Christians around the world are well into the season of Lent, a solemn time of spiritual preparation through prayer, introspection, repentance and reconciliation.

Within this context, it is sad that President Barack Obama, a Christian, chose to skip Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral. He and Mrs. Obama did visit the Supreme Court to pay their respects, but it would have been far more beneficial to the country if the president had attended the funeral and eulogized the justice.

Lent is a time of healing, and if there is anything that our country needs now, it is healing. Just look at the level of acrimony — on both sides — in the election primaries. It is painful to watch.

Justice Scalia’s funeral would have been the perfect opportunity for President Obama to talk about mutual respect, unity, tolerance and reconciliation.

Some might say that Justice Scalia got what he deserved because he didn’t show respect to the president by skipping his State of the Union address on several occasions.

But Justice Scalia skipped the State of the Union address on more than a dozen occasions during his career, calling it “a childish spectacle.”

Justice Scalia served his country well, and it would have been entirely appropriate for the president to pay him the respect that he deserved.

William Bates

Gibbon Street

Daniel Island