By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Contrary to recent media reports, President Obama said today that he hasn’t chosen a home church — and may not ever choose just one during his time in the White House.
At a White House interview with religion reporters, I asked him about whether he had selected a home church. He said that he and his family have attended chapel services at Camp David — a “wonderful little congregation” — when they are there for the weekend.
“How we handle church when we’re here in D.C. is something that we’re still figuring out,” he said. “And I think that in the second half of the year we will have made a decision.”
But that may not involve choosing one particular church, he said. Mindful of the disruption that his presence causes at a church, the President said the Obama family may instead rotate among area churches.
“Obviously that takes away somewhat from the church experience of being part of a community and participating in the life of the church,” he said. But, “we are resigned now to the fact that we change the atmospherics wherever we go, and it may be more sensible for us to get in and out on any given Sunday and not try to create blockades around places where we attend.”
He said he misses having a home church, but that the controversy over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright “made us very sensitive to the fact that as president, the church we attend can end up being interpreted as speaking for us at all times.”
In addition to formal church attendance, Obama said that Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, may arrange to have pastors of various denominations come in to pray with the family. DuBois also sends him daily devotionals on his Blackberry, continuing a practice DuBois started during a “tough time” during the campaign, Obama said.