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

Time: No churchgoing Christmas for the first family

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Truth Hurts

    All of you people who defend him by saying "seperation of church and state" are clueless and are a perfect example of our public school system and its liberal agenda. You can tlak about religion and go to church as a government official and not violate any laws. He should act like a leader but, as a chicago thug politician I guess we have to listen to excuses for his lack of leadership.

    Yes, this is news but not much. Did you expect our first half black, christain moslem President to be perfect? Considering the press slobbers all over him and covers his pathetic showing thus far, this story is suprising. What will the press report next, that his wife is an amazon that dips snuff. The liberals and entitlement whining slugs will pee all over themselves on that one.

    December 25, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  2. Ted

    I am sick and tired of those who post here, abusing the phrase "separation of church and state," implying that this somehow means that religion or religious values have no place in government.

    "Separation of church and state" means that the state shall not mandate ONE religion (like the Chuch of England), giving citizens the freedom to practice the religion of their choice.

    It does NOT mea that religious values and principles should not guide our leaders. Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and religious morals and values are intrinsic to our American laws and culture.

    I am not surprised that the Obamas do not attend religious services. His every word and action is devoid of any guiding moral principles or values. How sad.

    December 25, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Bill Sanford

    This is perfectly consistent behavior for this anti-American president, and this anti-American administration.

    December 25, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Heath in NC

    Why would he attend church? Our President believes it is acceptable to kill innocent, unborn children. Something that is denounced by both Bible believing churchs' and practicing Catholics across our great land...I wouldn't want to show my face in either of these if that was my stand. I personally think he would prefer to publically announce his preference to Islam, however, that would associate him with a religion most closely tied to terrorism around the world...that of course couldn't be good for his political future w/ the American people. So he does what he does best...talks smoothly and rides the fence so not to offend anyone, Christian and non-Christians alike. But to me, as a born again Christian, he has obviously chosen.
    Regardless, unless he is trusting God to give him clear direction in leading our country, it will be the people of the United States that will ultimately suffer. Fearfully, I don't believe this is the case.

    December 25, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  5. Mary P

    And yet, no one makes mention about all these parties for high profile people and "friends" of Obama's that are in the energy biz, what it costs and keep regurgitating the "inherited" line. They spew it daily, sometimes hourly, while the President hosts his "private" parties in his effort of transparency. They gag out "inherited" the problems, but make people want to punch them when the good stuff happens it's all because of Obama. Which is it? Obama is all or none. I'm sick of his taxpayer waste and the blind followers just marching along behind him while he renegs on every campaign promise he made and throws party after party after party and takes private trips.

    December 25, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  6. DLewis

    I could care less if he goes to church on Christmas or Christmas Eve. But it's still interesting that, after almost a year, he is still having a hard time to find a church to take his family to. But then again, he doesn't have to go to church. He just rolls out his prayer rug, because, after all, he can't quite attend mosque out in public. That would be admitting what a lot of us already know.

    December 25, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Steve. NC

    I am a strong believer... in the separation of church and state. As such,
    I applaud this President and his family who are good people , without church attendance. Ethics in Government are more important than one's religion or church attendance. This President has my vote for a successful tenure of two terms.

    December 25, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. jcd in Texas

    I am not surprised at all that the Obamas do not attend church.

    I did go to church on Christmas Eve and go on Wednesdays and Sundays of regular weeks. Those who don't attend do not realize the blessings they are missing by not attending.

    We will continue to pray for the Obamas and all people who do not know Jesus.

    December 25, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. llinmpls

    He doesn't tax the rich and all we get is a lame article about not going to church!?! I don't go to church either and I guarantee I would have taxed the rich so hard they would had me killed. Merry Christmas.

    December 25, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  10. Steve. NC

    I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. As such, I applaud the President and his family who are good people.... without church attendance. Ethics in Government is more important than parading one's religion before the nation.
    I wish this President well....and will vote for him again in 2012.

    December 25, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. Insightful

    Y'know. It may not be a scientific poll, but looks like the pro-Obama's far outnumber the teabaggers on this and other CNN threads. More like a 10-1. I don't think we have anything to worry about the 2010 elections, provided we march as we comment! !

