PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA’S CHURCH ATTENDANCE COULD CHANGE THE FOCUS OF SERVICE

He is a not afraid to speak of his faith, yet he has not gone to a church services since being elected as the nations 44th President. Reports indicate the President-Elect does not want his attendance to interrupt worship services.

The picture below was taken during, then Senator Barack Obama’s run for president. Do you think the President-Elect should put off going to church because others will be too consumed with his appearance and worship?

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Obama skips church, heads to gym
By: Jonathan Martin and Carol E. Lee
November 24, 2008 04:47 AM EST

President-elect Barack Obama has yet to attend church services since winning the White House earlier this month, a departure from the example of his two immediate predecessors.

On the three Sundays since his election, Obama has instead used his free time to get in workouts at a Chicago gym.

Asked about the president-elect’s decision to not attend church, a transition aide noted that the Obamas valued their faith experience in Chicago but were concerned about the impact their large retinue may have on other parishioners.

“Because they have a great deal of respect for places of worship, they do not want to draw unwelcome or inappropriate attention to a church not used to the attention their attendance would draw,” said the aide.

Both President-elect George W. Bush and President-elect Bill Clinton managed to attend church in the weeks after they were elected.

In November of 1992, Clinton went to services in Little Rock, Ark., on the three weekends following his election, taking pre-church jogs on the first two and attending on the third weekend a Catholic Mass with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, with whom he was trying to smooth over lingering campaign tensions.

In the weeks after the contested 2000 election, Bush regularly attended services at Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, and Al Gore was frequently photographed arriving at and leaving church in Virginia.

On his first day as president-elect, following weeks of Florida recounts and court hearings, Bush went to church with his wife, Laura. They attended an invite-only prayer service on Thursday, Dec. 14, at Tarrytown United Methodist Church. About 300 people attended, including top campaign staff and visiting clergy. During the service, the Rev. Mark Craig, senior pastor at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, told Bush, “You have been chosen by God to lead the people.”

Obama was an infrequent churchgoer on the campaign trail, though he did make a series of appearances in the pews and pulpits of South Carolina churches ahead of that heavily religious state’s primary.

The issue of where he worships is, of course, fraught. For about two decades, Obama and his family attended Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. But, with the public disclosure earlier this year of incendiary sermons at Trinity by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama and his wife, Michelle, in June resigned their membership in the large South Side congregation.

At the time, the then-Illinois senator said that he didn’t want his “church experience to be a political circus” and expressed regret for the unwanted attention members of the congregation had received, noting that some reporters had taken church bulletins only to call sick members and shut-ins.

During the campaign, Obama returned to Chicago to attend the South Side’s Apostolic Church of God on Father’s Day Sunday to give a speech aimed at the black community on the importance of fatherhood and family.

A number of Washington, D.C., churches of different denominations and traditions are now competing to become the spiritual home of the new first family.

The Obama aide said the family “look[s] forward to finding a church community in Washington, D.C.”

 


Comments

  1. The President-Elect and his family needs to find a church home. However, speak with some spiritual leaders in the community. Allow them to come to The White House. The believer in Christ is the Church. I hope he and his family will have quite/devotional time together. I would like to know what scripture he will place his hand on, in the Bible while taking the oath.

  2. Excellent post, MGSandbox! Great points!

  3. I think it is extremely responsible of him not to attend. Obama ran such a grass roots, to the people campaign, that I think that many have forgotten that Obama not only has a billion decisions to make, but the scrutiny that he is under by the press, the politico’s and the people is unprecidented. He is the leader of the free world (that sounds SO GOOD to say!) and I do believe that it would be sheer pandamonium whatever church he attends right now for a few reasons. It would be a security issue for secret service and a religious power play for church leaders, someone would feel slighted. He must be diplomatic and smart in the next 3 months and that is one of the reasons that I support his decision.

    Comparing him and his need for spiritual service next to Bush and Clinton cracked me up. As far as I can see the church services did Bush little good and well Clinton – um adultery is definitely deemed a sin (I am Catholic) so the church comparison may not one of the lamest arguemnts I’ve heard in a while. Plus it seems that the church services for Bush and Clinton may not have had the best of influences on their behavior out side of God’s house.

    Every persons relationship with God is first and foremost a very personal faith walk that should be judged by no one and God clearly has his hand on and his eye watching President Elect Obama & his family. Obama has the task of leading us thru a very challenging but exciting next four years. Even God may agree that using His day / church is not the way in which He intended. I think God knows where Obama’s heart is – the media should read between the proverbial lines… I wonder how many of them, if in Obama’s shoes – walking the life path that he has walked – would do anything any different than what he is doing now.

  4. “Do you think the President-Elect should put off going to church because others will be too consumed with his appearance and worship?”

    Well, I feel like this; The media and many others in the presidential race and in society, general public, etc., basically forced him to leave his home church. They made him do that because they were uncomfortable with his reverend/preacher.

    Now, a lot of people would have said at that point, “Excuse me? You want me to leave my home church because you are uncomfortable with my preacher?” But Obama did not do that. He politely obliged to their demands and left his church. Now, in my opinion, he did not have to do that, but he did. He did it. I know he did not make that decision lightly because he said so.

    Now, the media is questioning him because he hasn’t attended Sunday service since he has become President-elect in all of what, 3 weeks? I wonder if they would be asking that question if he had not become the President-elect. Would they still want to know if he is going to church or not? Has John McCain gone to church in 3 weeks? Do they want to know that too? Do they care? Are they just checking to make sure the man does not go back to his home church again? Is this what this is all about? I always question motives on questions like this. Why are they asking?

    I think it is overdoing it a bit for them to follow this area of his life at this time. How many of us have done other activities on a Sunday instead of going to church? How many had to work to get in extra hours so the rent would be paid? How many worked to take advantage of available overtime? How many folks work out in the gym on Sundays? A lot! In some cities it is one of the only days one can get it in!

    How many members of the media have missed church on a Sunday or too? Wouldn’t they be missing church by covering that he is missing church? LOL!

    On the other hand, It seems to me that arrangements can be made for one to attend church or even have the preacher or reverend come to your house like your barber under these circumstances. I think they call this time period “Transition” for alot of reasons. Not just governmental in who is going to be your team. It is also transition of your old life going into your new one coming up.

    This may sound cold but personally a lot of times over the years when I saw the different presidents going to weekly service (I’m not questioning their going, just sharing impressions), oftentimes it came off to me like they were just going through the motions themselves. i.e. keeping up appearances. “I was seen going to church on Sunday” —

    With that said, I can relate more to Obama missing a few church services (who hasn’t?) to catch up on what he has not been able to do for weeks, then being over concerned with the fact that he has missed services. Is that really anybody’s business at this point when he is not even sworn in yet? I would imagine he and his family are trying to get in everything that they can before their lives are completely taken over via schedule (presidential schedule to come for the next 4).
    ~LT

  5. I have not seen that pic before! Wow! Thanks for posting that!
    ~LT

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