Can the Obamas Choose a Church? Will We Let Them?

As everyone knows by now, the Obamas are between church homes. That’s a difficult place for any churchgoing family, but … Continued

As everyone knows by now, the Obamas are between church homes. That’s a difficult place for any churchgoing family, but especially one that has become the focus of the fears and hopes of the entire world. Finding a new church won’t get any easier now that they’re moving into the White House.

I can’t imagine a more important or problematic decision for this young family to make. Important because Barack and Michelle Obama clearly want to raise their children in the church, and because no family will need the love, guidance and support of a faith community more than the Obamas in the next four to eight years. Problematic because this decision seems fraught with theological, political and symbolic complications.

Should they subject any pastor or congregation to the public scrutiny and scorn that their former pastor (Jeremiah Wright) and church (Trinity United Church of Christ) endured during the campaign? Or to security concerns, which could be even worse than those which kept Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush from going to church?

As the first African-American First Family, will they be criticized if they choose a black church, or if they don’t? If they choose a white pastor, or if they don’t? If they choose a United Methodist or American Baptist congregation rather than a historically black denomination? If they choose a church across town, or in a tonier part of town rather than one near the White House?

After the Wright fiasco, dare they choose another church in the liberal United Church of Christ denomination, or another pastor who subscribes to black liberation theology? And if they don’t, will they be criticized for bowing to political pressures? Just about any choice they make will be seen as political by some.

And what about the National Cathedral? On Faith co-moderator Sally Quinn suggests that might be the perfect choice for America’s new First Family. Symbolically, there isn’t a more pluralistic Christian church around. But despite the interfaith openness, it’s still an Episcopal church. Can the president possibly choose a church in a denomination currently being torn apart over the issue of gay marriage and ordination?

No doubt the Obamas are getting plenty of advice. In fact, according to Post religion reporters Michelle Boorstein and Jacqueline Salmon, the Obamas are being courted by Methodist, Baptist, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian and Episcopal congregations. “This is unique in American political history,” said Gary Scott Smith, a history professor at Grove City College and author of “Faith and the Presidency.”

I was going to suggest that they not choose A Church. I was going to suggest that the Obamas spend the next four to eight years visiting every possible house of worship from Baptist to Buddhist, from Methodist to Mormon to Muslim, from Catholic to Jewish to Pentecostal. It would be a great learning experience for the First Family and for all of us. And what an opportunity to make a statement for America’s brand of religious tolerance and pluralism.

But that’s not fair. The Obamas are going to have to make plenty of sacrifices over the next few years. Their family’s faith life shouldn’t be one of them. They should pick the church that’s best for them and their girls. And we should agree that it’s no one else’s business and leave them alone about it.

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  • norriehoyt

    Who cares where the Obamas will be going to church?More interesting and important would be to know what they’ll be daydreaming about during the sermons.By the way, David, you wrote:”I was going to suggest that they not choose A Church. I was going to suggest that the Obamas spend the next four to eight years visiting every possible house of worship from Baptist to Buddhist…”I’m really surprised, David, that you’re unaware that Buddhists don’t worship – any being or any thing – for reasons that are central to the Buddhist belief system.Regards.

  • hugh45

    I agree with you David — they should spend time learning about as many diverse viewpoints as possible. Ideally, they would be exposed to all faiths and non-faiths that make up this great country including us non-believers.

  • Paganplace

    CCNLYou first, you defame everyone but your own, and if you identified it, they’d probably kick you out for making them look like you.

  • Paganplace

    Just kind of wondering here, for those who claim it’s a ‘Christian Nation.’ If so, wouldn’t it be a sign of something *wrong* that there’s one of our churches on every block and the President of the United States can’t find a place to pray without *you* coming after him?

  • Paganplace

    One of *your* churches on every block, that should read. Some regular readers may find it understandable, but I suspect my keyboard may be wearing out. 🙂

  • CCNL

    BO being the new leader of the “Immoral Majority” should be banned from all churches!!!

  • hakafos44

    I have already stated that as a member of the National Cathedral congregation I have felt that this would be the perfect place of worship for them. Martin Luther King gave his last sermon there. But another option is to worship in the White House chapel, if there is one.

  • isaac32767

    “Jeez, mainstream media. First the dog, and then the school, and now you’re trying to dictate what church the Obamas should take their daughters to? Did you do this with the Bushes? The Clintons? Leave them alone.”Enough with the MSM rhetoric already. The Obamas’ private life has gone public because the public wants to read about it. It’s been that way for every First Family since George and Martha. Nobody’s trying to dictate anything.

  • PSolus

    I would prefer that instead of going to church and engaging in superstitios worship, he spend his time studying economics, biology, astronomy, and other disciplines that are based on reality.

  • meowomon

    I think President elect Obama and his family should sleep in on Sundays or hold services in the white house. Later they can all get together in the kitchen for breakfast. What a better place to commune with God than in the loving presence of your family? I see a lot of love in that family and they make me so proud of America.

  • judithclaire1939

    Sorry, I got carried away as a Washinton know it all…Barack and Michelle Obama are very well educated and I suspect they know more about religions of the world than 90% of Americans…especially some of those who called in to television and radio shows during the campaigns and the tv talking heads who are so ignorant .Hopefully, Americans who do not have newspapers and television programs that cover world events… will use our public libraries and listen to the educated radio personalities.

  • Prozrenie

    Finding a church for an African American President in the D.C. area is tougher than many may realize. The iconoclastic rhetoric is such that most or all African American churches will just be Reverend Wright Revisited, at least some of the time. And even one “Goddamn America” or similar will be plenty for wingnut talk radio to go crazy about. Hard to see how he can reasonably go to a white church either — they are already courting dissatisfaction by sending the girls to Sidwell Friends and don’t need more of that image. (And please don’t any PC howler come on here saying that they don’t agree that churches should be divided into black and white — give it a rest.) This will limit his choices to a very few carefully selected mixed-race possibilities and his people will need to negotiate with the church leadership that they don’t want to hear anti-Americanism or (really other politics either) in the pulpit. Meanwhile, right-wing troublemakers may try to send a Trojan Horse preacher in to bellow “Goddamn America” in the Presiden’t presence — this is all going to require considerable care. Maybe even a church that will tolerate direct White House involvement in its scheduling.

  • Awheck

    As a liberal, does he need a church? He could rotate been synagogues and mosques. His friends should be able to recommend a Rabbi or Imam. A constitutional question about separation of church and state can be avoided by not attending a “church”. He can also avoid a conservative Christian image. It would also stop any thoughts of him being Republican. With the World in a terrible financial state, the time consuming and difficult task of choosing the “right church” should be avoided at all cost.

  • fluxgirl

    The Obamas need not choose a church on my account. The idea that the President must be a religious person serves no purpose. We are still suffering the effects of the most recent President who listened to the voices in his head instead of common sense.

  • henry6

    Thanks again, DDDVU, for another nice response. I have no irrefutable argument for “a Creator Being, an external entity.” What I do have (that is, what does exist in the scientific literature) is irrefutable evidence that only mind exists (plus observations, which you and I are making right now). We have no idea what mind “is” or what observations are (or why it is that we make them.) From that point on, you are on your own. I know my mind exists. Does yours? I guess” yes.” It is all a bit of a bog, sure, but this is FORCED on me by physics. I am happy, because it is much more appealing than a mechanical universe producing a me. Also, I know little or nothing about Buddhist views, except that I am aware that they are similar. I am impressed that they successfully got to the truth somehow!

  • hartman_john

    Whether or not Obama attends a church is his and his family’s business. If he chooses not to attend any church, that is his and his family’s business as well. The right to worship or not as one sees fit is basic to the country. That anyone would base their judgment as to a president’s privately-held religious beliefs points only to the shortsightedness of those who would judge.

  • MontaraCA

    I can’t believe this is even being discussed in this manner. Choosing a place of worship is as personal a matter as I can think of. How crude and insulting to bandy about opinions in a forum of this nature.

  • Chaotician

    It is to much to hope that Obama and family would reject the silly notions of Christianity and let his great intellect be unbiased by the religious nonsense spewed by the Christian dogma! The world’s problems and opportunities are to important to subsumed into the miasma of the crazy Abrahamic cults of death and dispair! The world’s theocracies must be destroyed root and branch; eliminating the sources for so much hatred and destruction.

  • jnik

    For all the reasons listed by the previous posters, he shouldn’t go at all.

