and for which so many others have sacrificed so much."
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