Unlike virtually every past White House family, the Obamas have been absent a church home (since abandoning Chicago's Rev. Jeremiah Wright)
UPDATE 12/27/10: Obama family makes rare appearance in church Sunday
-- From "No Churchgoing Christmas for the First Family" by Amy Sullivan, Time Magazine 12/23/09
Church, in fact, has been a surprisingly tough issue for the Obamas. They resigned their membership with Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago in 2008 after Obama renounced the church's controversial former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. And while the First Family intended to find a local church to attend when they moved to Washington, concerns about crowds and displacing regular worshippers has prevented them from finding a new religious home during their first year here.
The Obamas have attended Sunday services in Washington three times this year — once at the predominantly African-American 19th Street Baptist Church, and twice at St. John's Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House.
The Obamas have celebrated Christmas in Hawaii, where the President grew up, nearly every year since the girls were born. But while Obama can still visit his favorite shaved ice joint and body-surfing spots, he doesn't have a childhood church home to attend. His mother wasn't a churchgoer, and Obama writes in "Dreams of My Father" that his grandparents took him to church infrequently.
As a child, Obama occasionally attended Sunday school classes at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, and his family held a memorial service there for his grandmother last Christmas. Conservative critics were quick to point out that the First Unitarian Church has a controversial history — in 1969, the church offered sanctuary to servicemen who refused to go to Vietnam. The refuge was brief, however, as military police invaded church grounds to arrest the soldiers.
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