  • coldsleep2525

    End the religious hypocrisy in this country where being religious is a qualification for the job of the presidency. David Waters’ proposal that the Obama family attend all religious rites, including the rituals of the native American indian, is the best solution. Eventually, this might dilute the false importance of religion in American politics. According to our founders, America was not suppose to be a “Christian Nation”. The idea was separation of church and state and to get rid of the concept of divine rights of kings which the Christian tradition originally supported.

  • lavinsr

    I think that the role of religion and the government should be minimal. However, since the Obama family are people of faith, it would be more appropriate for religion to come to them in the White House. This suggestion also offers the opportunity for the Obama family to attend to their spiritual needs without any security risk.Spending a night in the Lincoln bedroom should no longer be the coveted social cache. Rather it should be the goal of all classes of Americans to be invited to the weekly service at the White House.

  • lennyjazz

    We have problems enough in this country without this incessant prattle about a public figure’s public expression of religion.All it does is give a sense of superiority to those who want to belong to the club chosen by the media elite as the religion of choice.A synagogue? Don’t make me laugh.Let’s see… it’s got to be a Church that is very well financed … obviously… We don’t want any poor people loitering around …

  • Independentthinker4

    Are you kidding me? Did someone actually write this article. Obama and his family haven’t been attending church for almost a year since the Rev. Wright fiasco. I’m not saying he is Muslim, but, he doesn’t care about raising his family in the church except for political reasons. True Christians aren’t baby killers and he is closer to Satan than God when it comes to this issue.

  • dwgbos

    Can the Obamas Choose a Church? My guess is yes. Will We Let Them? I think it might be a good idea.

  • dddvu


  • shalom11213

    It is unfortunate that in the public eye everybody is in your business from the time you sleep until you again go back to bed. And even in the bedroom your are under the gun… The Obama’s should choose to worship where they feel most comfortable and it should not be our concern. Church and State should stay separate. But if I was the Obama’s Church finder advisor, I would advise then to attend The First Baptist Church of Glenarden, MD the pastor, Rev.John Jenkins would be a great spiritual advisor for our President Elect and the church is a genuine atmosphere for true religion. That would be if I was… I’m not so, mind my business – GOD BLESS OUR PRESIDENT ELECT and his wonderful family! — Go Mother Robinson!

  • orrg1

    As you rightly said at the end of your column, making it questionable why it was written at all, it is nobody’s business what if any church the Obamas decide to worship at. What would Christ think of the unseemly struggle of all these churches to get the Obamas to join and bestow them with bragging rights. Their main focus is on self-aggrandizement, just like many of the Sunday worshippers I see here in the south who are chiefly interested in showing off their jewelry, clothing, new cars, or building an addition to their church so that it is bigger than the one next door.Political power grabbing in the name of religion has done enough damage to this country, thank you. In fact, it was religious fanatics in the Catholic and evangelical churches who made the difference and voted a complete incompetent into the world’s most critical office, not once, but twice. The same people, proving they haven’t learned a thing, recently, and thankfully unsuccessfully this time, tried to elect a firm believer that the end times are just around the corner to the world’s second most important office. As a result of their twisted values, something that would have been completely unbelievable a few years ago is now a distinct possibility: we may be on the precipice of another Great Depression. The last one ushered in World War II, but unlike that time, the world bristles with nuclear weapons. Religiously based fanaticism, in this country as much as in the Middle East or South Asia, could well set into motion events culminating in the murder of all humanity. One way to at least push back in the other direction? Set an example and put religion back firmly the private sphere where it belongs. One of the things that made this country great was the deliberate decision that religion should be a matter solely of conscience, not coercion. No self righteous, insufferable, busy body’s business.

  • hyjanks

    In this 21st Century world, it’s truly unfortunate that Obama HAD to profess a belief in god (more specifically, the CORRECT god)in order to be considered for the position he will hold in January. Couldn’t you imagine if he were a Muslim and proclaimed that he would put his right hand on the Koran while taking the oath of office? It would be good bye Obama and hello Sarah the Armageddon Queen.

  • pierrejc2

    Obviously, they should attend meetings with the local Humanist or Atheist group, or attend a Unitarian Church.

  • cwh2

    This is an Obama family matter, like the choice of a school or of a puppy, only much more profound. Barack and Michelle should get to make their own choice, free from media pressure that puts most of the weight on political correctness.

  • JRed

    Perhaps they may enjoy services at the Ft. Meyer Chapel, or one of the other military chapels in the D.C. area. In so doing, they’ll interact with people who’ve also set their lives in motion for being ambassadors of our country and engage with educated chaplains who’ve been trained in most, if not all the world’s faiths and communed with leaders of those faith groups. The experience may be politically sound and more importantly, very enriching.

  • alachape

    I did not read the comments posted here. When I saw the question, my answer came to be immediately: The president and his family should be free to listen to their hearts. Only they know the needs of their soul. This is NOT a political issue; it is a very personal one. Whatever their decision, there should be no comments or political backbiting made by anyone. One thing is important and that is that the family needs to be in prayer and have the support of a faith community as they try to deal with the horrendous problems that await them beginning on January 20.

  • Independentthinker4

    Are you kidding me? Did someone actually write this article. Obama and his family haven’t been attending church for almost a year since the Rev. Wright fiasco. I’m not saying he is Muslim, but, he doesn’t care about raising his family in the church except for political reasons. True Christians aren’t baby killers and he is closer to Satan than God when it comes to this issue.

  • danigo

    It is no one’s business what church they attend.

  • xlrp3

    What a crock.

  • Samson151

    My advice? Stay home and watch football. NFL’s a church, right? I know lots of folk worship there.

  • mharwick

    Find a church that does not preach hate of America, Jews, Israel, and blame us for the attacks of 9/11. Find a church that does not have a ranting hater who finds Louis Farrakhan so praiseworthy as to have the church magazine give him their highest award. Find a church whose Rev. did not visit and honor Gaddafi in 1981, the Mad dog of the Middle East at the time who supported the terrorists that butchered Israel Olympic Athletes at Munich. Find a church that does not claim Africa alone as the mother country and preach Marxism and Black theology.Stay out of churches that hate people as part of their mantra. Spread your presence around and visit many churches. Your every move is the media’s thrill so keep moving.

  • TomfromNJ1

    Wow!I never realized it could be that complicated. I have been a Catholic all my life and when I move, I just find out what the local parish is and go there. Does his denomination have a parish that includes 1600 PA Av? I do not like the idea of picking your pastor. Then perhaps, we will only hear what we want to hear. I think part of religion is sometimes hearing what you might prefer not to hear. I had a friend who was a minister back in the 60’s who was fired by his parish in the South because he preached on racial equality. I do not think that should be done. But we know prophets were never well received.

  • Terlee

    All Souls Church, Unitarian would be perfect for them!

  • Dipsy

    Perhaps the Obamas would prefer a parish more attuned to families than the Washington Cathedral. The Washington Cathedral does not have a Sunday school nor is it really supposed to be a parish church. It is a cathedral for all people but is generally meant for visitors and drop-ins. It is really a personal matter for the Obamas to choose according to where they feel the most comfortable.

  • johnmeeks1974

    President-elect Obama should seriously consider attending the Unity church in Washington, D.C. Unity churches tend to focus on what they call ‘practical Christianity’ that works to make the faith applicable to daily life. The church is centered around prayer and meditation. Unity churches tend to steer cleer of politics and controversy.

  • realtimer

    Since President-elect Obama will be faced with regenerating the World’s Capitalist Economic System(Minus Greed), it would seem to be the right time for him to express his ‘real’ religious underpinings by ‘returning’ to the “ROCK” upon which……….

  • johnmeeks1974

    I concur with Terlee, also. I have visited a Unitarian-Universalist church in my city. I was pleased with the message and the atmosphere.

  • Duff1

    What a silly question. The election is over. Why would an obviously intelligent person actually go to any church.

  • doctate

    I highly recommend All Souls Church (Unitarian) at 16th and Harvard. The church has an illustrious Washington history. John Quincey Adams was one of the founders. William Howard Taft was a member of All Souls. The church was closely involved with the Abolitionist movement. Its ministers have included William Henry Channing, A. Powell Davies, and David Eaton. All Souls has long been a truly integrated congregation–in membership, in programming, in music, in social justice outreach. I personally think this would be a great fit for the Obamas, but then again they aren’t asking me. 🙂

  • flipper49

    “Should they subject any pastor or congregation to the public scrutiny and scorn that their former pastor (Jeremiah Wright) and church (Trinity United Church of Christ) endured during the campaign? Or to security concerns, which could be even worse than those which kept Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush from going to church?”Yes, Wright was was wrong (did I say that our loud??) in cursing the country, but Obama was even WORSE adoring Wright UNTIL Wright’s words interfered with Obama’s ambitions TWO YEARS AFTER THEY WERE SPOKEN. *If they ever come out with a real 3-dollar bill, Obama’s face should be on it!!*

  • Eddy_MD

    It is clear from David Water’s argument that he does not understand the meaning of having a church family, or a faith family for that matter. I find it hard to understand how a family like the Obama’s will be able to belong to a family of their faith by being “visiting members”. It should be clarified that just like our natural family, a church family is one where you worship together, learn and grow toegther in your faith, etc with other believers. The Obama’s should be left alone to seek and find that family. I agree with David Waters though that whichever church family they choose will disappoint some people. The importat thing though is that they please the God they worship!

