Obama’s New Church

Have you ever wondered how a President selects which church to attend?  Apparently many more people are concerned with what church Obama chooses than the selection or discernment process leading to that choice. 

Back in February, Andrew Santella wrote, “Since before Election Day, Washington pastors have been lining up to invite the first family into their flock, and outlets from PBS to the Wall Street Journal have taken their turn handicapping the many contending congregations. Despite all of this cajoling, the White House announced that the Obama family is still shopping for a church in Washington.”

In an article posted earlier today on time.com, Amy Sullivan writes, “For the past five months, White House aides and friends of the Obamas have been quietly visiting local churches and vetting the sermons of prospective first ministers in a search for a new — and uncontroversial — church home. Obama has even sampled a few himself, attending services at 19th Street Baptist on the weekend before his Inauguration and celebrating Easter at St. John’s Episcopal Church.”

The article reports that the Obama family will affiliate with none of the churches.  Instead, they have opted to participate in Evergreen Chapel, the non-denominational church at Camp David. 

So What

While most people cannot easily recall the church affiliation of Presidents in recent years, Obama is in a unique position for at least two reasons: (1) his celebrity status and (2) the media issues related to his previous membership with Trinity United Church of Christ and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.   By opting for the small Evergreen Chapel that worships in a 150 seat sanctuary, the media is far less likely to cover the Presidential family’s worship experience on a regular basis.  After his last megachurch experience, this reaction is likely a measured response to ensure that people know he is Christian and does worship without many additional details.

His new pastor is about as theologically opposite his prior pastor as possible.   The Rev. Lieutenant Carey Cash is a Southern Baptist and was appointed to this post this past January for a three year term. 

It is possible Obama may change his mind or not continue with this affiliation throughout his term.  There is even the possibility he has not yet really decided but is trying the idea out in the media.  US News & World Report claims that the TIME report is incorrect and that the White House is circulating a statement to that effect: “the President and First Family continue to look for a church home. They have enjoyed worshipping at Camp David and several other congregations over the months, and will choose a church at the time that is best for their family.”

The bottom line (according to most sources): the Obama family plans to regularly participate in a non-denominational Christian worship service.

Comments

  1. Jen Cardenas says:

    I have to say, Obama’s affiliation with Jeremiah Wright’s church was truly the one primary thing that gave me pause when considering him for president. I really abhor racism, not only on moral grounds, but it usually reflects narrow thinking and a lack of intelligence. To think our president would be racist is a disturbing and unsettling thought. I do hope this is not the case for President Obama. He came of age during the 70’s, which was such a time of social and political growth for Black Americans… I hope that his period of hyper-awareness of color and social differences was just a growing pain reflective of the times in which he grew up. Most of us “mellow out” a bit when it comes to extreme ideas and causes as we get older. Let us hope he also did. Hopefully his more moderate Christian beliefs are sincere and not just a political move. I do respect the man immensely.. he is my President. I certainly don’t envy his job!

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