WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – While Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron issued an Easter message praising Christians in his country for living out their faith "in schools, in prisons, in community groups," President Obama used a moment during the White House Easter prayer breakfast on Tuesday to take a jab at U.S. Christians—or at least some of them.
"On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love," Obama said according to a White House transcript. "And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned," he said.
He did not provide context for his criticism, but it could have been directed at political critics or a comment about the ongoing debate about marriage which erupted in a firestorm in Indiana and Arkansas last week regarding religious freedom laws that were proposed.
For his part, Cameron avoided any negativism and used a strongly positive, even advocating, tone toward Christians for the entirety of his recorded message.
"The Church is not just a collection of beautiful old buildings; it is a living, active force doing great works across our country," he said.
"When people are homeless, the Church is there with hot meals and shelter. When people are addicted or in debt; when people are suffering, or grieving - the Church is there."
"Across Britain, Christians don't just talk about 'loving thy neighbor, they live it out," Cameron said in declaring he was proud to say England "is a Christian country.
Up until making his off-the-cuff negative comment, President Obama had used his prepared remarks in a more positive spirit, sharing about "the sheer enormity of Jesus's [sic] sacrifice" as well as "the glorious Resurrection of our Savior."
He also used the time to encourage Christians "to see the Lord" in those in need.
"Isn't that how Jesus lived? Isn't that how He loved?" he asked. "Embracing those who were different; serving the marginalized; humbling Himself to the last."
At that point he went off message to offer his criticism.
However, he closed by pointing to his own faults and encouraging Christians not to give up in following Christ.
"I pray that we will live up to His example," he said. "I pray that I will live up to His example. I fall short so often. Every day I try to do better.
"I pray that we will be strengthened by His eternal love. I pray that we will be worthy of His many blessings," he added before drawing the breakfast to close in prayer.