(CNN) – The Easter sermon President Barack Obama and his family heard Sunday, delivered at a church near the White House, took to task the "religious right" for backward-looking policies.
The Rev. Luis Leon, speaking at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, based his sermon on the Gospel of John. He noted that Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to hold on to him, and linked the story to conservatives he said were looking to the past.
"It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back ... for blacks to be back in the back of the bus ... for women to be back in the kitchen ... for immigrants to be back on their side of the border," Leon said.
"The message of Easter is about the power of love over loveless power," he continued.
Instead of recalling how things were easier in the past, Leon urged listeners to focus instead on the present.
"God addresses us in the now," he said.
Obama tapped Leon to deliver the benediction at his second inauguration after controversy forced his first pick for that slot to step aside.
St. John's is known informally as "the church of the presidents" and has a pew dedicated for the president.