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Amid Rumors About His Faith, Obama and First Family Attend Church Services

4 years ago
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On Sunday, President Obama and the First Lady -- along with daughters Malia and Sasha -- attended 9 a.m. church services at Washington's St. John's Episcopal Church. It marked the sixth time the president has attended services since being elected into office.

Of late, the president has found his religious beliefs the subject of much discussion and debate. A poll conducted in mid-August found that one in five Americans mistakenly believe that the president is Muslim. Controversy around the president's comments on the planned Islamic community center and mosque in lower Manhattan served to increase the scrutiny on his religion, and several conservative leaders have weighed in on the subject of Obama's faith in the intervening weeks.

At the conservative Values Voters Summit in Washington on Saturday, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee addressed the subject, saying, "It certainly would be helpful if [Obama] would show a little love to the people who are unapologetically Christian, and I think there's some things [like] being part of the National Day of Prayer that would go a long way toward that, and leading the example of attending worship."

On Sunday, the President appeared to do just that. The first family walked the short distance from the White House across Lafayette Park and over to St John's. The sermon, delivered by St. John's rector Rev. Dr. Luis Leon, touched upon the parable of the dishonest steward, from the Book of Luke, according to White House press reports. The reports noted that the pastor understood the reading to be an instruction to "act shrewdly on behalf of God." Reports said that the sermon advised listeners to make choices about God -- and that "the time to act is now."

The sermon also included reflections that the parable was an example of how "Jesus has a sense of humor... he also likes to shock us" and the extent to which "everyone has cut a corner or two."

The first family sat several rows back from the altar, surrounded by an estimated 40 worshipers. Led by the president, the first family all took communion. They were accompanied by Joshua Dubois, head of the White House faith and neighborhood partnerships office.

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