  • Mike48566

    Barack and Michelle Obama are both well above average in intelligence. A Unitarian Universalist church would be an excellent fit for them.

  • jthorne3

    While choosing a church is a personal, even intimate decision, it’s normal for a newcomer to Washington to ask advice from friends. The Washington National Cathedral has resonances that might appeal to the President and his family. Dr. MLK Jr. preached his last Sunday sermon there, on March 31, 1968, on the parable of Lazarus and Dives (about a man who went to hell because he didn’t see the poor). Five days later, the same space that had echoed with Dr. King’s words was filled with the mournful music of his memorial service. Bishop John T. Walker, the first African American Bishop of Washington, was an outspoken friend of South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle. Bishop Walker was one of the first church leaders to be arrested for marching on the South African embassy in 1984. Desmond Tutu praised Bishop Walker’s memory during his visit to the Cathedral last fall. In Bishop Walker’s name the Diocese of Washington is now founding a tuition-free boys school in Anacostia.At a purely practical level, Sam Lloyd’s preaching is worth waiting in line to hear. There is no children’s program, but St. Albans Parish 100 yards away on the Cathedral close has a wonderful program. On Sundays when dad is traveling, the girls could just go there.

  • IBDG

    Given that the ‘Moral Majority’ was soundly spanked in the recent election except for those agents of intolerance in California, I say the Obamas should worship at The Church of What’s Happening Now and dispense with the religious dog and pony show.

  • roberttrussell

    If we indeed have separation of church and state as a key foundation of our Constitution, then the choice of worship for the Obamas need not be a political – or state – consideration. They are free to choose their church,as their religious convictions lead them and free from such secular and political interference.

  • uliart


  • RedBird27

    They’re UCC. They should stick with that. Although Jimmy Carter went to church regularly, many Presidents find that it’s a problem to head out in public like that. I would not blame them if they held private worship services at the White House or attended irregularly. Probably the bigger problem is that their children need to attend Sunday School. The oldest will be approaching confirmation age. After a suitable period of settling in maybe they’ll find a friend who attends church and the girls can go there.

  • michael_from_sydney

    Surely something as personal as the way you decide to worship and serve the God you believe in has to be left to the privacy of the family, no matter how exalted that family may be in the public life of the temporal state. As a believer in the family as the “domestic Church”, I personally think that parents should see it is their sacred duty to raise their children as thoroughly as possible in the faith, and ensure they participate as fully as possible in the sacramental life of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist in the Mass every Sunday. But, this flows from my (and my wife’s) faith as devout Catholic Christians, and I understand that other Christians have a looser attitude to this, and that is fine for them. What matters is that the parents love God first and foremost in all things, and raise their children to do the same.

  • goaway1

    Why should the Obamas change their church unless the pastor of the local UCC branch is the same kind of incendiary as Wright? In which case there is surely a black church here where the family could be comfortable. I’m neither black nor Christian and I live in a very racially mixed neighborhood. On election day, I noticed that many of the young black voters appeared with Barrack haircuts and pressed pants. It would be nice if he continued to give these kids a role model that says “Hey – look at me. I’m black and I’m about to be President of the United States”.

  • Modernmom

    Do they HAVE to go to church? It is given for granted that they would. What if they would prefer not to?

  • Modernmom

    P.S. Independenthinker should shut up. even if this is not politically correct.

  • michael_from_sydney

    CCNL – may I remind you that Jesus Himself said (in the Parable of the Lost Sheep): “there is more joy in Heaven over one repentant sinner than over all the souls of the righteous.” Also, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who criticised Him for associating with tax collectors and sinners, reminding them that “the physician is not sent to heal the healthy, but the sick.” Please reflect on this next time you are tempted to point a Pharisaical finger at those you would like to exclude from God’s love and mercy.

  • hakafos44

    As I said previously, I am African-American and I am perfectly comfortable in the National Cathedral as a member of the congregation. I said as well that worship should occur in the White House chapel. If there isn’t one, this is a fine time to create one. And the suggestion that visiting ministers of all faiths come to instruct and lead worship is an excellent one. It will be a wonderful opportunity for the girls.

  • slowe111

    Mr. Waters, in your second paragraph, you said: “Important because Barack and Michelle Obama clearly want to raise their children in the church….” Why is this “clear”? Have you spoken to them? Do they take the girls to church regularly? Perhaps they have changed their minds. Perhaps Mr. Obama wants to raise them in the tradition of his mother: “a wittness to secular humanism”. (p. 50 of Dreams From my Father). Or like his father, who was not a religious man. Perhaps as a Quaker – per the school they have chosen.

  • wmfarmer

    His choice in church is a private matter, and one he should not take lightly. Whatever church he chooses, my prayer this morning at my church is that its the church that gives him and his family the spiritual and emotional strength to take on the overwhelming tasks of uniting and running the US and serving as a role model for so many young people. That’s a lot to ask; let the family get spiritually fed where they get the best-suited nourishment. My prayers go out to them.

  • sumnonski

    Who on Earth cares which church the Obamas go to or if they go at all? Smart people like to Obamas only go to church to pander to the fools who believe the scam artists in these tax-free empires of ignorance, delusion, and exploitation. Which invisible-man-in-sky will Barack pretend he believes in? Claiming reverence for which social-climbing pastor will he figure best pleases the Sally Quinns of the world? Please. It’s time to tell foolish suckers of ALL religions that they are just that, and the man should worry about solving America’s problems HERE ON EARTH. Unfortunately Obama is now president of a nation of superstitious rubes and will have to waste on hour each Sunday grovelling before their nonsense.

  • postal1

    National City Christian Church.

  • jamesyankeejim

    As a former member of the Black Liberation Theology Church: “United Church of Christ”, he and his family could still associate themselves with a liberal mainstream sect,i.e. Congregational United Church of Christ. This Christ centered sect (United Church of Christ is a Protestant Denominaton not just an individual church), is both liberal and diverse oriented, and would perhaps suit the Obamas need for both a spiritual and liberal social consciousness approach to life. To now belong to a strictly Black oriented church might remind voters of the Rev. Wright, and his approach to America, and race relations, when the new President wants to set the tone of oneness in the country, especially in these difficult economic times.

  • Chris543

    Thank you wmfarmer for your comment, some seem to forget that there is secularity of government and freedom of religious exercise!In 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote:”Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”The realm of individual conscience, is something rational people cannot cede to government for it or others to control. A natural right in the liberty of conscience, remains protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution.The Bill of Rights plays a central role in American law and government, and remains a fundamental symbol of the freedoms and culture of this nation!

  • elwoll

    Jesus, Mohamed, Yaweh, whatever. And we think race, sexual preference etc. are the issues! Tackle the myths, then the problems they provides us.

  • dhayjones

    I wish America could get over its god habit and allow people to be openly non-believing. I’d like to see a first family brave enough to say, “We don’t like church and we don’t want to go to church”. It’s bizarre in a modern, industrialized nation that non-believers are stigmatized.

  • chicagostanford

    Their children are going to a Quaker School. Maybe the First Family should try Quaker Meeting.

  • rick36

    They could choose the church that Abraham Lincoln attended: New York Avenue Presbyterian.

  • lennyjazz

    I don’t care what church they go to.The United States been deprived of it’s cherished separation between church and state by a group of religious fanatics that claim to be Christians, but who are in fact totally contemptuous of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

  • lowercaselarry

    Ronald Reagan and G. W. Bush didn’t go to church because of security concerns? That’s one of the most idiotic statements I have read in 2008. They didn’t go to church because they didn’t need to–they weren’t ever going to run for another office, so didn’t need to express public piety.

  • georgej780

    Governing America and personal religious beliefs have nothing to do with each other … look where having a bible-toting, god-fearing, blah-blah-blah guy in our White House has gotten us for the past eight years. I would be most pleased if a new president chose to avoid churches and dogma, but since he can’t get away with that, the best bet would be to visit many different places or at least choose a truly ecumenical arrangement.

