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Conservatives outraged by ‘Easter worshippers’ aren’t offended by ‘Passover worshippers’

The same critics do not seem to be offended by the term "Passover worshippers."

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, on CNN on Sunday
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, on CNN on Sunday. CREDIT: CNN screenshot

Last week was bookended by two horrific attacks on religious worshipers attending holiday services. The reactions by the American right wing were quite different.

A week ago, conservative extremists were angry. After deadly Easter bombings at churches in Sri Lanka killed hundreds of worshippers on one of the holiest days in the Christian faith, some appeared to be upset by the sentence construction and word choice in the subsequent tributes.

In statements condemning the attacks and paying tribute to the victims, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro each used the term “Easter worshippers” to describe the victims of those attacks.

Conservative critics were incensed. Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich claimed this was an attempt to avoid using the word “Christian.”

Fox News host Jesse Watters made a similar charge. “They didn’t use ‘Christians.’ They didn’t say ‘churches.’ They actually said ‘Easter worshippers’ were under attack. Now, you don’t call Muslims Ramadan-worshippers. You don’t call Jews Passover-worshippers. It’s a made-up phrase.”

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Fox News hosts Brit Hume and Laura Ingraham, former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, One America News Network host Jack Posobiec, Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk, radio host Dennis Praeger, and Breitbart’s Joel Pollak also joined the fray, suggesting that this phrase was some sort of anti-Christian slur.

Even Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor to President Donald Trump, slammed Obama and Clinton for the phrase in a CNN interview. “I think there’s anti-Christianity. That’s why the Sri Lankans were gunned down. They’re not Easter worshippers, Obama and Hillary Clinton. They are Christians,” she asserted.

Rep. Alexandria Ocassio-Cortez (D-NY) pointed out how silly this argument was, tweeting to Conway:

After a mass shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, on Saturday, the Times of Israel’s Jewish News Reporter site posted a story with a sub-headline “19-year-old armed with firearm launches attack against passover worshippers in California community.”

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Indeed, some of Conway’s colleagues used similar language to express sympathies to the members of the Jewish community who had been observing Passover.

First Lady Melania Trump tweeted that she was “heartbroken” to hear about the “senseless shooting in a place of worship” on Passover.

And Elan Carr, Trump’s recently-appointed Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, tweeted on Saturday that the “attack on Passover worshipers at Chabad of Poway is a monstrous act of evil.”

As of publication, none of the people who were outraged by the term “Easter worshippers” have expressed similar outrage over these references to “Passover worshippers.”

Zack Ford contributed reporting to this story.