THIS WEEK IN GOD…. It’s a holiday weekend, giving This Week in God a little additional spiritual heft in light of Passover, Good Friday, and Easter. Given this, first up from the God Machine this week is the renewed interest in how the president spends his weekends, especially this weekend.
Bill Sammon, the managing editor of Fox News’ Washington bureau, has a pressing issue on his mind: “[W]ith Easter just days away,” Sammon writes in a blog post on the network’s Web site, “Obama has yet to reveal what church he may have chosen or when he might attend his first Sunday services as president.”
And at the top of his post, Sammon notes, “Obama has not attended church services on any of the 11 Sundays since he took office, despite his pledge to find a new church after quitting Trinity United nearly a year ago because of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary rhetoric.”
Sammon’s interest in the topic is somewhat understandable, considering his 2007 book, “The Evangelical President: George Bush’s Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World.” But, personally, I’m not quite sure why the president’s church attendance — or lack thereof — matters.
Quite right; it doesn’t matter at all. That Reagan and W. Bush rarely attended church services during their presidencies, and drew very little attention for it, suggests a certain double standard in light of all the interest in how the Obamas spend their Sunday mornings.
For what it’s worth, the First Family will be in the pews tomorrow, though it’s not clear where, and the Obamas’ search for a new spiritual home continues.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* Roman Catholics in the U.S. are attending weekly church services far less often than they used to: “According to Gallup Poll trends on church attendance among American Christians, weekly attendance among Protestants has been fairly steady over the past six decades, averaging 42% in 1955 versus 45% in the middle of the current decade. However, attendance among Roman Catholics dropped from 75% to 45% over the same period.”
* Christopher Hitchens and Ken Blackwell had a brief debate on MSNBC this week about whether the United States is a “Christian nation.” Blackwell, who apparently had not prepared for the discussion, ended up looking very foolish.
* On a related note, Buchanan and Lawrence O’Donnell also had a brief debate on MSNBC about whether President Obama should be the commencement speaker at Notre Dame. O’Donnell was in fine form.
* If you haven’t already read it, Newsweek‘s Jon Meacham wrote a provocative, and much-discussed, piece this week on whether the U.S. is moving into a “post-Christian” era.
* And finally, one of this year’s Easter-related controversies is over a parody of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” A gallery in San Diego is featuring the painting, which, instead of Jesus and his apostles, shows cartoon characters such as Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, the Roadrunner, and Wile E. Coyote. Bugs Bunny is in the middle.