Tales from the Trail

Obamas attend first Sunday church service in Washington

OBAMA/WASHINGTON – Barack Obama attended his first Sunday church service as president on Easter Sunday, greeted by hundreds of onlookers at an Episcopal church a block from the White House.

Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha sat about halfway down the first row in the packed but intimate St. John’s, across Lafayette Park from the White House.

Throngs of onlookers packed the streets around the church and behind police barricades, even though, according to a White House official, the location was not disclosed until Sunday.

There was intense competition among area churches to lure the Obamas, according to reports.

Known to many as the “Church of the Presidents,” every president since James Madison has attended the church, either on a regular or occasional basis, according to St. John’s.

from FaithWorld:

A new twist on the “Is Obama a Christian?” debate

The "Is Obama a Christian?" discussion is starting up again, this time not by people who suspect he's a Muslim but those who think he's a phony follower of Jesus Christ. The occasion for this is the posting on Beliefnet of an interview he gave to the Chicago Sun Times in 2004, while he was still an Illinois state senator. Conservative Christians have taken his religious views as proof he's not a real Christian, but there's support from a more liberal corner for his views.

That there is disagreement isn't really a surprise. Theologians have been debating who is a Christian almost since the dawn of the faith and still dispute where the dividing lines lie. What is more interesting is that critics are picking apart his views -- or purported views -- on theological issues that have no obvious importance for his job as president. (Photo: Obama at Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, June 15, 2008/John Gress)

Bloggers Joe Carter and Rod Dreher read in Obama's interview a denial of the Nicene Creed since he called Jesus "a bridge between God and man" rather than clearly saying he is the Son of God (hat tip to Steve Waldman). "Unless Obama was being incredibly and uncharacteristically inarticulate, this is heterodox. You cannot be a Christian in any meaningful sense and deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. You just can't," Dreher writes. Has Obama denied the divinity of Jesus Christ here? That's not clear here. Another point that Carter notes is that he doesn't believe that people who have not embraced Jesus as their personal saviour will automatically go to hell. "I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That’s just not part of my religious makeup," he said.