  • JohnDoug

    I guarantee you there is a yearning for a faith home in the Obama family. If not by Barack then certainly by Michelle and Ms Robinson. They were raised in the church and most likely want the girls to have the same experience. The MSM should butt out of this one.

  • surfnsea

    how about no church and no religious service. ever. that would be true change. instead of the charade that most pols play on sunday for the media, i’d like to see the prez and his family just sleep in on sunday.

  • dummy4peace

    This is so personal that we should leave the Obama family alone on this one.

  • KathleenVS

    If I lived closer in to the city I would choose Church of the EpiphanyIn NOVA for those folks who are looking for a liturgical church with a progressive world view, an excellent choice is St. Anne’s Reston.

  • Schwartz1

    The Obamas should set an example for their children. If they have a genuine conversion of heart, they should privately convert to Roamn Catholicism and discover the true happiness of lving a Sacramental life. His message of hope could then ben fulfilled.

  • joy2

    As a former Catholic, I dropped out for about 20 years, because I didn’t feel that the same old rituals were adding anything to my spiritual growth. I have now found a living faith community that puts Christ’s message into action with all kinds of programs for spiritual growth and to help those less fortunate. I think that is what Christ had in mind, don’t you? Not a preoccupation with “thou shalt not” but more emphasis on “thou SHALT”… love God, neighbor and self. Oh, and by the way, my new church is United Church of Christ.

  • Schwartz1

    If Einstein stopped learning about Mathematics at age 12, the world would be a very different place.

  • madstamina

    This is the easiest question posted ever on this page. He should hold service in the East Room of the White House and invite guest pastor’s and congregations from all denominations along with friends and colleagues to attend. This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking President he’ll be. None of this Washington as usual stuff! This will be the biggest hit of the administration.

  • dddvu

    With the possible exception of Jimmy Carter, it seems that most of the past presidents’ Sunday appearances at a local church are little more than photo ops to let the masses know that they too cling to the ontological reality that most of them share. You know, that a mostly benevolent being created all that is seen for the benefit of “man.” It (church-going) is, therefore, a political phenomenon and a political statement laced with varying degrees of cynicism depending on the particular president in question. For instance, the current occupant of the White House likes to trumpet his personal relationship with the “son” of that creator being as a cornerstone of his worldview, his “philosophy,” if you will. But his actions, I dare say, belie any universally accepted “moral” bent in his treatment of others and especially those who hold opposing views. Ever since the advent of quantum mechanics and the reality-altering discoveries of particle physics, the culmination, I believe, of a scientific trend going back to Galileo, it is untenable to continue to adhere to an ontological perspective posited and championed by a well-meaning goatherd living in the semi-arid Middle East of the 18th Century, BCE. It would be refreshing if a modern day president would simply lay it out in that way and called for a new approach to spiritual practice that would have a decidely civic (and civil) advantage, i.e., treat each other as you would want to be treated. That’s it! The added advantage to this approach would be the scuttling of some weekly ritual which undergirds a mass self-administered delusion and serves no purpose other than to be seen attending a power station generating that delusion.

  • Knuckledragger

    President-elect Obama sat in Jeremiah Wright’s Church for more than 20 years and never heard the sermons–that is if he is telling us the quote: “yawn”. “Roamn Catholicism?” Pretty much what I thought all along.

  • Tambopaxi

    While I haven’t attended church in years (nor have my children, of their own accord), I do think the question treated here is germane.Not surprisingly, I agree with Mowomon’s attitude (stay home, have nice family breakfast, read the Sunday funnies to the kids, etc.). Still, Coldsleep2525’s point is well taken as well: If the Obamas do choose to make their religious activities something of a public matter, I think that it makes sense that they, as the country’s First Family, make a point of attending services at a wide variety of churches/mosques/synagogues/temples, etc., for they all exist in America, and as such, are equally American.

  • robfield1

    I think the Obamas should stay with the UCC. They’ve been in the denomination since the Eighties, and its theology is consistent with their values. I must, however, admit to finding the ecumenical approach interesting and appealing.

  • CCNL

    michael_from_sydney : OB did not repent during the election. Also, when he had the opportunity to point out that the USA is out of control sexually, e.g. one million womb-babies aborted per year on average since 1973 and 19 million cases of STDs/yr costing $14.7 billion/yr to treat, he did not and will not. If he ever does, god just might consider forgiving him. At the moment though, he is the leader of the Immoral Majority and should be denied membership in any church or religion.

  • gjkbear

    Some of the founding fathers were Unitarians. They could give Unitarian Universalism a try. It is a religion that is liberal, accepting of all faiths, social justice minded and tolerant. That being said – why should we, the American People be weighing in on such a private matter as choosing a church home? Why should we be worried that they even go to church? This falls under the realm of private, personal business – that we the people should have no say in.

  • logan303

    I like the author’s idea of the Obama family visiting as many different houses of prayer and worship for all faiths as possible. I don’t think it would rob them of a spiritual home, rather the practice may do more to enhance their personal faith. Next week, I’ll take my own advice and try some place different.

  • henry6

    DDDVU says “Ever since the advent of quantum mechanics and the reality-altering discoveries of particle physics, the culmination, I believe, of a scientific trend going back to Galileo, it is untenable to continue to adhere to an ontological perspective posited and championed by a well-meaning goatherd living in the semi-arid Middle East of the 18th Century, BCE. ” WEll, I beg to disagree, as an expert in quantum mechanics. Please see:

  • sgoewey

    Sorry Sally Quinn, I grew up Episcopalian and was SOOOOO bored at church…including National Cathedral’s cold, huge spaces and boring sermons. (Sure way to keep the girls wandering in the wilderness for years.)It’s a personal, family decision, but I can recommend a better strategy to find the right church that will instill love of Christianity, and knowledge of bible stories, proverbs, scripture to guide their lives…and that is to let the Obama girls drive the search. They should ask their new friends that attend a Christian (any denomination) church they LOVE. Then ask to be their guests at those churches/sunday school classes ….and keep sampling until they find a church home the Obama girls love. And the young kids LOVE their own lively service, teens attend “The Rock” with their own kind of music, young adults have a Frontline service, disabled chidren attend Access Ministry’s Beautiful Blessing sunday school (while we parents get a break in adult services)… It serves as a national model for church communities to support families dealing with disabilities.I love it, many of its teachings are conservative, but I can be a critical thinker and I hope others don’t judge me by my pastor’s beliefs, but rather by my own. and I’m from the liberal, religious left. But I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, even when we disagree, we still have more in common than differences and can come together on issues like the environment.

  • peck3

    I would succinctly suggest: Mind Your Own Business. Good grief.

  • nicstew

    I agree wholeheartedley. Your personal faith is between you and God. They should be able to worship wherever they would like.

  • elizabeth6

    Surely this is a private decision? Perhaps we should leave the decision up to the Obama family,bearing in mind that state and religion are supposed to be separate anyway. Failing this one could suggest they join the Society of Friends( Quakers) considering they have chosen a school for their children run by this group of fine people.

  • Ami_Blue1

    Where the Obamas go to church is none of our business. Why is the subject even being discussed?

  • Live_and_Let_Live

    I think that this is a matter of personal preference and should not be used as a public sounding board. In other words it is nobody’s business if they go to church or what church they attend.Those who continuously call him a baby killer should stop doing so without concrete proof that he has personally murdered anyone let alone a baby. Let’s stop the foolish speculations and let Pres. Elect Obama do the job he was elected to do. Has everyone forgotten the US has a checks and balance system? Our Pres. Elect cannot do anything by himself. If he could we wouldn’t need the House or Senate. We are under a democracy and not a dictatorship.Instead of bickering about trivial stuff we should be praying for a turnaround of the economy and the safety of the First family.

