Obamas attend church in Washington
January 16th, 2011
05:47 PM ET

Obamas attend church in Washington

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

President Barack Obama publicly attended church on Sunday, an unusual move for a president who is accustomed to attending Sunday services at a private chapel at Camp David.

Obama and his family attended services at Washington's Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, about six blocks from the White House, which describes itself as the "National Cathedral" of African Methodism.

The service commemorated the 25th anniversary of the national holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a day before the holiday itself.

The Right Rev. Adam J. Richardson recognized Obama and his wife, Michelle, and praised the president for his speech to the Tucson, Arizona, community on Wednesday, in the wake of last weekend's deadly shooting there.

Despite intense media speculation about which Washington church Obama would join when he arrived in Washington, the White House has yet to announce that he has joined any.

Some White House watchers expected the first black president to join a black church.

Obama has attended four black churches since arriving in Washington: 19th Street Baptist Church, Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, Allen Chapel A.M.E Church and, on Sunday, Metropolitan A.M.E.

In September, Obama attended church publicly for the first time in six moths, though White House officials have said the president often quietly attends chapel at Camp David in Maryland.

Richardson's sermon was entitled "When God Singles You Out," and he preached about God singling out ordinary people for extraordinary things.

Founded in 1828, Metropolitan A.M.E was once attended by Frederick Douglass and played host to President Bill Clinton's inauguration service in 1993.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church is the country's oldest black denomination.

Obama had been a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago until spring 2008, when he left after videos surfaced showing his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, delivering controversial sermons about the United States.

Last fall, a major survey showed that a substantial and growing number of Americans believes that Obama, a self-described Christian, is Muslim.

Nearly one in five Americans believes Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim last 2009, according to the survey, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Fewer than half of Democrats and African-Americans correctly identified Obama is Christian.

The survey was conducted in late July and early August.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Church • Politics

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Muneef


    His Excellency Abdallah Bin Abdul Muhsin At-Turki, Secretary General of the World Muslim League  
    "Our appeal, clear-cut and strong in its arguments and realism, is welcomed by the nations that have gone through unsuccessful attempts to ensure peace, safety and stability, which ignored the diversity of cultures and civilisations traditional for previous generations in the human development".

    Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople Orthodox Church  
    "Let the high ideals for the sake of which we have worked in concord and love these days, become the strong reality in the name of world peace and happiness of peoples. Praying to God inspired".

    His Eminence Cardinal Josef Tomco, Head of the Delegation of the Holy See
    "I thank Almighty God for bringing us together in this country to reflect and pray for peace as men and women of peace... ".

    Jona Metsger, Leader of the Judaic Delegation, Chief Rabbi of Israel  
    "The love and patience, desire to live in the world, reigning around this negotiating table, will be embodied during a life".

    Jamyang Luosangjiumei Tudanquejinima, Deputy Chairman of the Buddhist Association of China  
    "Today's world is far from tranquil, as regional conflicts triggered by ethnical, religious and territorial factors keep cropping up, Religion advocates peace and justice. Religion has been made use of from time to time, just like the strings of a harp being plucked, to trigger and foment conflicts, separation, hatred and upheaval. This has aroused the common concern of the religious leaders across the globe".

    Well say few had words spoken from the heart and some shown less concern...
    Can see there are no more efforts seriously made since not sure if those represent all branches of each faith which means their should be a congress for each faith listing all their recognized branches..and the president of each congress is then the speaker of this world congress..

    Unfortunately I am not seeing any speaker for Pagans and who made partners with God..to say some thing about how life and respect should be?
    Sure will be happy to see a speaker for the Atheist congress after all it is faith to claim God and devil do not exist..?!

    It is those who should be making codes for culture and religions and faiths living together completing each other rather than against each other...God has allowed diversity of religions and faiths out of easiness for his creatures mankind to make choices and where he will punish or give to mankind judging his inner soul (heart&mind)...and not on which religion he was...!!? Submission can be achieved through all religions or faiths and not only to what God had said but as well to what is best for the communities as to morals,values,virtues and all of that stuff that make any nations as angels on earth...? A valuable words I heard during my childhood that ( Nations are not but Morals and their Morals Go they Go with it)...!? And noted the difference between then when there were Morals and our Present time when there are non left...!?
    Then only we will be able to greet each other as Wa Salam,Peace,Shalom... 


