December 25th, 2009
06:06 PM ET
7 months 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. Jose

    Let them worship as they see fit. Not everyone has to go to a church filled with christian terrorists to fit in. Church is for brainwashing and mind numbed robots.

    December 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. Luzbo

    It is not necessary to attend church to love God or be a Christian. Attending a local church with a security entourage would be extremely disruptive, and I respect the President and Mrs. Obama for not doing that.

    December 25, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. j-tho

    i find it appalling that the media considers it appropriate to dissect the first family's churchgoing (or nonchurchgoing). in this country it is each family's (and individual's) right to go or not to go according to their own wishes and interests. as the song says, "ain't nobody's business but [my] own."

    we have become a nation of voyeurs and busybodies, and the media feeds into it with spurious stories like this.

    December 25, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Rafeul

    Imagine that???????

    December 25, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. I'm a Liberal-You got a problem with that?

    Why is this even an issue? Whether the Obamas go to church or not is a personal matter and is none of anyone's business.

    December 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Steve

    The family will be to-gether. I am certain they will pray. Just what is the issue here. Is it the fact that there is no photo op? Good Lord, the man deserves some private time with his family..

    December 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Wilmoth Nichols

    I think that church membership and attendance is a very private matter in the United States of America and I am not at all bothered that President and Mrs. Obama have opted to go to Hawaii rather than attend church in Washington, D. C. before going.
    I think he is a very good President, and I applaud him for being a good family man, also, and not necessarily in that order.
    May God bless President Obama and his family in the coming years.

    December 25, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Peggy Lucas

    God is everywhere – no matter if you chose to worship at home or at church. How often did Ronald Reagan go to church? or the Bushes? I feel it is no ones business how you worship or what religion you are as long as you have faith and you believe.

    God Bless President Obama and his family!

    December 25, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. Wilmoth Nichols

    I am very happy that Barack Obama is President of these United States, and I wish him well.

    December 25, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. mm1200x

    Church woes??!!! The seperation of church and state-finally a President who doesn't care what you think about whether he goes to church and talks to his invisible friend.

    December 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. indeeptrouble

    Church, Smerch, who needs it....Its eithr with jermaiah wright or with no one!!!! RIP USA 1776-2009 (Soon to be 2010)

    December 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. Marie MD

    My family didn't vote for President Obama because of his religious beliefs or lack thereof.
    Do we really need to bother with this anymore? Give it up.

    December 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. lpima

    People being people, they always find time for whatever is truly important to them. I hope the American people note well, what is and is not important here.

    December 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Lillie P. Ford

    What is the big deal if the First Family don't attend church the way the media think they should. Worship is a personal thing within each & everyone. Maybe the people who are watching the President & his family every move should spend some of that time and attend church themselves. If the President say left ,then the media said he should have went right. Tell us of the good things he has done and stop all of the stuff that don't get the country out of the mess it is in.

    December 25, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Reaganomics Leads To Feudalism

    When I voted for Barack Obama on Nov. 4, 2008, I was voting for a President, not for a Pastor. I already have a Pastor, and when I am in need of a man of God, I will go see this Pastor. I do not look to the President of the United States for spiritual counsel or guidance.

    "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and render unto God the things that are God's" Jesus Christ

    Pastors have one job, the President has another. Let's not confuse the two.

    December 25, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Faith.

    I can understand the President and First Lady's concerns about finding a new Church. Being accused of abiding by and (or) condoning all the things his first pastor did and said is enough to make any person in political office back away from committing to a religious organization. The President showing concern for another minister and his followers is typical of President Obama. His concern for other people is only one of the reasons he was elected.

    December 25, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Truth Matters

    George and Laura Bush rarely went to church while in Washington either, but I guess it wasn't much of a problem for them because they aren't regular church goers anyway, like the Obama's have been for the past 25 years.

    December 25, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Independent

    I'm a bad person, I didn't go to Mass for Christmas Eve or Christmas day....shame on me....

    I didn't know it was written in gold that you had to attend church on Christmas Eve....

    I was always taught that God was everywhere....

    December 25, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Mary

    A poor excuse for not attending church services is still a poor excuse, but I suppose it is better than no excuse!!!

    December 25, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    I already have a pastor, I needed a President when I voted for Barack Obamaa!

    December 25, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. Truth Matters

    I think most church goers are glad they don't have to wait in lines for an hour or two to go through metal detectors before being allowed to enter the church because the President and his family are there.
    Although it would be pretty exciting to go to services at the same time as President Obama and his lovely family.

    December 25, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. max in maryland

    Lighten up. Not everyone goes to Church to celebrate Christmas. You can have a relationship with God and never set foot in a Church. God doesn't care about petty stuff, unlike the Republicans that would make this into the weeks big news story...

    December 25, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Bev

    The Obama's already had their big religious celebration...........

    Remember when the Obama's went on vacation to Martha's Vineyard during Ramadan (spelling???).

    The Obama's took their vacation at that time-–so that they could pray toward Mecca and celebrate in peace.

    Except for giving them an excuse to throw numerous parties at the White House--Christmas and Hannakah do not mean anything to them. These holidays are only important to Christians and Jews.

    December 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Jacob

    I hope the Obama's have a wonderful holiday! Thank you for working so hard this year, and thank you for working for ALL of the people!

    December 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. jules sand-perkins

    I applaud the President's not going to church if he prefers to stay home.

    We have too many lies about "church."

    Honesty is often evidence of profound spirituality.
    I don't know or care about President Obama's spiritual life.
    I do.notice, as a Christian, that Muslims tend to be extremely honest.

    December 25, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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