  • michael_from_sydney

    CCNL – you missed my point. It is not for me, you, or any other person to judge whether any other human being is a sinner – that is the preserve of God alone, in the person of the Son, the universal King who will comes at the end of time to judge all people, alive or dead. Have you not read the Gospels, where Jesus Christ goes out of his way time and time again to condemn the Pharisees’ fixation on accusing other people for their perceived sins? Re-read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) some time, and also perhaps the Parable of the Adultress in John, where Jesus confronts those who would stone the sinful woman. (I could cite many more relevant passages from the Gospels.) The point here is that it is not for human beings to presume to deny the sacraments to people who profess the faith. Even if a sinner as egregious as Al Capone, professing the faith, while nevertheless being a serial sinner, came to me in my capacity as a lay eucharistic minister, seeking communion, I would not deny him. It is not for me to judge the moral worth of his heart at that moment. How can I? How could I be sure he had not, just a moment before, penitently and contritely sought and received the sacrament of reconciliation? (Remember, we ought to have faith that God is in charge of all things, and that He will be perfectly just in His judgements of all people when their time comes – not in this life, but in the next.) If such a sinner received communion under a state of mortal sin, it is his or her own soul that will answer for it at the final judgement, but if I in my presumption deny to him the source of eternal life which is present in this sacrament, then am I not in the position of the disciples who prevented the little children from coming to the Lord for that life? Am I in fact being a stumblingblock for them?We should always try to direct our discourse as Christians towards building up others in faith, hope and love – not tearing them down. Of all the sinners Jesus Christ encountered in His public ministry here on Earth, He reserved His greatest condemnation for those who hypocritically trusted in themselves that they were more righteous than others while seeking to exclude and damn those they didn’t like. And remember – the only people Jesus ever drove out of the Temple of His Father in Jerusalem were the sellers and moneychangers there by permission of the religious elite of the day – not people who expressed opinions He didn’t like.

  • dddvu

    Henry6 invokes upon me the blessings of a being that he purports to believe in without identifying what his conception of that being is; which was my original point, i.e., it (the Being) is at best a metaphor and, at worst, a myth, given the advances in scientific thinking and experimentation that have led to differing notions of what reality is compared to what they were for humans some 4000 years ago. Neither option is totally bad, in my estimation. He directs me to a link to read a review of a book about “The God Theory” that apparently Henry6 may have reviewed for a scholarly publication. The review itself is positive and articulate, yet insufficient to sway the reader into buying into the spin. Curiously, much of what the reviewer says concerning the understanding of “reality” sounds a lot like the concept of “emptiness” posited in certain Buddhist ideas with a dash of “definition of the situation” language. My query, Does Henry6 believe that the “God” of Abraham, and therefore the god of Jesus and Muhammad, created the world as we know it (including the building blocks of particle physics) as claimed in certain antiquarian texts?

  • leisurely

    Exodus 20:8-11 (the 4th commandment)establishes the 7th day as the Sabbath.This has never been changed by divine authority. See also Ex31:14,,Lev 25:2,Dt 5:12, Isa 56:2,6,13, Jer 17:21, Mt12:1,Lk 13:10, Col 2:16, Heb4:9, 2Ch2:4, and Eze 20:12. Jesus was crucified and died on Friday before sundown see Mt 27:50, Mk15:37,42, Lk 23:44-46,Jn:31-33. and was resurected at dawn on the 1st day of the week – a Sunday. Even in death Jesus observed the Sabbath.see Mt 28 1_3, Mk 16:1-5,Lk24:1-2,Jn20:1. I recommend that the Obamas find a church that observes the true Sabbath.

  • leisurely

    Exodus 20:8-11 (the 4th commandment)establishes the 7th day as the Sabbath.This has never been changed by divine authority. See also Ex31:14,,Lev 25:2,Dt 5:12, Isa 56:2,6,13, Jer 17:21, Mt12:1,Lk 13:10, Col 2:16, Heb4:9, 2Ch2:4, and Eze 20:12. Jesus was crucified and died on Friday before sundown see Mt 27:50, Mk15:37,42, Lk 23:44-46,Jn:31-33. and was resurected at dawn on the 1st day of the week – a Sunday. Even in death Jesus observed the Sabbath.see Mt 28 1_3, Mk 16:1-5,Lk24:1-2,Jn20:1. I recommend that the Obamas find a church that observes the true Sabbath.

  • GrantE

    Positive suggestion: All Saints Church at 16th and Irving NW – very involved in community, good mix, great history, appropriate for a President who’s trying to bridge all kinds of canyons in our political and social fabric. Other presidents have attended.

  • henry6

    Thank you, DDDVU, for a constructive reply. There are no “building blocks” of particle physics. Difficult as it is to believe, there is no actually existing universe, there is only mind. Your mind, OK. Any other? I choose to believe so, and identify that as God. I was an atheist until 2004 when physics alone induced belief in God. I never would have imagined that was possible. I am not a Christian or anything else. But I am forced to believe in God and I am now very happy that that is so. I am moderately content that billions of people are able to achieve the same correct belief, even if it must be through surrogates such as Mohammed, just one example, on which I have no opinion or interest. If you like, you can find more at

  • robeste

    No reason he can’t commute back to Trinity UCC on Air Force One.

  • judithclaire1939

    All Souls Unitarian Church at 16th and Harvard, NW is a good church to attend now and then. That church was the only place in DC where an integrated group could meet and share a dinner. All Souls has been integrated in all areas since Day 1. Also, a variety of spiritual leaders can come to the White House..but we need to give Billy Graham and his family a rest for now.

  • TexasVanessa

    As someone who has just moved and is looking for a new church home, I wish the Obamas well in their search. In my anonymity, I have the ability to sit quietly and see if the preaching and community and music meet my needs; their visibility means they do not. On those grounds alone, I do not envy them their search.I appreciate the concept raised here of going to a different church each week, but having done that, I know a perpetual visitor never gets a true church home out of that. And to me, that’s an important reason to belong to one church: so that when you truly need sanctuary, you have a spiritual shelter to go to, where people know and love and accept you despite your flaws. And my readings about the presidency certainly indicate that’s a rare thing for a President to have in Washington.I add my wishes for a successful and peaceful transition and presidency for Mr. Obama. God bless!

  • CCNL

    michael_from_sydney,Hmmm, god/nature gave us survival skills. Therefore, we look at a person’s conduct in order to know if that person might do us harm. In BO’s case, womb-babies are at great risk as their survival is in jeopardy. It has nothing to do with BO’s sin. It is all about survival and letting everyone know when evil lurks. And BO’s evil will lurk in any church he might join!!!And some words of reality about Christianity:Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a mamzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). Analyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, On Faith panelists) via the NT and related documents have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus’ sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects. The 30% of the NT that is “authentic Jesus” like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus’ case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics. Current crises:Pedophiliac priests, atonement theology and original sin!!!!Luther, Calvin, Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley et al, founders of Christian-based religions, also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of “pretty wingie thingie” visits and “prophecies” for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immaculate conceptions).Current crises: Adulterous preachers, “propheteering/ profiteering” evangelicals and atonement theology.

  • schmetterlingtoo

    BERNIE O WROTE:Once again Sally Quinn, queen bee of Washington society looks down from the heights of her throne at us rubes. Who knew that Reverend Wright’s rantings against America and trashing of the Clintons (even humping the podium) was just your typical sermon in a black church? Thanks for straigtening us ignoramouses out.11/22/2008 7:26:02 AMM-A-C WROTE;Sally Quinn is without a doubt the most sanctimonious, condescending and self-righteous phony in Washington. The Obama’s would actually be much better off if they ignored this self appointed DC nannyBERNIE-O WROTE:Once again Sally Quinn, queen bee of Washington society looks down from the heights of her throne at us rubes. Who knew that Reverend Wright’s rantings against America and trashing of the Clintons (even humping the podium) was just your typical sermon in a black church? Thanks for straigtening us ignoramouses out.

  • myskylark

    I couldn’t care less whether the Obama family chooses a church or decides to stay home on Sundays. What does concern me is the same problem already mentioned in previous comments. We live i a society where religion is a deep font of bigotry. If someone is agnostic or an atheist he or she is automatically barred from high public office. How ironic that the religion practiced by so many of our most illustrious founders would disqualify them from public office. Washington,Jefferson, Adams and Madison were Deists, which would certainly not satisfy the religiosity of most church going Americans today. We are truly the backward country bumpkins of the modern world. In America the overwhelming majority do not believe in evolution and consider Darwin a mistaken – if not a downright wicked – man. In England Darwin’s likeness is on a postage stamp.

  • usapdx


  • DaTourist

    If the past offers any guide to the future, and it always has, the Obamas will attend a progressive Protestant church, dominated by rich white liberals, that views life as a choice (pro-abortion) and agrees with Gay Episcopalian Bishop V. Gene Robinson that samesex acts are Holy Sacraments.My guess is that Sally Quinn hit the nail on the head when she chose the National Cathedral.

  • kdfal

    Sorry, Ms Quinn, but The Presidency is an office and it is filled by a person, who should be allowed to practice her or his faith according to conscience. If that person is selecting their church to satisfy polls, MSM, the blogosphere, or, yes, you…well, we made a mistake on November 4th. If theirs is a controversial selection, they can deal with the fallout relying on strength that comes from their faith. If they select according to political calculus, the best dreams of many will be dashed and the worst aspersions of others confirmed.