    January 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  2. HeavenSent

    I hope the preacher in this church teaches Jesus' truth book by book, scripture by scripture instead of sprinkling in a few scriptures then preaching man's lies. It's easy to discern ... does the preacher start with the Book of Genesis explain it in detail, go to church week after week still preaching the next scriptures ... up until the Book of Revelation?? Does the preacher allow his congregation to ask questions and debate Jesus' Truth written in the Bible so that everyone can learn, sharpen themselves on His Truth versus Satan's lies?


    January 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  3. t party

    Rev Wright is his real preacher

    January 17, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  4. And the winner is...

    Christ and Mother Mary, who in this blanken world cares about what church he goes to or if he does. I couldn't careless if he attended the church of scientology for for Christmas.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Today's world man has become with no value other than his organs if sold or stolen....so what is happening only proves that we are imposing marketing the wrongs against the rights....cultures and beliefs are going down the drain with all those values, morals,virtues some how turning into commotion among cultures and beliefs turning against each other misunderstanding each other or unaware of cultures way of living and beliefs to ease communication mutual understanding as a nation of mankind and a nation of faiths. As i believe we should not bleach wash cultures and faiths in to one but am with keeping all cultures and faiths which make a colorful painting rather than one blank single coloured...!?

    January 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  6. Muneef

    He is a man of live conscience and a man of a live conscience is in the straight path of righteous and the straight path of righteous is the path of men of God who love and fear their God most in every decision or action or words been said and committed ....!!
    Man of God and God fearing is what is counted for a man to represent a nation and has to be aware of cultures and beliefs of other nations in order of planting respects between beliefs and assurance of mutual understanding...!

    Some how it's felt that values,morals,virtues are not there in a secular world only faceless solid lifeless laws of men rather than what has been relayed by Holy books that calls for good deeds and reject bad deeds and to build a faithful societies,communities,nations since communications among nations or even among the nations of mixed cultures and beliefs... Laws or God and universe are to be prepared by some thing that is equivalent to UN but built on nations beliefs to achieve the code of understanding among nations but as can see now it is build on groundless bases if not of words of God to faiths...in addition to those non spiritual secular beliefs to make decisions of faith but at the moment the secular world make and take the decisions while the beliefs and faiths has to pay for it when it becomes a war between all faiths or religions outside your world ,it would become back into your inside among the mixed culture and beliefs of the nation or nations under one country flag...!
    Wa Salam.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    does jesus love the terrorist that were behind 911? what about the shooter in AZ? I guess jesus loves all if you repent (LOL)
    In a word? YES! Even if he does not repent SEE JOHN 3:16. Now, the love of God is NOT enough to save him, if he does not repent! God loves you Claybigsby, yet you getting to heaven requires you to the accept His son, Jesus Christ! (Not LOLing)

    January 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  8. yuhmad

    Does it matter that if the President is muslim or christian.... As long as he can govern and lead the country the way he is supposed too, is all that matters.

    January 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  9. Brenda Winters

    What a wonderful thing. Each has the right to worship G-d and not tell others how they have to worship. Praise G-d for our leaders.This is one thing that makes America great. If you ever need a human shield, I will be there, Mr. President.

    January 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  10. Chris Hetzelt-Pretzel

    O.K. so this is a CNN site (awsome-balanced journalism, Ted Turner is

    behind it, I presume.) This Blog is for the President of the United

    States, hey he takes letters and blogs, staff circles may select. That

    is my understanding. For Barack Obama, Today we honor, possibly the

    very best orator this planet has ever seen, who radiated love for

    humanity and justice for all – Martin Luther King Jr. thank you for

    helping us strive to be better people and to have dreams.

    I have a plausible consideration for you, well, consider – Speaking

    about our nation addressing mental illness and the validity of fear

    and stigma in our society. I am Chris Hetzelt – Pretzel ( I try not to

    take myself too...seriously.) I am at New Hampshire Hospital in Concord,

    for depression and past suicide attempts. I have developed my interest

    in blogging in the computer lab over the last 4 months. Among other

    writing I have blogged My Medical Theories, which I have resarched...

    showing to very powerful people who are activist in one way or another,

    including yourself, the agent of change – that these are not delusions

    there is an End for AIDS, Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Heart Disease,

    Leukemia, and Lung Cancer – in our grasp, changing the Face of Medical

    Research which may perplex envious scientists, call me Mr. Awkward – ?

