President Obama and the First family attended Easter services in Anacostia (part of DC). During their visit “the parishioners and preachers made him a focal point of the service.” One quote:

Most speakers also focused, at least momentarily, on Obama’s attendance. Bell, the pastor, called him “the most intelligent, most anointed, most charismatic president this country has ever seen.” Then he looked at Obama and said: “God has his hands all over you.”


  1. I feel like this is a pretty common feature of the culture in African American Churches. Though I don’t prefer it, there’s a very strong community feel to the way they celebrate the worship service and single out individuals. For instance, a good friend of mine is pastor at an African American church where the service runs about 3 hours long, multiple families are brought to the front to be prayed for in great detail, people clap and celebrate for athletic and academic and career accomplishments, and offerings are spontaneously taken to help particular members in trouble.

    I just feel like having the president attend in a church of that cultural bent and theological (liberation theology) perspective on the role of the service is naturally going to result in a celebration of his role.

    So, I guess I’m asking… is the intent here to critique the church, or Obama, or both, or neither?

  2. Ben, good question. I was calling attention to what I see as an issue broader than just the African-American community. That is the tendency of both the religious right and left to put so much emphasis on politics. I think as more religious persons become politically active as religious/liberal, they fall into the same accusations made against the Christian Right, that of looking to politics to, in some sense, save. I meant no criticism of President Obama, who handled it as best he could and I’m certainly glad he was worshipping on Easter Sunday.

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