  • lxp19

    I don’t see why visiting different houses of worship would mean “sacrificing” their own beliefs. Do you have to be inside a certain building to live your beliefs? Does missing a service in the church you belong to mean you are sacrificing your beliefs? I think they should make a tour of all houses of worship AND take occasional weekends at home — to show that living your beliefs is much larger than attending services at a specific place in a specific time. Living your beliefs is above all,putting them into practice in your life every day.

  • michael_from_sydney

    CCNL – now I know you’ve been having a lend on this blog! A person who doesn’t even believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ trying to kid us they have the right to decide whether certain other specific individuals ought to be allowed within the Christian Church!

  • justine2

    I am probably one of the few who heard the entire Jermiah Wrigh sermons from start to finish. I learned some very important lessons. First, the public is easily manipulated. Those who heard the entire sermon have a completely different view than those who only saw the “loop”. Secondly, I am not the only person who pays little attention to my Pastor. It may shock people but I don’t particularly like my Pastor and he doesn’t particularly like me. I am not the only one who doesn’t like hima and who he doesn’t like. He became our pastor after our other pastor died. Our position is we were there before he got there and we will be there after he leaves. Until them I continue to participate ih the same church programs that I did before hegot there and will participate in until one of us leaves. So much for why people stay in a church where they don’t like and/or follow the Pastor. By the way, I am in my 50s and I have only belonged to two churches. I only left my original church after I moved out of state. But I still go back every time I go home.I think the Obama’s should join a church and should join the same type of church Trinity really is. They should find a church that would meet their values if they were not the First Family. Regardless of the size or the location of the church. They should join a church which has a community outreach that really outreaches. But when it is all said and done you should belong to a church that meets your needs. It has nothing to do with the Pastor, it has to do with the core philosophy, programs and policies of the church. Pastors come and go, but the spirit of the church remains.

  • youngj1

    This like much of what the first family does is none of our business. I don’t care which church thaey go to, if they choose to do so. All I care about, in regard to the actions of the president, is the righting of the economy, the bringing home of the forces in Iraq and the restoration of integrity in the White House and the executive branch!

  • victoria2dc

    My advice to the Obama family: forget organized religion. If you’re so inclined, stay home and pray. Set up an altar in the Lincoln bedroom and buy an antique cross to serve as a focal point.Leave the media and the church people at Newsweek behind. They really need to go anyway… after their fiasco this week.

  • semidouble

    My advice? Be a pragmatists/humanist/rationalist and stay away from ANY superstition. And don’t take your children to a church; they don’t have a choice yet.

  • cprach

    skip church and stick to running the country. that’d be a nice change of pace.

  • jalexis55

    As Christians, in most protestant churches, the faithful are admonished to “train up a child in the way he should go…” and covenants advise that when one departs from an area the Christian should find a new congregation to join in fellowship. If the Obamas are faithful to these principles, then they will join a local congregation for the benefit of the children and the entire family. Now, the message from the majority voters during the campaign was that Obama should NOT seek membership in a church w/a black pastor or major black congregation. So, the Obamas will not have a problem if they join a church with a white pastor and a major white congregation.

  • Pramster

    I think none of should be bothered with where and who the Obamas worship. Whether they are a family of faith or not, I find it even more ludicrous the suggestions that they engage in some kind of tokenism – one church this week, another the next. Why should they not have strong convictions one way or another? Is it because he’s the first black president that he has to prove just how liberal he is? I don’t understand that. No one expected the Clintons to do that. Then why the Obamas?

  • Jaxon1

    Frankly, I don’t give a damn which church, if any, they go to. I’m sick and tired of religion (and the associated talking heads from that sector), having anything to do with politics.It’s time the religious right, after dividing the country with their hate politics and beliefs, get thrown out with the kitchen garbage and relegated to their tents out in the pasture.

  • sakeneko

    | But that’s not fair. The Obamas are going to have to make plenty of sacrifices over the next few years. Their family’s faith life shouldn’t be one of them. They should pick the church that’s best for them and their girls. And we should agree that it’s no one else’s business and leave them alone about it. |That sums it up. Of all decisions that the Obamas will make in the next four to eight years, this is the one where the public has absolutely no business interfering and should have no voice whatsoever. Let the poor family choose what they need for themselves without worrying about whether the rest of us would make the same choice or approve! If Obama takes oath of office seriously, and upholds it properly, he will not mix church and state in the decisions he makes as president and he will uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. *That* is what we must expect and the obligation we must hold him to.

  • aoscruggs

    …liberal United Church of Christ denomination,” Trinity UCC practices an African-American style of worship. Going to the National Cathedral, as Sally Quinn suggest, would be quite a sacrifice if a person is used to African-American music, hymnody, prayer, etc. Sometimes, you just got to put on your dancing shoes and praise the Lord.

  • hfaulk

    Far be it for me to suggest; where, when, how, or why any person or family chooses to take part in any religion. And if they decide to be a non-believer that is also their business. It would be most inappropriate to make any such suggestions, nor to pass judgment on this very personal matter.Hank from Maine

  • calcyon

    Jeez, mainstream media. First the dog, and then the school, and now you’re trying to dictate what church the Obamas should take their daughters to? Did you do this with the Bushes? The Clintons? Leave them alone. Besides the fact that it’s none of your damned business what church they attend, whatever faith they ascribe to should have NO BEARING on Obama’s administration. I know it’s hard to believe, after the past eight years, but it is possible–and, actually, necessary–to keep one’s religious beliefs separate from the way one governs. I’m glad that most of the commenters, with the exception of the genius who keyed in that vivid and hilarious image of Obama riding to the Blood-Red House on the backs of 35 million aborted “womb-babies,” are in agreement with me. And as a former UCC member (now a Unitarian-Universalist), I’m really tired of all the UCC-bashing. If Obama and his family decide to attend a church in the same denomination as the one they’ve left behind in Chicago, they *will* be continuing as members of one of the oldest established faiths in America, and one that, through union with a number of liberal Anabaptist sects, has come to represent a rich heritage of tolerance, reasoned faith, freedom from religious persecution, and social justice.

  • akousen

    I would hope the family chooses to continue with the UCC. As a senator, he likely knows of churches in the area and exploring them with his family would be quite an experience.

  • jamie58

    Social justice is one of the central themes of the United Methodist Church. Bishop John Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of that church, which includes Washington DC, is a man who has worked faithfully for years for pragmatic solutions to violence, poverty, racism and the loss of community. He is a man with whom Mr. Obama could have many thoughtful conversations. He would be a good fit with the Friends orientation that the children will be experiencing.

  • fredfawcett

    Wherever the Obamas attend church services, they’ll have to hope that the priest or preacher giving the sermons doesn’t say anything that might offend Rush Limbaugh and his ilk.One word perceived as criticism of ANYTHING this country has ever engaged in, and the Reverend Wright department of the GOP goes on double overtime.

  • CCNL

    Paganplace, Paganplace, Paganplace,Defaming?? Hmmm, noting history and reality or the availabily of on-line Wiccan spells is not “defaming” anyone or any church or any coven. I communicated my “Crossanized” Catholicism to my Catholic pastor in a very diplomatic letter. He sympathized with me to some degree but added he thought Professor Crossan’s books would be on the RCC forbidden book list which he noted no longer exists (thank god!!)And I still attend Mass on Sunday knowing that much of which is presented is not of theological worthiness but I enjoy the singing and camaraderie. And BO, the leader of the “Immoral Majority”, will not be allowed in our parish church.

  • DavidinDallas

    Frankly, David Waters, I don’t give a damn. I’d be content if the Obamas announced that they were atheists. Whatever they choose, let us “pray” that our new president expands the separation of church and state. I’m truly tired of science being trumped the “faith”. What ever happened to our faith in knowledge and what is right. Instead, we’ve let the radical religious factions of our country dictate to everybody else how our lives should be lived.

  • dddvu


  • ridagana

    WashPost:Can the Obamas Choose a Church? Will We Let Them? Indeed excellent questions. In the NYTimes today the following 3 points gives Obama a bit more choice what level of insanity he can live with:

  • cwogaman

    I could suggest to them a pastor but couldn’t name her here.

  • RaoTayi

    I find the premise of this article quite offensive. It presumes that I should care which brand of bronze age mythology this president prefers. I personally wish he did not subscribe to any brand of mythology. Why should it matter to anyone which church he goes to. But alas it isn’t so. I still voted for him, as long as he keeps to himself the superstitions he allows himself to believe. You theists have no concern at all about our feelings, but you want us to always soft pedal our opinions about your beliefs. The hypocrisy of it stinks.Lastly how presumptuous of this author that Obama family needs the support and guidance of the faith community. What are we chopped liver? What he needs is none of that crap, but guidance of his reasoning and few lucky breaks.