    Tacky maybe, dropping the money song – NHH ID acct. # 077425. APS-Unit G

    36 Clinton st. Concord, N.H. 03301. I want to expand my Theory on

    Iron Electromagnetism. Iron a highly magnetic element in the blood of

    course which is used during the passage of an electric current through

    a coil of wire surrounding it for a magnet temporarily, ( so I didn't

    just pick a metallic element, though it may seem, who is this guy ? )

    Electromagnetic Waves – these waves are propagated by a system of

    electric and magnetic fields interacting, perpendicular magnetic field

    formed and electric field will curve. I have to go....times up but

    you get the idea, and yes i Believe atoms can be fortified (electrons)

    in human cell against carcinogenics, DNA is not programmed all strewed

    up....Thank You !

    January 17, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  11. BellaDona

    Well said Steve (The Real One)!

    JesusChrist loves the President, as he does all of us.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Amen BellaDona, Amen!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • claybigsby

      does jesus love the terrorist that were behind 911? what about the shooter in AZ? I guess jesus loves all if you repent (LOL)

      January 17, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  12. Reality

    BO rode to the Blood-Red House on the backs of 35+million aborted womb-babies!!!

    (The fastest growing USA voting bloc: The 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year.)

    i.e. the Immoral Majority now rules the land and will do so in the foreseeable future. How very sad and disturbing!!!
    Popular vote 69,456,897 for BO 59,934,814 for JM

    BO simply adds more stain to any church he attends.

    January 17, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      BO simply adds more stain to any church he attends
      Church is an excellent place for sinners (as we all are). I see no problem with him "adding more stain", we all do! The blood of Christ is more than able to wash away ALL of our stains! Jesus is the source for forgiveness! You can also bring your stain! I know I bring mine! Praise God!

      January 17, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Reality

      Some rational thinking about the "atoning" Jesus:

      What "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."- Professor JD Crossan: (from his book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      January 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      No such thing as heavenly child abuse. That is strictly earthly and sinful. There is NO sin in heaven!

      January 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2010: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary.

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


      January 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)


      You have nothing new? I think I've read this quite a few times now! I'll bet your source is a liberal!

      January 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Reality

      As noted before the updated Apostles' Creed was written in-house and as with the outdated Creed will be promulgated as necessary to bring the world neurons up to speed.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:25 am |
  13. Mark From Middle River

    "John Q. Public : You kidding you have to be a believing fool to sit thru that boring crap

    I attend a A.M.E church and I do not think it could be called boring

    January 16, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  14. Dirk Waldon

    The president should attend my church with its 2,000 memebership base. The lord Jesus Christ won't even notice that color, just that every knee bow at the altar. Even muslims, black panthers, tea huggers, gays, blind, cripple, or crazy can worship in peace. And the building itself is not "black." The choir is real good, the soul food dinners are so good it might make you want to slap your mother-in-law. Then you would need prayer after those assult charges get you 30 days at the county lock up.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      The choir is real good, the soul food dinners are so good it might make you want to slap your mother-in-law. Then you would need prayer after those assult charges get you 30 days at the county lock up.
      30 Days only if your lucky! I am certain Mother in law will take matters into her own hands!

      January 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  15. Michele

    A number of typos in this article; not the ones spell check catches. Step it up CNN.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  16. marine2542

    What is allah going to think??? obama might not get his 72 virgins after he has destroyed America....

    January 16, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • TRUTH

      And you, my friend, are not too bright. Learn to think for yourself.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  17. John Olsen

    "For those that think I can not spell, let me say this again, "The President should join any church he likes. White, Black or Multi-Racial."

    I totally agree and am repeating your words. But i think it's "cannot" rather than "can not"

    January 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  18. John Olsen

    Some are saying going to church doesn't make him a Christian. Nothing he might do would cause these people to acknowledge that he is a Christian.

    Obama didn't decide to identify himself as black. That is a decision of American culture – a person who is half black, half white is identified as black. Even a person with more white ancestry than black ancestry is identified as black.

    January 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  19. Bebe

    For those that think I can not spell, let me say this again, "The President should join any church he likes. White, Black or Multi-Racial."

    January 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.