CHURCH ATTENDANCE REPORTS…. I’ve noticed that the Politico has been reporting quite a bit since the election on Barack Obama’s church attendance, or in this case, the lack thereof. Yesterday, it had another item, from the estimable Ben Smith, under the headline, “Another Sunday without church.”
As my colleagues Jonathan Martin and Carol Lee noted last week, Barack Obama — despite undergoing a campaign maelstrom over his pastor — isn’t a regular churchgoer. He didn’t often attend Sunday services on the trail, and — unlike Presidents-elect Bush and Clinton — hadn’t been since his election.
He extended that streak this morning, with the pool report saying only that he’d been a bit late for his regular workout this morning.
There are a few ways to look at this. John Judis, for example, argues persuasively that these reports are unnecessary, and ultimately, “an invasion of Obama’s privacy.”
What’s more, Media Matters noted yesterday that the Politico’s reporting on this has left out a relevant detail: George W. Bush has been an infrequent churchgoer and apparently never became a formal member of a congregation during his eight years in Washington.
I’d just add that there’s also a practical aspect to this. Obama left Trinity UCC — apparently, there was some kind of controversy about his former pastor’s sermons — and, in the midst of a presidential campaign, the Obamas didn’t find a new spiritual home for their family. They’re getting ready to move to Washington, where they hope to join a local church.
With this in mind, maybe the media can cut Obama a little slack until after the soon-to-be First Family can finish packing and pick a congregation they’re comfortable with in their new city.
If Obama had pledged to attend weekly services during the transition, I could see his Sunday schedules being of some interest. But since that isn’t the case, maybe we can do without the regular reporting on the president-elect’s worship routine, at least until after the inauguration.