  • sypage

    My advice is to mind your own business. This is not your business, nor mine, nor Sally Quinn’s. The Obamas do not need your “help” in choosing how they worship.

  • jrspeck

    I agree with many here that spending time visiting as many churches as possible in the DC area. I would start with Washington National Cathedral as it is truly a church for all people. One should not be frightened by the rich Episcopal tradition as it will present everyone with the rich heritage of the church. It has one of the most beautiful structures in the US, the grounds can easily be secured for the First Family and I am sure they would enjoy worshiping with the diverse congregation.

  • Alex511

    fr flgrossman:>The Obama family could solve a lot of church problems by dropping the Anglo-Saxon Calvinist religions for a while and simply going to a Lutheran Church.ewww, NO, esp if it’d be a misery synod church, one of the MOST anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Woman that I’ve ever been in contact with. I suggest a United Methodist Church, or if not them, how about New York Avenue Presbyterian?

  • CCNL

    Hmmm, we see members of the “Immoral Majority” are a bit upset by some of us noting the obvious. But should there be silence about the “out of control sex in the city” situation as so depressingly seen the destruction of womb-babies by the millions and the 19 million cases of STDs per year to include the $14.7 billion/yr it cost to cure said diseases??And how in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive would be a good start. And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of sexual activity and that oral sex, birth control pills, condoms and chastity belts are no protection against STDs. Might a list of those having a STD posted on the Internet help? Sounds good to us!!!! Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???

  • Calabrese99

    Why not have services in the White House with visiting pastors from all churches? This would solve the problem of showing favoritism to any one church while enhancing security.

  • TracyDC

    Oh no. First the dog, then the school, now their church? What’s next? Opining about their choice of underwear?

  • sarahabc

    I would love for this issue once and for all to be completely irrelevant with the U.S. people.

  • michael_from_sydney

    Angela Doolin – Thank you very much for your post. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Also, you guess correctly – I am a Catholic. However, my father was raised a Methodist, so I guess he’s rubbed off on me a bit. I also try to “honour my father and mother” (both Protestants) as much as I can, so I’m don’t like to push inter-denominational differences too much.As for those who seek to deny communion (or any other sacrament of God’s grace) to others, here in Australia we experienced a bit of that recently. The NSW State Parliament voted for a bill to allow embryonic stem cell research, and our Archbishop threatened Catholic MP’s who voted for the bill that they would be denied Communion until they did penance. As a lay eucharistic minister in my parish, I was concerned about this and spoke to my priest. He said it was unreasonable to expect every minister in the diocese to (a) know by sight every MP who voted for the bill; or (b) know whether they had recevied the sacrament of reconciliation since voting for the bill. Further, I hold the view that a minister can NEVER know whether a communicant is a properly disposed Catholic who can appropriately receive Communion. Therefore, the Church should always lovingly exhort all people to embrace the faith, and all the faithful to repent their sins before God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and all the reconciled to reverently embrace the Lord’s body and blood in the Eucharist. However, no human within the Church can ever presume to decide on any other person’s behalf whether that person believes, or is reconciled, or is reverent. That is the perspective I come from when I read the contributions of CCNL and others.

  • michael_from_sydney

    SGOEWEY – what a wonderful post! I agree with you 100%. What you say reminds me of the advice I received before choosing which translation of the Bible to read: “The best Bible translation is the one you’ll actually read.”

  • CCNL

    Michael_from_sydney , Considering the fact that many historic Jesus and NT exegetes believe that the Last Supper was not an historic event, the MPs probably will not be too upset if they were not served what, as per many experts, is nothing more than a thin diet wafer.e.g. See “At the same time, Luedemann concludes that the portrayal of Jesus celebrating such a ritual on the night before his death is not historical. He is clear that there is “no generic relationship” between any actual final meal and the Lord’s Supper understood in cultic terms. He also denies the Passover character of the supper as a Markan creation. Like Meier (below), Luedemann does accept the saying (Mark 14:25) about drinking wine in the kingdom of God as authentic. He concludes: (this saying) “hardly came into being in the early community, for in it Jesus does not exercise any special function for believers at the festal meal in heaven which is imminent. Only Jesus’ expectation of a the future kingdom of God stands at the centre, not Jesus as saviour, judge or intercessor.”

  • michael_from_sydney

    CCNL – thanks for the post. You are perfectly free to disbelieve in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit if you wish. You are even free to base your theological beliefs on articles posted on Wikipedia, rather than on the teachings passed down to us from the Apostles through the Church and the Scriptures. However, you should then make it clear that your arguments are not Christian in substance, since you deny the most fundamental creeds of the Christian faith as believed by the very earliest of the faithful in the Church (as written in the Apostle’s Creed). It is not coherent for you to base your views on anit-Christian beliefs, and then to use those views to disqualify adherents to the Christian Church.

  • flgrossmann

    The Obama family could solve a lot of church problems by dropping the Anglo-Saxon Calvinist religions for a while and simply going to a Lutheran Church.

  • KrisinAL


  • EnemyOfTheState

    I’d like to echo one of the comments that said he should skip church and just run concentrate on running the country. He can do that without the help of any invisible friends.

  • flipper49

    They probably should visit around till they find a church they’re comfortable in. …not comfortable such as in just filling a pew, but one in which they can participate. Then they can choose to joint it if they desire.It shouldn’t be very hard for them to find a church which teaches hatred and racism as their former one did, anyway. Maybe we’ll all be lucky and he’ll find a truly life-changing Christian church.

  • MdLaw

    My Suggestion? Issues a press release that goes something like:The First Family has been impressed with the sheer number of houses of worship within easy motorcade distance of Presidential Residence, and they have been overwhelmed with the generous invitations they have received from numerous congregations worthy of a Presidential entourage. However, at this point, the President & First Lady have decided that it would be imprudent to make a choice without a sufficient visitation period. They anticipate that it will take approximately four years to visit those Churches meeting security requirements. After they have completed visitation, the First Family hopes to be in a better position to make this most important decision. End result, everyone retains hope and, as visitors, the Obamas can slip out without tithing.

  • ridagana

    A strange picture here of some moslem islam girls, the gay pope, and Bush but then an article about Obama. A rather hasty cut and paste job.

  • njpeachey

    After we figure out this pressing issue, I hope there will be ample discussion regarding where the Obama’s will go to get their hair cut and their prescriptions filled. Seriously people, come on! This issue does not warrant an article! Choosing a church home is a personal matter. There are much more important decisions Obama will have to make that actually, ummh, AFFECT THE COUNTRY! Let’s focus on those.

  • anti-danyboy

    The only comment I have is a hope for the sake of the country that they stay in Chicago with their mob and terrorist friends.

  • fink

    They should sleep in on Sunday. TO hell with what anyone else thinks.

  • danredmondfootball

    I just hope it’s not a racist church….like his last one.

  • crlchild

    A new church?What a load of crap.

  • bjanna1

    The government has no business telling people how and where they should worship. By the same token, we have no business pushing a church on the Obamas.CCNL’s “immoral majority” comment clearly labels him/her as a member of the ignorant set of religious radicals who profess to be both Christian and moral when the truth is they could not be more opposite. This group of people should be treated with the same wariness that we treat Islamic fundamentalists. They are the people who give religion a bad name.

  • scoote1

    Though he’s skirted around questions regarding his faith, his non-answers are clear answers. Our founding forefathers (who I am sure are rolling over in their graves) to think that this country will be lead by someone who believes in something other than “One Nation Under GOD.” Which, if you learned anything in history that is what this country was founded on!

  • rivenq

    Missing a birth certificate , may be Obama has a baptism certificate.

  • bnd4tx

    Although the National Cathedral is certainly grand enough for HRH Obama, it is hard to find an American hating, pro-abortion congregation like the one that he is used to, even in Washington, D.C..

  • angeladoolin

    Michael_from_Sydney–What a beautiful message. From your post I’m guessing you’re probably Catholic. As a United Methodist, it’s sadly rare that I come across a Catholic who speaks with such humility about the openness of Christ’s table to all who love him and seek forgiveness, so it was lovely and refreshing and hopeful to read your words. We are not put here on this earth to deny God’s care and forgiveness to others, but to love them as God does–to warm the spark in their hearts that opens them to God’s unconditional love and mercy.As for the Obamas’ church choice, they should go wherever they feel comfortable. It’s a very personal decision. My only hope would be that they choose a church that embraces diversity and inclusiveness.

