Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

obamachurch.jpgSouth Carolina pastor Ronald Byrd should check this out: Campaigning in Pennsylvania this weekend, Barack Obama quietly attended service at St. Mark’s United Church of Christ in small town Lebanon, outside Harrisburg. The Lebanon Daily News carried the story:

Obama wanted his visit to be as private as possible, so the church staff was asked to keep the plans secret. There was no notification given to the media or even local Democratic campaign officials until early yesterday. Obama’s simple desire was to attend a worship service prior to campaign rallies in Reading and Scranton….
Only a handful of church members knew of the visit prior to arriving yesterday.
“I was like, ‘Ahhh!’” Virginia Gruber said. “We couldn’t believe it.”
Zachary Diehm, a sophomore at Cedar Crest High School and a church member, had a tough time finding a word to describe Obama’s visit before settling on “honorable.”
“We talk about it a lot in class,” he said of the presidential race. “It shows a lot of character for him to come to a church and not make a big deal out of it.”
….Obama and two friends arrived a few minutes after the service started and sat in a front pew. The Illinois senator listened to soloist Tim Brown sing, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” and the church’s senior choir sing “Do Not Let Your Heart Be Troubled.”
The Democratic candidate sang along with familiar hymns “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us,” “To God Be the Glory” and “Count Your Blessings,” and prayed the Lord’s Prayer with the congregation.
Afterward, Obama shook hands, posed for pictures and signed autographs at the front of the sanctuary for everyone who patiently waited, some for almost an hour, to greet him….

A presidential candidate quietly attending church? The last time God-o-Meter remembers that happening was when Mitt Romney attended LDS services as a candidate, no doubt to avoid reminding voters of his Mormonism. Obama, by contrast, could stand to benefit from publicizing his church visits, since some voters still falsely believe him to be a Muslim and oppose him because of it. It takes a lot of restraint for him to attend church quietly. God-o-Meter’s impressed.


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