    December 25, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. ATR

    Whose business is it when and if an American citizen attends church? I don't want anyone telling me I have to worship anywhere. If the President wants to attend church, fine, if not, that's ok too. This is America, home of the free, right?

    December 25, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. Eid Hanna

    I am just asking why Obama said that America is not a christian country and he said also that since there are many Muslims in America we consider it as a Muslim Country.

    December 25, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. Wanda

    Whether to attend church or not is a highly personal matter whether you are president of the us or not. I am sure the president and mrs. obama are doing what they think is best for their family. This is no one's business. Going to church does not make the christian but accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

    December 25, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Chad in Georgia

    It is interesting that both Christians and non-Christians believe that Obama really isn't a Christian. We found something we can agree on.

    December 25, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  16. MaryJo

    I know it is inconceivable to some of you jerks responding to this item, but Obama actually apologizes to the people of Washington, D.C. when his motorcade moves through the city because it so disrupts their lives. He actually thinks about his impact on others down to that level, and I can well believe that he does not want to destroy a church, which is what would have to happen security-wise, in order to attend. I wish he could find someone who could come to him and his family for religious services. My family was able to celebrate communion at home when my mother was uanble to attend church and while it would not be the same for the children as going to Sunday school, it can still be very meaningful. It has been a very strong memory for me for 20 years. I appreciate the Obamas' true concern for others. It shows in many, many ways.

    December 25, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  17. Babe

    This is not news, and this is not political, and much as some people have been attempting to politicize religion, it doesn’t even belong in religion. But most of all it is none of our business!

    It is in fact annoying to find stories on the Obamas that were not done about some former presidents, but inasmuch as this minutiae fascinates you, it still does not belong in any news section. How about in a social section such as where you might put an update on their social plans for the coming week. In other words, this is a rather lightweight piece of reporting, if you even want to glorify it by that name or give it that much weight.

    December 25, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  18. Kendra

    WHO CARES?! Honestly, going to Christmas Eve service is my least favorite part of Christmas. I'm not a religious person and in reality, after I "lost God," I was so much more at peace and happier with my life. To me, the holidays are about family, not some man that may or may not have been the son of God. In reality, Jesus was born sometime in the Spring. I've had so many people get upset with me making Christmas more about family than God with their reasoning being, "But, but, it's Jesus' birthday!" No, it isn't.

    December 25, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  19. Ben


    "His concern for other people is only one of the reasons he was elected."

    Concern for others had nothing to do with it. Getting dumb sheep to buy into his line of BS was the biggest reason. Unfortunately for you and the rest of the huddled masses that voted for him it looks like independants and moderates have started to figure hin out.

    December 25, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  20. homework

    Muslims all over the world, even in Iran and Iraq celebrate Christmas. Not because they believe that Jesus is the son of God, the Savior of the World. But because they like the decorations, and presents. They certianly don't go to church either.

    December 25, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  21. Connie in NJ

    Most presidents I think find a renewed since of spirituality upon entering the white house. Lincoln was not a churchgoer but he sure invoked God.a lot, at least in name, during the war. Obama is the leader of a free country in which it's nobody's business what religion you are or where/if you go to church. So media buzz off.

    December 25, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  22. Pat

    I agree with others here. It doesn't matter – now. He doesn't need to start going to church until Christmas 2011 when he'll have to start pretending to be a practacing christian again to get the 100 million Christian votes like he did in 2008.

    December 25, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  23. David from VA

    It's none of our business.....YES...separation of church and state. I don't care what church he goes to....would prefer none, quite frankly. All religion does is divide people and label them. And to the one who said the WH should provide services...BS! Not w/my tax money!!

    December 25, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  24. Seye

    The Obamas can have a church at the white house, where they can fellowship with other white house members, if they are serious about worshiping with other believers.

    December 25, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  25. Donkey Party

    Newsflash – President Obama and his family didn't make it to church services because he was flying to his childhood home in Hawaii. Had the Republican stall tactics over health care reform been averted, perhaps he would've had time.

    December 26, 2009 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
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