On Sunday morning, millions of Americans are in church praying, but the President is more likely praying he breaks 90 on the golf course.
Since his inauguration nearly 2 years ago, President Obama has attended church services in Washington just a half dozen times.
He’s the first president in more than 20 years not to belong to a church. But it wasn’t that way, for 20 years he sat in the pew of a Chicago church, listening to his pastor Jeremiah Wright, and though he denies hearing Wright make inflammatory remarks, when Wright became a political liability during his campaign, Obama bolted from the church.
The question is, does it really matter? Reagan was the last president before Obama not to belong to a church, but Obama’s churchless status is becoming a major political liability, and fueling a mistaken belief the President is a Muslim. A recent poll shows more than 4 in 10 Americans believe Obama isn’t even a Christian, despite repeated White House denials.
’These days, Americans do want a President to go to church, but that’s relatively recent,’ says Boston College Professor Alan Wolfe, who says many presidents have not been regular churchgoers. George W. Bush went only occasionally though he was religious. Bill Clinton prayed at church regularly. Ronald Reagan did not belong to any church at all. John F. Kennedy had to play down his catholic religion, just to get elected. ’Politics is important. Religion is important, but they shouldn’t be blended too closely together,’ Wolfe says.
And even though Obama promised to look for a new church in DC, he’s still churchless, saying it would be too disruptive to services. But with voters becoming more skeptical of the President’s religious beliefs, could we soon see Obama exchanging his putter for a pastor? Unlikely. The political risks are just too big, ’The fact that he doesn’t go to church reflects a thought out policy on his part,’ Wolfe says.