December 29, 2010
Obama's Church Appearance Highlights Public Trend
Obama has publicly mentioned his “Christian faith” more times in the past three months than he has over the past year. He has more frequently cited passages of the Bible, including repeated references to the spirit of Genesis 4:9 — “I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper” — which was a mainstay of Obama’s 2010 campaign stump speech. And he’s taken his family to church twice, a shift for a president who has preferred to worship privately since the end of the 2008 campaign.
As far as I can tell, the Obama family attends church mostly on holidays and special occasions. However, the family attended a church in September after polls suggested that at least 18 percent of Americans think he is a Muslim.
Adelle M. Banks noted a similar trend of faith as a public expression for Religion News Service.
When President Obama lit the National Christmas Tree behind the White House last year, he spoke of a “child born far from home” and said “while this story may be a Christian one, its lesson is universal.”
This year, Obama referenced that same “child born far from home,” but added a more personal twist: “It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians.”
Three days later, at a Christmas benefit concert, the president again talked about how the story of Christmas “guides my Christian faith.”
What changed? For one, three separate polls in the past year have found that one in four Americans think the president is a Muslim, 43 percent don’t know what faith he follows, and four in 10 Protestant pastors don’t consider Obama a Christian.
The AP reports that Obama attended a chapel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii for a multi-denominational service. Obama has said that his family has not joined a church because appearances would be disruptive.