Belief Beat

The First Family has decided not to join a church — President Obama says they decided their presence, and the security required, is too disruptive and distracting to the others on a weekly basis — but they did attend Easter Sunday services again, this time choosing a historically black Methodist Church in Southeast Washington, a neighborhood struggling with poverty and crime. The Washington Post reported that a crowd began to form outside the Allen Chapel AME Church just before 3:30 a.m.

From Politics Daily:

The Obama family were longtime members of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago before quitting in 2008 during the presidential election in the wake of the controversies swirling around its former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Though they said at the time they would join another church, they never did.

The last time the Obama family attended church in Washington was Jan. 17, at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, although when they are at Camp David they worship in the presidential retreat’s chapel. Last Easter, the Obama family took communion at St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House.

GetReligion had wondered which church the Obamas would visit yesterday, and also when they would start attending services regularly. Personally, although I’m a religion reporter and understand that faith makes up an integral part of Obama’s politics, I don’t see the big deal — it’s completely understandable that any First Family would prefer to worship in private at Camp David (as did the Bush family and other previous White House residents), nevermind the additional security risks that Obama has to worry about. (Am I the only one still reeling from the sight of armed protesters at town hall meetings about health care reform last summer?)

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