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Obama And God

In a post below, John Judis asks, "Am I the only person who is really irritated by these unctuous reports from the Politico that President-Elect Barack Obama is not attending church on Sunday?" He then quotes from a Ben Smith story that reads, in part:

Barack Obama--despite undergoing a campaign maelstrom over his pastor--isn't a regular churchgoer. He didn't often attend Sunday services on the trail, and--unlike Presidents-elect Bush and Clinton--hadn't been since his election.

John adds:

This is the kind of reporting one would expect from the Christian Broadcast Network, whose editors and reporters presumably view less than weekly religious observance as an offense against God, and as a sign of moral depravity in a public official, but why is this presumably secular publication making such a big deal about it? I regard as an invasion of Obama’s privacy.

My hunch here is that mainstream news organizations are reporting on this not to hint at "moral depravity" but rather to raise the issue of hypocrisy, or dishonesty. If Obama had only talked about his faith when he appeared on CBN, or visited churches in Iowa, that would be one thing. But it was an issue he chose to highlight. In fact, his only joint, public appearance with McCain--after the nomination fight and prior to the first debate--was with Rick Warren, if I remember correctly. And Obama's religious life also takes up (the weakest) sections of his excellent first book. If politicians want their religious lives to remain private, then they can do the rest of us the favor of not talking so much about them.

--Isaac Chotiner