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September 19, 2010

Obama Makes Rare Church Appearance

President Obama and his family attended St. John's Episcopal Church today, a rare appearance for the President who said earlier this year that his family has decided to not join a church because they are disruptive.

The Chicago Sun-Times says this visit is his sixth in D.C. since taking office. The church visit comes after the Pew Forum and others released polls that suggested that at least 18 percent of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.

The White House released the following pool report about today's church visit.

The first family left the White House on foot this morning for the 9am choral holy eucharist service and sermon at St John's Church Lafayette Square.

The Obamas walked out of the residence at 8.49am and crossed the park to the nearby Episcopal church.

The president was wearing a dark suit and held Sasha Obama's hand. She was wearing a blue dress and cream cardigan. Michelle and Malia Obama were wearing cream-colored dresses. (Check photos for accuracy of descriptions. It's sunny and pool was at a distance.)

The service sheet doesn't indicate what the sermon is on but the gospel is Luke 16:1-13, which ends 'You cannot serve God and wealth.'

Update: The White House also released another pool report:

The sermon also included some reflections on the story as an example of how "Jesus has a sense of humor... he also likes to shock us" and the extent to which "everyone has cut a corner or two."

Revd. Leon said that for him, an example was accepting a good citizenship award and $50 from the DAR in Rome, Georgia, when he was graduating high school there. "Now the problem was, I wasn't a citizen," he said, prompting laughter from the congregation.

Revd. Leon also referenced "The Help", which he said he'd just finished reading, as an instance where three women in the 1960s south rise above what is expected of them by breaking the rules.

All four members of the family took communion when they went up to the altar.

Sitting with the first family was Joshua Dubois, head of the White House faith and neighborhood partnerships office.

POTUS appeared to share a joke with the rector while leaving the church.

Clothing clarification: First lady was wearing a white dress with flowered pattern and light-colored jacket over it. Malia Obama was wearing a blue dress with flowered pattern and light-colored jacket over it.


Why is it that Christians are not supporting and encouraging church-going and faith statements by our Christian president? The bottom line is that he is a good man, one I trust. You can just tell the character of people and his is based on Jesus' message of caring for the "least of these." I for one fear God's displeasure at questioning the convictions of one man's faith. How dare we judge him!How well would you do under scutiny? If we don't all pull togther as Christians and let our belief shine and encourage others, we will fade into obscurity.

Only a personal decision to follow Christ makes someone a Christian.

Obama went forward to accept Jesus as his Savior years ago, and wrote about the experience at a time when he risked mockery and exclusion by his own party. He felt the Spirt compel him and he obeyed.

We have no business judging Obama's faith - that is for God to do, and we harm the true invitation of the Gospel to all when we say certain people are excluded based on their birth status. "Woe to you Pharisees..." is a frequent warning of Jesus, not to be taken lightly.

The President's father was an atheist by the time the President was born. Sorry Franklin Graham you were wrong. President Obama was raised in a non religious home by his mother. President Barack Obama became a Christian under the ministry of Dr. Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ, now under the pastorate of the Reverend Otis Moss, III, another great preacher of the gospel of Jesus the Christ.
Stop the hate and the lies. Let the truth be known.

Just want to clarify some ambiguous wording at the beginning of the article: President Obama said (in the video link from this article) that he and his family have decided not to join a particular church because the presence of their family would be disruptive in a church (due to secret service and security issues)--not that churches are disruptive, which could easily have been read from the way that sentence is written. They do attend services at a few places, but have decided not to choose a particular church for the reasons stated above.

He also said that he is grateful to receive daily devotionals on his Blackberry from a group of Christian pastors who pray for him and his family regularly. Perhaps we could do the same. It would save all of us a lot of hot air.

President Obama's image with Christendom is very low. It is showing in polling. So off he goes to church to be seen. One scripture comes to mind. Matthew 6:5

"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."

Only God Who can read our hearts knows for sure whether or not President Obama is a Christian. Meanwhile, taking his family to church, hearing a sermon not filled with hate, and taking communion can't be bad for them.

President Obama is our President. We are told in the 1 Timothy 1-2: Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. It does not say to pray for our leaders if we agree with their religious beliefs. We need to pray for our leaders not argue.

Thank you Linda you are so very correct! I agree and believe that the President is a Chrisitan. It wil take more than four years to repair this great nation of ours. But I know that President Obama can only do so much. So many people against him coming from all sides. Pray for Him and defend him he is our leader and is working hard for the American people. It is great to see a young president at the helm.

God Bless President Obama


"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."

Posted by: A Disciple at September 20, 2010
Actually the groups that do pray on street corners, among many other public places are exactly those in the opposite end of the Politico-religious spectrum of the President.

They do it often and spectacularly.

As far as standing in the Synagogues, that is also another ethnic group that Mr. Obama does not belong to either.

An American president and his family give up so much and perhaps too much to serve. Sadly, it must be difficult to see how disruptive one's presence becomes when the entourage engulfs a house of worship. While I wished it were possible for the President to have some public worship time, I understand when he references the disruptive presence his attendance brings. Sadly, I would be a little frustrated if my house of worship had no room for the regular attenders because they were pushed out by significant numbers of people whose only apparent reason for attendance was to protect or "cover" the first family.

Everyone makes a big deal about Obama going go church and almost everyone is ignorant of the fact that the Episcopalian church that he attended that particular Sunday had a Muslim speaker that week.

On that particular Sunday, Dr. Ziad Asali, M.D., a Muslim, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine, was the guest speaker. He was there to speak on the subject of “Prospects of the two-state solution in the Middle-East.”

By the way, that speaker spoke at their Forum, back in September, and he did not preach the Sunday the Obamas attended. Someone else did. Check the church's website.