Obamas go to church in Hawaii Marine base
President Barack Obama and his family attended church last Sunday at a US Marines Corps base in Hawaii where the first family is spending the Christmas and New Year holidays.
This is the eighth public church attendance Obama has made since the start of his presidency in 2009, Fox News said. Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia went to St. Michael church at 11:00 a.m. and sat at the front row pew, AFP reported.
Some 100 parishioners were at the church when the Obamas arrived, The New York Times said. The Christmas song, Joy to the World was being sung and churchgoers clapped when the first family walked in.
The chaplain expressed thanks for the presence of the Obamas, and delivered a Christmas sermon based on the biblical passages in Matthew 10:29-31, Fox News reported. Afterwards, the first family received communion.
The last time Obama attended church publicly was on September 19, when he went to Sunday service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. He is said to shy away from public church attendance due to heavy security precautions and so as not to inconvenience other worshippers, the AFP reported.
Instead, his spiritual regimen usually consists of praying with pastors over the phone and reading daily devotionals on his blackberry. He has also gone to private services in Camp David, Fox News said.
A poll this year indicated that some 18 percent of Americans believe Obama is Muslim, which Fox News said is up from preceding surveys. Obama has oftentimes clarified that he is Christian.
While in Hawaii the president has been golfing, going to the beach, and is receiving regular intelligence and economic briefings. On Christmas Day the first family had dinner with the troops, The New York Times said.
Before attending church Obama worked out at the Marine base gym. After service he played golf, The New York Times said. The AFP reported that Obama also spent Christmas at the base in 2008 and 2009.
Obama was born in Hawaii and went to school in the island state when he was young, the AFP said.