Obama campaign flier distributed in May 2008
Despite his vow to find a new church after disassociating himself with Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s fiery rhetoric, President Obama reportedly has not attended a single church service since he took office.
“We probably won’t make any firm decision on this until January, when we know what our lives our going to be like,” Obama told reporters in May when he announced his split with Trinity United, his church of 20 years.
President George W. Bush had attended numerous services at St. John’s Episcopal Church by his third month in office. His father attended the same church on Inauguration Day.
President Bill Clinton also attended church services within weeks of becoming president. While President Jimmy Carter taught Sunday school at the First Baptist Church in Washington, President Ronald Reagan didn’t attend because he said security requirements were too burdensome for his congregation.
However, after 11 Sundays in office, Obama still hasn’t found a church – even with Easter just four days away.
The president opted to skip services during his first three weeks in office to work out at the gym, Politico reported.
“Because they have a great deal of respect for places of worship, they do not want to draw unwelcome or inappropriate attention to a church not used to the attention their attendance would draw,” a transition aide said.
Bill Sammon, Washington editor of Fox News, pointed out that Obama’s director of religious affairs and current director of the White House office on faith-based initiatives, Joshua DuBois, told reporters just before inauguration that the Obamas “look forward to learning more about many churches in the District.”
“They will choose a church home at a time that is best for their family,” DuBois said.
In January, Obama announced that his wife Michelle would tour Washington churches to select one for the family.
“It is tougher as president,” Obama said. “You know, this is not just an issue of going to church, it’s an issue of going anywhere. You don’t want to subject your fellow church members, the rest of the congregation, to being nagged every time you go to church. And so, we’re going to try to be balancing, not being disruptive to the city, but also saying we want to be part of Washington, D.C.”
In a May 2008 campaign flier, Obama was quoted as saying, “My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want. But I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work.”
Meanwhile, many are still questioning the president’s faith. According to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 35 percent of respondents said they do not know Obama’s religion, either because they do not know enough about him (22 percent), or because they have heard different things about his religion (13 percent).
According to the survey, an additional 11 percent of Americans still believe Obama is a Muslim, while 48 percent say he’s a Christian and 6 percent refused to answer.