  • cthehill

    Judging from the comments, not too many people attended Sunday services that had a healthy dose of faith, hope and charity.There are several approaches the Obamas could take:

  • szwheelock

    Our pastor has already communicated our invitation to the Obamas, including an incidental and fortuitous face-to-face at a rally; however, we’re in Northern Virginia, which is probably much too far for regular attendance.I’d recommend Peoples Congregational, which will maintain his familiar UCC ties with a little less fire-breathing. It’s probably where we’d gravitate to if we lived in the District, thanks largely to their jazz ministry. The decision, however, is and must remain entirely theirs.

  • jclark3

    I side with the sleep in and have a good breakfast voting block. The only true believers we’ve had in my adult lifetime were Bush Jr and Carter and they were horrible presidents. But Obama will indeed go to church, as he believes he has to keep up appearances and silence the nut cases that would point to his absence as some sort of moral failure. I can only hope when he’s listening to someone drone on about how many angels will fit on the head of a pin he’s daydreaming about something more useful. Like his next workout.

  • diandbill

    Why not continue with his black theology church? I’m sure he can find one within the district.

  • ah0928a

    I’d suggest St. Augustine’s Catholic Church on V St NW. I know Obama’s not Catholic, but it’s a vibrant and diverse church with a strong sense of its history, a fabulous choir, and a lively community dedicated to social justice.

  • CharacterCounts

    Interesting blog. Thank you to those who have proved that the ignorant and the racist are still live and well in America, even in supposed Christians. We still have a lot of work to do. Obama should choose his church carefully; he should be equally careful regarding those he associates with in the church. I am sure that many of the nastiness expressed here is from some of the persons sitting in a pew on Sunday. For all the goodness that the church can be, it is never a pleasant revelation to learn again just exactly how much damage can be done in the name of God.

  • drum_sing

    Since they must have some degree of professed supernatural beliefs to be where they are I suggest that among the many faiths and denominations available they choose the Unitarian Church. This will be the most inclusive, modern, progressive choice they can make other than eschewing religion all together in favor of reason.

  • _virginian_

    Why not just invite Rev. Wright to the White House for private services? No doubt that’s what the Obamas want to do anyway.

  • lallabatiti

    The Unitarian Church would be my first choice for the Obamas: One neutral God for all, as I see it…The second would be the National Cathedral.

  • JackN

    Why not make the rounds of the different churches in the DC area, or invite their pastors to the White House for Sunday (and Saturday) services? This president who is dedicated to diversity could thus make a powerful statement about ecumenism and the equality of different religious beliefs in people’s lives. I’m sure the different churches will be thrilled to host or be hosted by President Obama and his family.

  • GwenWade

    My only comment is, First the Obama’s need to decide and make of their minds as to if they are Christians (Disciples/Followers) of JESUS CHRIST? If so, they need to strive to be regular attendees (as much as possible) of a Bible believing, Bible teaching Congregation where JESUS CHRIST is LORD!!! If not, it really does not matter, where they attend???

  • lwhitener

    CCNL, you sound like yet another rabidly anti-choice male. When you get pregnant, then I’ll be interested in your opinion. Until then, do us all a favor: take a long hike off of a short pier.

  • rwcole

    The Obama’s should imitate the great Ronald Reagan who didn’t ever go to church- hard to criticize his choice of churches then- when asked the Obamas can make some vague statement about worshipping God in their own way.

  • jkg44

    My general impression is that Obama is more spiritual than religious, so perhaps a Unitarian or non-dominational church. While, it is really none of our business where he goes to church, Obama and the Democrats (in general) have demonstrated that they do not wear thier religion or spirituality on thier sleeves. They seem to be more mature and private about the whole topic and certainly far less hypocritical and judgemental than the Republican regime. This is only my opinion, but my impression is the Republicans with thier judgemental and hypocrital associations over the last decade have made a mockery of Christianity and turned it into a nothing more than counterfit religion. It is a shame for those of us who quietly draw our daily strength from the bible’s simple message of love and tolarance.

  • w2bsa

    National City Christian Church.Might I add that it was also the home church of James A. Garfield. So, the church has been the church of 2 Presidents. It is in communion with the UCC and shares the same beliefs. National City is also congregationally governed as are all UCC and Christian Church(Disciples of Christ) congregations.

  • lioness_ohyes

    Where did any President go to church? Why do people care so much? FREEDOM OF WORSHIP means he can do what he wants…I assume that’s just to go worship, go home and watch football like folks all over America. It’s pretty sad that they’re probably NEVER going to be able to worship in peace. Every eyeball will be focused on them to do something “non-Christian”. They could turn on some Joel Olsteen and worship together as a family in the comfort of home, or maybe invite a few friends and family for brunch and fellowship until they find a church home. American IS NOT 100% Christian nor should it be, and all “organized religions” I know of give praise and honor to “one supreme entity”. No matter what we call said being; it’s still “GOD” to all. All but the Pseudo-Christian.

  • southernlib

    W doesn’t go to church and nobody cares because he has the good Christians convinced that he’s a good Christian. I wish we were evolved enough to elect people with NO religion.As it is, we currently have only Rep. Pete Stark openly standing with those of us who don’t believe in the supernatural. Please, have the good manners not to pry into the Obama family’s personal lives in this way. It is SO rude.

  • Paganplace

    *looking at the below.* This is what *happens* when you mix church and state. Told you so.

  • CCNL

    Michael_from_sydney,Thanks for the concern. Actually I am at peace now with my “Catholic” religion. It is amazing how the attestation/stratum analyses used by the Jesus Seminarians, e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen (On Faith panelists), agree with what is currently being taught in graduate theology classes at many large Catholic universities (e.g. Catholic U, Notre Dame).Major agreements achieved but by different methods:1. There was no physical resurrection (i.e. Heaven is a Spirit State)2. And it therefore follows there was no ascension and no assumption.3. There is/was no original sin. A&E were fictional characters living in mythical land.4. And it therefore follows, baptism does not erase original sin since there is no sin to erase. Limbo therefore is a non-issue.5. Jesus was crucified but details of the deed have little historic verification.As per Professor J.D. Crossan,(From Crossan and Watts book, Who is Jesus????)“My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety. I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those “last week” details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered.”

  • biasmedia

    Maybe the new President of strong faith would rather be at the gym on Sunday morning.

  • kcgustaf

    Where he goes to church is up to the President Elect on familial grounds. That said, I think it would be great if he popped by to St. Sophia’s. Its a Greek Orthodox Church, but it is absolutely beautiful, and they host a nice lunch after services!

  • ebleas

    CCNL wrote:Condoms are NO protection against STDs? Hmmm. Seems the CDC and countless scientific studies disagress with you on this one:”Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive. The ability of latex condoms to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies as well as in epidemiologic studies of uninfected persons at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected partners.””Laboratory studies have demonstrated that latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of STD pathogens.”What part of that don’t you understand?

  • ebleas

    CCNL -You stated:”condoms and chastity belts are no protection against STDs.”Which is patently false. Condoms have been shown to be extremenly effective in preventing the trasnmission of STDs. Don’t dance around the issue. Be big enough to admit your mistake. Are you capable of doing this?

  • ebleas

    CCML dribbled:”Might a list of those having a STD posted on the Internet help? Sounds good to us!!!! Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???”Why stop at STDs? Why not extend your list to all socially communicable diseases? Then we could list all “social predators” who dare interact with another human being while having their infection. Why single out STDs CCNL?

  • ZZim

    It appears to me that Barak’s original choice of a church was driven by the needs of his political career. So was his rejection of that church. Given the church-going image he has projected during the campaign, he needs to find a new church in order to maintain that image. I think National Cathedral is the safest choice, so he will probably want to go there.Michelle will probably do whatever he tells her to do, but she might not. Obama has chosen to craft an image as a African-American churchgoer to further his political career. But Michelle is actually an African-American and a churchgoer. It’s not image with her, she’s authentic. So this choice may cause some conflict in their marriage. Barak needs something safe and politically inoffensive. Michelle may want to attend an African-American church for community. My guess is that she will compromise by going to services with Barak and the girls on Sunday at National Cathedral and then participate in African-American church social activities with the girls at other times.

  • waterfrontproperty

    For heaven’s sake. How stale can a column get? This has been posted since Saturday morning. Enough already!P.S. – Who cares what you think, WaPo?

  • penman

    This blog is getting sillier every day. Can’t you people find someone on the WaPo staff or someone from outside to raise an important issue, pose an intelligent question?

  • s_j_thaikattil

    Dear DavidHappy Thanksgiving Day!Best wishes———————

  • CCNL

    Adoption of a child would be the better option for the Obamas. This would show their Christian committment to human life.