Progressive Revival

The church Barack and Michelle Obama chose to join will send a signal about their beliefs and values.  Amy Sulivan at Time Magazine writes a fun piece that features various religious folks offering suggestions.

Dear Mr. President-elect,

No doubt you have a lot of big decisions associated with your upcoming move to Washington. What school (public or private) should the girls go to? Who should be the new Secretary of State? Goldendoodle or corgi? But there’s also the little matter of finding a new church. When you resigned your membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in the spring, you said you would wait until after the election to worry about finding a new church home. But the moving vans will be pulling up to the White House before you know it, and I understand that with two wars and a crumbling economy to deal with, you may not have had time to focus on where to worship. So I’ve done some research to help you make this very important decision.

As you know, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a church. Finding a comfortable theological fit is key. Good music is important, as are activities for the kids. You don’t want to be stuck at a church with mediocre potluck fare. The old adage that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America is still largely true, but I’m guessing you’ll want to find a congregation that has at least some racial diversity. That will be difficult if you want to find another UCC church, which is, as you know, a predominantly white denomination. And let’s be honest: a top concern will be finding a pastor who is, shall we say, not Jeremiah Wright. (See pictures of Barack Obama’s family tree.)

Your predecessors dealt with church attendance in various ways. Jimmy Carter taught Sunday school at a Baptist church in Virginia while he was President. Ronald Reagan didn’t go to church at all, citing the hassle of making a church set up security screening for parishioners. The Clintons drove down the street every Sunday to Foundry United Methodist, where Chelsea sang in the youth choir. George W. Bush never became a regular member of any local church, preferring to worship most often at the chapel at Camp David.

I talked to a number of people who know the religious world here in Washington and solicited their church recommendations. At least two people thought that since home churches are a growing trend, you might want to start your own in the White House. A “Church of the Obamas,” however, might just fuel the messianic talk. But I think you’ll find some good options here, including a couple of intriguing — dare I say maverick — possibilities.

Read Obama’s choices here…

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus