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.

Full story

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Bob Zmuda

    Dude, nobody has time to do everything. Sometimes sacrifices must be made. Christmas is much more about family and togetherness than it is about religion, or gifts. Some ultra-religious people want to paint this as the holiest day ever and blah blah blah, but if they were being honest they would consider Easter as that, and allow Christmas to be an honest celebration of life.

    December 25, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. D. Tree

    I hope the President and First Lady are able to find a new church they can feel at home in – and one that people will hopefully not hold against them.

    December 25, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Hypocrites

    To all of you liberals who are saying this is the Obama's business and that the media should leave them alone should have butted out of Sarah Palin's personal life when you were alleging that her son was in fact not her son but her daughters.


    December 25, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Sam Smith

    Why is everybody picking on him? Leave the man alone! He has enough on his plate and will seek divine guideance if and when needed and in a way that befits his office.

    This non-story already made it to the talking points of the wingnuts, wonder how long it will take before the pictures of the Presient in that african outfit reappear.

    Read it from my lips: the Constitution does not require anybody to believe in any god, quite the opposite! And if you don't like it that way then get a ticket to Iran, you unamerican, unpatriotic traitor of our ideals!

    December 25, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Dave Martin

    How come you guys didn't do a Reagan church watch? He very rarely went.

    December 25, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Stop the liberals by any means

    It's sad to see the results of public education. People now have no ideal of the Christian foundation of this great country. In fact, the ignorant viewers of CNN actually belief that this great nation was founded on something else. Poor education keeps the voting rosters of the Dummiecrats full. Don't believe it.....go to the south side of Chicago of the public skools in Detroit . Liberals LIE!!!!

    December 25, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Inga

    President Obama and his family can pray at home in the White House. God will hear their prayers from that location as well. It is not mandatory to attend or belong to any CHURCH. PERIOD!

    December 25, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. JenniferM

    I'm not really surprised they have ducked the church scene ... the guy is like a movie star. His very presence would cause a flood of crowds and displace the regular worshippers. I think he's got the right idea worshipping at Camp David whenever he's there.

    December 25, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Roland-St George,UT

    He didn't go to Temple on Hanukkah or to a Mosque on Ramadan. BIG DEAL! It's his holiday too...who cares what he does with his free time?

    December 25, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Not News

    What did you expect?

    December 25, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Frozone

    I didn't go to a church either. Sounds like a REAL American to me.

    December 25, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. nclaw441

    Of course the president is free to attend or not attend church. I think, however, that he SAID he was going to choose a church and attend it. He should have just SAID he had no intention of going to church while president in any regular fashion, and folks could have dealt with that as they wished. However, this president, as most all have been, is a poltiican, and just cannot resist saying one thing and doing another. It is his right, but it is OUR right, as "bitter clingers" to call him on it.

    December 25, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Janalee

    Is anyone really surprised that the obamas don't attend church? These people find time to party with the hollywood loons, dirty rappers and crude comedians, yet they don't ever have time to attend church! They say one thing, but prove another. These people are not Christians as they proclaim to be. Why don't they just admit it?

    December 25, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Samuel

    A lot of people really need to get a life or else stop being bias in such an obvious manner.

    December 25, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Michael

    Hear this Media bullies! SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!! If he wants to attend the polar bear club, that is okay too....leave it alone. At least he is not throwing the zealots at us who love to say they go to church but simply go through the motions for the public. I RESPECT OBAMA FOR NOT PLAYING THE FAKE CARD.

    December 25, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Mike in Oahu

    And the importance of this story is.....? CNN should hire some real journalists, if any still exist in the USA.

    December 25, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. CW in St. Paul

    And we should care why? Church is the only way to please your view of a Christian God?

    December 25, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Sorensen

    The penetration of religious beliefs is inverse proportional to the
    average I.Q. of a country.

    December 25, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. glen beck is off his meds again

    If he doesnt go to church he is among MILLIONS of others that will not be going either...who cares! Like I always say going to church makes you a christian as much as standing in your garage makes you a car. I love the president, and some ceremonious church thing is NOT what I want from him, I want him to enjoy HIS holiday with his family and take a break...he deserves it!

    December 25, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Donna

    About your comment Bev, how Christian of you. Tolerance people.

    December 25, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Susan in Hamilton

    And I do believe I read somewhere that a "church" is where more than 2 people who gather worship. I guess that could be just about anywhere. So leave the guy and his family alone please.
    If I am wrong, leave the guy and his family alone please.

    December 25, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Lori in St Pete

    BFD! Even some ministers don't go to church on Christmas! Does anyone else remember about 4 years ago when Joel Osteen's wife was involved in an altercation with a flight attendant while on a trip to Colorado for a Christmas ski vacation?! Hypocracy, thy name is rethuglican.

    December 25, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Jezmund

    A guy I used to work with used to call CNN "Communist News Network". Needless to say, he was a hard-core Republican. With articles like this one, I'd tend to think CNN stands for "Conservative News Network". This is not relevant news, and not only does it help divert attention from important issues, but also gives fuel to people like Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly.

    December 25, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Frank Jones

    "Church, in fact, has been a surprisingly tough issue for the Obamas." – umm yeah that's what happens when you listen to a deranged racist pastor for 20 years and then run for president.

    December 25, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Ex-NC-Pub

    The "TIMES" Amy Sullivan wrote the above article on the Obama's no-church for Christmas.

    (1) I suspose Amy knows what they did behind closed doors with the family
    (2) I wonder if Amy Sullivan and her family went to church. She felt inclined to tell about the Obama's, I am more interested in what she did.
    (3) I don't consider it MY business what the President does with his spiritual life; though, I know there are those who make it their business.
    (4) I suspect the TIMES Amy Sullivan is disappointed she didn't get a larger negative reaction... too bad Amy.... Merry Christmas

    December 25, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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