December 25th, 2009
06:06 PM ET
4 years ago

Time: No churchgoing Christmas for the first family

Church has been a surprisingly tough issue for the Obamas.

Church has been a surprisingly tough issue for the Obamas.

The Senate vote on final passage of health reform almost scuttled their plans, but it looks like the First Family will still make it to Hawaii for Christmas. They've had a whirlwind holiday season so far, starting with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, through hosting more than 50,000 people for 27 parties and open houses, and ending with a visit by the First Lady, Malia and Sasha, and the family's dog Bo, to deliver cookies to the Children's National Medical Center. The Obamas have also started their own holiday traditions in their new home, adding a Christmas wishing tree to the decorations festooning the White House.

But there's one common Christmas practice not on the First Family's schedule: a visit to Christmas Eve church services.

Church, in fact, has been a surprisingly tough issue for the Obamas. They resigned their membership with Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago in 2008 after Obama renounced the church's controversial former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. And while the First Family intended to find a local church to attend when they moved to Washington, concerns about crowds and displacing regular worshippers has prevented them from finding a new religious home during their first year here.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Keith in Austin

    Is this any real surprise?

    December 25, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Fitz in Texas

    I'm sure the Obama's miss those days when they attended Trinity United Church with their good friend Jeremiah Wright. They just haven't found that perfect church to attend. Must be tough when you have only, well lets see, 900 churches to pick from.

    December 25, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Perusing-through

    There is old adage that applies to the President's current situation regarding the search for a church home, it goes like this . . .


    December 25, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |

    Thank goodness Obama has discontinued this silly practice.

    Many of the former presidents have faked it, pretending to be christians. Let's face it, the main reason presidents attend church is to entertain voters who think that attending church is important.

    December 25, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. chris

    It does not surprise me that going to church is LAST on his list. Priorities right Mr. President. Merry Christmas

    December 25, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Kittyspop

    The nosy dogooders need to mind their own souls and stay out of other people's religious beliefs & practices. This is not news.

    December 25, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. katiec

    One most certainly does not have to go to church to be a good
    Christian. It is ones actions and what is in the heart that is important
    and our president and his family have shown how sincere, caring and dedicated they are to people of all races, gender, religious beliefs.

    December 25, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. TeddyN

    If you sit back and think about it, most families don't go to church on Christmas eve or Christmas day and doesn't get a mention. I think it's great what they have done this Christmas season. And for those who look forward to bashing the parties comment or fact that he and family are visiting Hawaii, All incumbants have done same parties and all incumbants have taken vacations. In fact, Pres Bush travelled to Crawford, a heck of a lot more in a year than Pres Obama has personal travels.

    December 25, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. CBR

    I would like to remind the media that religion is a private matter.

    I do not see the importance of this article on Christmas Day except to be controversial.

    December 25, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. Rick

    You don't have to go to church to believe in God or to pray. It no biggie. It makes me feel better they not to Religious. If they were they would already of been in a church. It scares the hell out of me when we get a president and hes telling us that God has told him someone we might know.

    December 25, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. David

    Why is there an expectation that the president has to attend a house of worship? Many, myself included, very much enjoy attending services but the realities of life in 2010 often get in the way. Religious practice is a very private matter, even among our most public of public figures and should be respected as such. Maybe the prez and his family would get more spiritual refreshment just sleeping in on Xmas morning!

    December 25, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    Maybe the Obama family could have services inside the White House and invite a different denomination/preacher either Sunday or each month.

    Seems that would solve some of their problems.

    Besides, it is NONE of our collective business whether they go to church or not.

    Not everyone feels compelled to tramp to a church each Sunday; many of us prefer to stay home and be religious privately.

    December 25, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Joe in Vegas

    Man's a realist.

    December 25, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. John

    Finally a president for Americans of all faiths and denominations, and those of no faith at all.

    December 25, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Sophie Martin

    So sorry for the Obama family that they have not had the freedom that is so dear to them and all of us: a place t o worship God in peace in the midst of a strong community of believers. I especially feel bad for the girls as they are missing such an important part of their formation , and of couse for all of us, that our President is deprived of this privilege...
    Let's pray that something breaks for them along this line.

    December 25, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Sadie

    So whats the big deal about not having a church to worship at.......if you belong to an organized religion that makes you a Christian? I am a Christian, but I no longer attend a church of oganized religion.......I was brought up prodestant, turned Catholic, now I attend no orgainized religion......I have my own love for God, Jesus in my own heart, I do good deeds for the poor and less fortunate, I love my neighbor as myself and I don't need a church to validate that I am a Christian.....just another issue to try to turn the tide on Obama.......why don't you all try acting like Christians instead of professing you are and not acting like it......

    December 25, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Just do it

    It helps to have your priorities in order.

    December 25, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. goofy

    What is the big deal,if any ? Biggest percentage of people don't go to church,why should it be a different standard for the prez ?

    December 25, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. NG

    how wonderful. finally, finally, he US does not have an overly religious evangelical Christian pandering slave in the white house. after reagan and bush, it is refreshing to have a normal human being who does not feel the need to promenade around, cloaked in the veil of religion, shamelessy appealing to fundamentalists. ihope obama does not go to chruch as pres ever again. he would have much more in common w/ the average US citizen if he did. the less religion a president has, the better for all of us. rememember, we were founded as a secular country w/ sharp restrictions on church and state. as you can see what a evangelical, fundamentalist president will get us; a "holy war" in Iraq and scientific impedment in the form of stem cells and climate change. rejoice!!

    December 25, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. lanray

    Excuses, excuses, excuses! If the Obama's really wanted to keep a good Christian image, they could have services in the White House, expecially on Christmas Eve. How embarrassing that this president hasn't continued the Christmas Eve services attendance as the presidential families before him. Hope he is just a one-termer.

    December 25, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Dan, TX

    So Obama is like Reagan.

    December 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Lou Lange

    Where the Obamas choose to go to church (if they so chose)is between them and (if they so chose) the deity they choose to worship. This is a non-story.

    December 25, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. from the middle

    Bush Jr & Reagan never went to church. That was never news.

    December 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Bob OnThis

    Who cares about Obama's Christmas plans??? The communist news network is still in love with this fool. One term Barry.

    December 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. Patrick

    Last time I checked, going to church or not is a personal decision. Personally, I don't care if they attend services or not. And neither should anyone else.

    December 25, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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