Why Is This In My New York Times?

Look, I admit that I don’t place any importance on these things and, therefore, don’t pay much attention to them, but I can’t remember ever seeing a president and First Lady attending a Christmas service. I’m sure I’ve seen footage and probably even read an article than mentioned it, but the following is quite a bit too much:

President Obama celebrated a low-key Christmas in Hawaii this year. He sang carols, opened presents with his family, and visited a nearby military base to wish the troops “Mele Kalikimaka” — the Hawaiian phrase meaning “Merry Christmas.”

But the one thing the president and his family did not do — something they have rarely done since he entered the White House — was attend Christmas church services.

“He has not gone to church hardly at all, as president,” said Gary Scott Smith, the author of “Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush,” adding that it is “very unusual for a president not to attend” Christmas services.

Historically, watching the nation’s first family head to church dressed in their Sunday best, especially around the holiday season, was something of a ritual.

Here I have to ask, “ritual for whom?” Who are the people who gathered in front of their televisions on Christmas, breathlessly waiting to see the president and First Lady enter or exit a church? Anybody? Even one single family in the whole wide country?

It can’t be just me for whom this “ritual” doesn’t and never has existed. So, why is Ashley Parker writing this in the New York Times? What is the point? What agenda is advanced?

Because it certainly isn’t selling any papers or educating the public. It’s basically just a way of raising public doubt about the sincerity of the president’s professed Christianity. At the very least, that is the only effect is can possibly have.

Aside from angering liberals, that is.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com