I went to church today and so did our President. Considering I, like most devout Christians go to church all the time, only half of my opening sentence is newsworthy. President Obama, for the first time in nearly six months went to church this morning. The church visit to St. John’s near the White House, which included the entire Obama family, may say more about the President’s political needs than his desire for spiritual growth. However, such rare visits prove he might want to consider taking more interest in his spiritual development.
Since the Obamas moved into the White House in January 2009 they have only attended church a few times. Today’s visit marks only the second trip to a house of Christian worship in 2010 for the First Family. The last time the President went to a church service in Washington was way back on Easter Sunday. As President, Obama has not joined a church and has not found any importance in regular attendance anywhere. So why now?
There are multiple political reasons why now was a good time for the President to find a pew seat. There has been a lot of drama about having a mosque at Ground Zero that Obama has publically supported. The Commander in Chief also thought a church of 40 people promoting a Koran burning on 9-11 demanded his immediate attention as a threat against our safety. Both of those events came at a time where a poll was released showing nearly 1 in 5 Americans think President Obama is a Muslim. Take all those issues and then throw in the fact that we are just weeks away from a big election day and Obama was singing “Get me to the church on time!”
Many conservatives were prophets when right after that Muslim poll came out they predicted it wouldn’t be too many weeks before you saw Obama in church again. The President himself has already begun to talk about his faith more recently.
“As someone who relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand the passions that religious faith can make.” – President Obama at September 10th news conference.
I grasp the politics of Obama talking about faith more and going to church again finally. But what kind of passion does Obama have for his religious faith if he hasn’t been a member of a church for about 2 and a half years and has all but quit attending? The Scriptures are clear that the Christian faith reveals itself by not only attending, but by being part of a local church.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
If we hold to our faith unswervingly then we are to meet together in the church. If we really want to be about spurring others on to love and good works, then we need to do that as part of a congregation. The Scriptures say that the church is the body of Christ and Christ is the head. How can we truly say we rely heavily on our faith if we reject being a part of Christ’s body?
I have never been one of those conspiracy folks who thinks the President is secretly a Muslim. However, I can understand why people are confused about his faith and why Ann Coulter recently argued (tongue slightly in cheek) that Obama may actually be an atheist. And I get why less than half of Democrats and African-Americans now say Obama is a Christian. I know the President claims Christ, and I’m no one’s judge, but is there any doubt that with Obama’s church attendance record that it’s fair for people to wonder?