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. Dawn Ada, Ohio

    I really don't understand why this is a story. Each person has a right to worship as they see fit. And for all those ultra conservatives out there: How many of your God Fearing Neo Cons are attending church this morning and meeting with their mistresses this afternoon. This year has shown that just because you attend a good church doesn't mean you are doing good things once you leave there. The Obama's are good people who don't need the "front" of a church to let that shine through.

    December 25, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Bob

    I would rather have a President that does not attend church yet honors his God by allowing Christian values govern his actions than a President that does attend church, loudly and publicly proclaims his allegiance to Christian values and then ignores them in his actions.

    December 25, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. j in wy

    According to the article, Reagan didn't do it it must be ok, right, Right?

    December 25, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    A family chooses a faith based on their beliefs. Anyone can be protestant.

    December 25, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. LouAz

    CNN, why is this in the Political Ticker Section ? Where is your Religion Section ? Seems you have passed some religious judgement here. Uh, just what religion or church are you representing ? The world awaits your blessing.

    December 25, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Dylan from MN

    The people who actually care about this are the same people who won't vote for him anyway. I'm a white person, raised Lutheran that converted to Buddhism because Christians act nothing like Christ. Christ was an enlightened being who has been completely misinterpreted through dogma, thecontinuation of Christianity is a joke as far as presenting the actual meaning of Christ's teachings. Gandhi said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians, your Christians act nothing like your Christ".

    December 25, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. george kurian

    Obama forgot God and the church after he became president. You need God even though you have the biggest position in the world. God is above all the presidents. Don't forget that.

    December 25, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. ted

    That is sad. All people should be able to worship in church. I would suggest to Barack and Michele that they have a worship service at the WH and have a room set aside as a chapel of sorts. the unfortunate thing about life in the WH is that it can be isolating from the mainstream.

    December 25, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Dan

    Good. Separation of Church and State. Now hopefully the media will stop driving their stories on religion and presidency like it matters..

    December 25, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. dd

    the reagans never went to church either, so what's the big deal.

    December 25, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Turtleposer

    So the Obamas are spending time at home drinking cocoa & coffee & watching their girls open gifts. What's wrong with that?

    What does attending church do? Does it help anyone? Ok, Christians attending church allows me to get a better seat at a pancake house, but otherwise it says absolutely nothing about the quality of the person attending church. Most people attend church because they want to appear to be better people without actually being better people.

    December 25, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. lisa

    I agree with the majority of the commenters ... what does it matter? Founded on separation of church and state and finally a President who is willing to reflect that. Religion is a private matter, between a person and their spiritual beliefs. I am just as tired of fundamentalists (of all religious persuasions) throwing their religion in my face daily as I am of a media that wants to make a story ... where none exists. Happy Holidays to all!!!

    December 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Mike

    Interestingly enough, if the church was following the mandates of Jesus, instead of filling their coffers with gold, silver, andworks of art, building large ornate churches with stainedglass windows. No country would have to worry about healthcare.

    December 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Church is just a building..

    There is no need for 'church' .. God is all around us.

    December 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Leo in California

    OMG! You have got to be kidding me? THIS IS NEWS? Who cares what he and his family do for Christmas? I didnt go to church either...CONDEMN ME CNN...

    Lets stick to what is truly important and quit worrying about the little stuff.

    December 25, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Francisco Cardenas

    This "church issue" is really more of an issue for the Media than it is for the American public. I would rather see our President work for the good of all people than be a church attending hypocrite who espouses the words of God for political gain. The Media should just stop this incessant nonsense of making a story out of a non-story.

    December 25, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    That is why seperation of church and state is here; religion and politics never go good together.

    December 25, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. George

    I am sure God is in Hawaii....... Why not ?

    Obama knows where to go in the Winter also.

    December 25, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. pa. independent

    Church doesn't have to be bricks and mortar. It's how you live your life.

    December 25, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    Besides, President Reagan hardly ever went to church during his presidency; so what is the big deal here?

    December 25, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. Roger

    The President of the United States is suppose to set an example for the electorate. In Obama case I am not sure he knows what religion he is practicing. I hope he is not going to break tradition of prior Presidents.

    December 25, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    I think I could get along with Christ than I could with the "Christians" today.

    December 25, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Chad in Des Moines

    Well if he didn't attend Christmas service, then he shouldn't be going to Hawaii for "Christmas"! Christ's birth is the reason of the season that most Americans have forgot about. Christianity has had a profound impact on our culture (even though all liberals will dispute this) and has formed the peoples of America that we all have become! It is sad that the President cannot realize this! oh well, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    December 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Papasan


    December 25, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. S Callahan- This is the 4th Week of Advent, light the candle for LOVE

    What 's more important than the brick and morter is that he has GOD IN HIS HEART...and I think he some that work for's Christmas..I'll leave it at that.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    December 25, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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