Obama’s church attendance reports

OBAMA’S CHURCH ATTENDANCE REPORTS…. The Politico was on this beat for a while, and now the Chicago Tribune is picking up on the story.

Barack Obama has long stressed the importance of religion in his life.

But as his fellow Christians around the world attended Christmas services on Wednesday and Thursday, the president-elect and his family remained sequestered at their vacation compound on the windward coast of Oahu.

His lack of attendance at formal religious services showcased a dilemma faced by Obama, who is between churches and often expresses concern about bringing the disruption of his security detail into the lives of others.

Still, he has not attended a public church service since before being elected, a departure from the actions of his two immediate predecessors.

This scrutiny of Obama’s church attendance strikes me as wildly misplaced. If he’d pledged to attend weekly services during the transition, I could see his Sunday/holiday schedules being of some interest. But since that’s clearly not the case, what’s with all the reporting? The media’s concern for Obama’s worship practices reminds me of a nervous grandmother, demanding to know whether the young’uns fulfilled their spiritual obligations on Sunday morning.

On the one hand, there’s a reasonable case to be made that reporting like this is an invasion of Obama’s privacy. How and where one chooses to worship is a private matter, even for a national leader.

On the other, let’s also not overlook the practical hurdle here. The Obama family is between congregations — they have not yet moved to D.C., where they’ll reportedly pick a new spiritual home — and while they relax in Hawaii, their attendance at a local church would likely cause quite a disruption. Indeed, asked about this issue, an Obama spokesperson told the Trib, “The president-elect didn’t want to disrupt a church community on Christmas with the burdens that come with a presidential visit.”

Is that not a reasonable explanation? The Obamas can’t even stop by a mall without generating a major stir, and they didn’t want to subject a church to that on Christmas.

Maybe the media can give this a rest?

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