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. TBA

    The reason they have this as news is because there are some CHURCH NUTTS out there whom going to go out and yell that OBAMA is a Terrorist for not going to church. Then there is Palin whom going to say something about Obama not going to church and there are those who is going to beleive every single word she says. Yea, you know who you are. Not to mention the RNC/GOP is going to make some BS lie with this.

    December 25, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Jessica

    My father is a pastor and we didn't go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas.

    Give it a rest, people. The malicious and paranoid behavior shown on this comment section is the EXACT reason why Christianity has gotten such an awful name. Your comments show you to be no more godly than the "ungodly" people you're making snide comments about. In short... chill out. 😉

    Merry Christmas, everyone. I promise, we're not all like that. =)

    December 25, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Jason

    Religion needs to go the way of the dodo.

    December 25, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Cary from NJ

    Why doesn't he just admit he doesn't want to go? He needs to start passing laws to outlaw Christmas, right now. People don't believe in that mess anyway. We elected him to make some changes, now he needs to follow through!

    December 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. juge

    Oh forgoodness sakes. Why are you dissing on the President about church-going. G-d is in your heart and your mind and your deeds NOT in a building.

    December 25, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Dennis

    I call myself a Christian and attend church on a regular basis, but quite frankly what I see in the church a lot of the time and very frequently on these posts makes me embarrassed to be called a Christian. I truly believe it is time for REAL CHRISTIANS to start acting like one. And yes it is probably hard to find a decent church out of 900 these days.

    December 25, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. SC mom

    Where are their priorities??? Parties? Pretty trees???

    December 25, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Kim

    FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, why this is a problem? Where is it written that the First Family must attend church on Xmas Eve or Xmas Day??? Ronnie and Nancy didn't either, but of course all the right-wing nuts have conveniently forgotten this tidbit. Talk about a non-news item!!

    December 25, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Chad in Salt Lake City

    It's not anyone else's business what someone decides to do on Christmas Eve with their family, even when it's The President.

    December 25, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. me

    It is Barack and Michelle's business if they go to chuch or not.
    They are Protestants so what do you expect the aren't obligated to go.
    On a personal note i would be more concerned about the Vice Presidents church attendance.

    December 25, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. Rod the Ex Democrat

    Awe The Prez just cant find a radical racist church like the one he had back home. It just takes time so he will find an American hating pastor someday and then we will never hear the news complain about him again!

    December 25, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. irene

    I like the fact that the Obama's respect the separation between church and state. More politicians should do the same.

    December 25, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. Frank Sellers

    I couldn't care less if the Obamas go to church of not. I voted for Obama because I thought he could reverse the devastating policies of the fascist Bush administration. I'm sure Bush went to church every Sunday, and look at what an evil, cold-blooded bastard he turned out to be. Religios devotion, especially where politicians are concerned, doesn't mean squat. It's just another way for them to exhibit their hypocrisy.

    December 25, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. Lloyd Huffman

    Why do we hear more about Obama's wfe than the Vice President?O;of course so the media won't have to talk about those bonuses he is scammed out of and how this health care garbage will benefit the drug companies.I feel like it's the Soviet Union and media controls our thoughts.I don;t understand how CNN can be so biased and not touch any obama negatives of which there are many.Sorry women that don't deserve Mamograms.When you elect a Junior College guy President who strongarmed the Superdelagates and has made the worst decisions ever'is destroying our great Country.The media wants a one-party Government so there are no checks and eyes or choice involving teflon pres.Media should be barred from picking any official.God help us all.

    December 25, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. Obamalism

    One shouldn't claim to be what one is not...

    December 25, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. Trylon

    The attendance or non-attendance of the Obama Family at a church service over Christmas is not newsworthy. The social breach with Jeremiah Wright is no longer newsworthy, and an actual disservice to all parties to flog the dead issue. Please desist.

    But for Christians with an academic or otherwise achieved serious comprehension of multiple and competing theologies, the "religion" of Barack Obama remains a conundrum. It is not helped, frankly, by either of his autobiographical works nor the well intended exegesis of same by Desmond Tutu. Americans need to learn that, while BLT is short for bacon lettuce and tomato, it is also short for Black Liberation Theology – and that is the POV to which Chicago's Trinity Church adheres, independent of who is in the pulpit. Obama could have chosen to be churched in Chicago at a UCC congregation that does not embrace BLT. Yes, this is a very "back burner" matter but I am periodically checking the top of the stove.

    December 25, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  17. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    Religion should not be fodder for the News as it relates to the President. Where the President goes for Services is no one business except the First Family and the Secret Service.

    It is funny how many former Presidents insure that they get their Photo Ops coming out of Church, then once they leave office stop going to Sunday church.

    December 25, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. Peter E

    Why is this anybody's business other than their own family?

    December 25, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. Political moves...

    I believe the president and his family are only religious when it is politically convienient, where votes are at stake for instance. While I do believe Barack to be a good person with good intentions on most things i don't believe his religious choices have ever been about belief or service to others....what do you think?

    December 25, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Why does somebody's practice of faith matter these days? Our founding fathers were deists. Lincoln himself made every effort to keep the separation of church and state by ommiting refernces to God from most of his speeches. Eisenhower wasn't even baptized and has barely gone to church in his life. But God help us if a president with a jewish first name and muslim middle name, who is otherwise a well documented practicing christian, celebrates Christmas within the sanctitiy of his family, and not clogging people's churches with his massive security force!

    December 25, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  21. Al in Calif

    He didn't go to church this Christmas, (and doesn't go any other time) because he is not a Christian. He may have thought that way at one time but when his head grew to visions that he may be god himself, he would rather his minions follow him rather than God. And don't be fooled fools, his lies (again) about searching for a church home are about as stupid as OJ Simpson's statement that he's constantly looking for the killer of his wife. Besides, if he did go to church, he'd ask that all depictions of Jesus be covered so the guilt won't cause him to have a heart attack.

    December 25, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  22. DMR

    It is interesting how the lack of "church going" by George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were not an issue, but it is for the conservatives, now. The conservatives continue to prove they are just extremists with no clue about what they, as an individual, are about. This issue has been whipped up by Limbaugh, Beck and company as there is nothing else they can say/ This is nothing but media hype, that the conservatives are trying to get some traction with, and they keep repeating the story.

    Increasingly it appears the issue the so-called self-identified conservative have is that President Obama is a black man and is President. The rantings of the conservative that are being led by the antics of entertainers like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Bill O'Reilly are rather pathetic. Every post they make on this topic alone, only proves how shallow they are.

    December 25, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  23. Albert K. L.A., CA

    If the people can hold an elected official to a religious test, then soon government can hold people to such a test and soon after that the people cannot have a say about anything.. For proof of that truth consider the Taliban.

    December 25, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  24. susan clarke

    You've got to be kidding – but of course, no. Obama is concerned only with HIS own personal agenda. No time for church – kind of says it all don't you think? I believe he's the first President ever not to attend church. I knew when he was running for President that he would change oyur country forever – I didn't knoe it would be this much or this quickly!

    December 25, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  25. susan clarke

    You've got to be kidding – but of course, no. Obama is concerned only with HIS own personal agenda. No time for church – kind of says it all don't you think? I believe he's the first President ever not to attend church. I knew when he was running for President that he would change our country forever – I didn't know it would be this much or this quickly!

    December 25, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
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