Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Well, Isn't That Convenient?"

Recently, well, for the past five months anyway, people have been wondering just where Obama was going to make his church home in the DC area. Oh, he tried out a place or two, but you know, there are actual, real people there, and so much media focus, that he just couldn't get into his spiritual place. So - guess where he has decided to go to church?

Camp David. I'm not kidding. The chapel at Camp David. Now he has an excuse to leave DC every weekend, if he wants. So he can go to church. Now, this may come as a shock to some of you, but Washington, DC, actually HAS some churches there. Heck, they even have a big, ol' cathedral - perhaps you've heard of it, the NATIONAL Cathedral? Ahem.

But you know that's not it. To paraphrase Michael Jackson, "sometimes (he) feels like somebody's watching (him)...":
Now, in an unexpected move, Obama has told White House aides that instead of joining a congregation in Washington, D.C., he will follow in George W. Bush's footsteps and make his primary place of worship Evergreen Chapel, the nondenominational church at Camp David.

A number of factors drove the decision — financial, political, personal — but chief among them was the desire to worship without being on display. Obama was reportedly taken aback by the circus stirred up by his visit to 19th Street Baptist in January. Lines started forming three hours before the morning service, and many longtime members were literally left out in the cold as the church filled with outsiders eager to see the new President. Even at St. John's, which is so accustomed to presidential visitors that it is known as the "Church of the Presidents," worshippers couldn't help themselves from snapping photos of Obama on their camera phones as they walked down the aisle past him to take communion.

And how about that - right there in Time magazine - making the comparison between Bush and Obama! Teehee!

Seriously?? He was taken aback? David Axelrove has done NOTHING but MAKE a circus around Obama. Has he already forgotten his Greek columns in Denver? His plying people with food and drink to come to rallies (which the media conveniently failed to mention - except in Germany), so he could have HUGE gatherings to fawn all over him? C'mon, give me a break. I have never seen a man who wanted sycophants around him at every second - unless they are uncomfortably close. And then we see him getting irritable ("I just want to eat my waffles, okay??" Or whatever it was he said exactly...).

Now, I'll grant you that it is inappropriate for people to be snapping photos of the Obamas while in church. A sense of decorum and decency would be nice, but sadly, we seem to be far from those days. Still, I have no doubt other presidents have had to endure people staring at them or what have you:
The challenge of not only being part of a church community but also praying in peace has long been a problem for Presidents, according to historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony. "McKinley hated having people staring at him while he read Psalms, sang hymns, put money in the collection plate or took communion," he writes in America's First Families. "By the 1920s, getting a presidential family in and out of church was a production. Secret Service agents had to cordon off a clear path from the curb to the church entrance before the Coolidges arrived ... [and] they were swiftly escorted to their third-row pew."

The Clintons attended Foundry United Methodist Church on 16th Street, and were particularly active during the years before Chelsea left for college. But White House aides say that security measures required by the Secret Service have become stricter since 9/11 and would cause significant delays for parishioners — and at significant cost to taxpayers — on Sunday mornings. Given Obama's popularity within the African-American community, the President also worried that if he chose a local black congregation, church members would find themselves competing with sightseers for space in the pews.

Oh, isn't that SO thoughty of the president?!? He's always worried about the little people as he has demonstrated time and time again... Hahahahaha!! I could barely even write that out...Anyway, the Obamas won't have to deal with the hoi poloi at Camp David: The First Family won't have that problem at Camp David, where the 150-seat Evergree
n Chapel attracts a congregation of between 50 and 70 people most Sundays. The rustic stone-and-glass octagonal structure was built nearly two decades ago through private funds; President George H.W. Bush dedicated it in 1991. At the ceremony, Christian singer Sandi Patti sang and the late Cardinal James Hickey of Washington delivered a sermon calling the chapel a "witness to our common belief that we need to seek divine guidance in the conduct of our national affairs."

Each week, regardless of whether the President is on-site, Evergreen Chapel holds nondenominational Christian services open to the nearly 400 military personnel and staff at Camp David, as well as their families. A music director from nearby Hood College coordinates adult and children's choirs (Clinton sang occasionally with the choir when he visited). In December, the kids in the congregation put on a Christmas pageant and the chapel holds a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The Bush family enjoyed Christmas at Evergreen Chapel so much that they celebrated the holiday there for all eight years of Bush's Administration.

Well, you know, poor old Obama has lost his pastor, The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, over those little kerflufles at his church. You know the ones - when Wright was preaching his vitriolic, hate mongering sermons? Thus leaving Obama wandering in the desert without his former minister. But he is making do:
(snip)But Barack Obama found himself spiritually isolated upon entering the Oval Office. He famously broke ties last year with Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor, and resigned his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. So, just as he followed Bush's lead in choosing Evergreen as a church home, the President is taking a page from Clinton's playbook on this front: Obama has a small group of pastors he contacts for prayer and spiritual support (including two men who played the same role at times for Bush).

Those two, Kirbyjon Caldwell and T.D. Jakes, are both African-American ministers from Texas. Caldwell offered a prayer at Bush's first inauguration and in 2008 he officiated at Jenna Bush's wedding. By that point, he was an Obama supporter, even launching the website last summer when the Focus on the Family leader accused Obama of "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview." Obama chose Jakes to preach the sermon at a private prayer service the morning of his inauguration and reached out to him to pray by phone on other occasions.

While the other three leaders Obama turns to are all members of his Faith Advisory Council, when he contacts them it is to talk not on a policy level but a personal one. Otis Moss Jr. is a retired Baptist pastor who once served with Martin Luther King Sr. at Ebeneezer Church. His son is the new pastor — following Jeremiah Wright — at Trinity in Chicago, but Moss is the model of a proper old-school preacher and is the father figure of Obama's group. His fellow council member, Joel Hunter, is a white evangelical and pastor of a Florida megachurch. And Vashti McKenzie is the first female elected as a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

McKenzie isn't surprised that Obama has reached out for prayer and guidance. "This President has not shown himself to be a person in isolation — going out on dates, spending time in the community," she says. "You wouldn't expect him to isolate himself spiritually. This is a man with a faith center, we've heard him give his testimony." Her advice for how to build a life of faith within the White House? "Everybody needs to just back off and settle down. Let him choose where he's comfortable, choose where he and his family are going to be spiritually fed, and then let it be his choice." Amen. (With reporting by Elizabeth Dias)

Hold the phone - didn't Wright say recently that Obama was like a son to him? Oh, I am pretty sure he did, as American Girl in Italy reported recently in "Reverend Wright Complicit In Murder At Holocaust Museum?":
“Of course I voted for him; he’s my son. I’m proud of him,” Wright said. “I’ve got five biological kids. They all make mistakes and bad choices. I haven’t stopped loving any of them.

“He made mistakes. He made bad choices. I’ve got kids who listen to their friends. He listened to those around him. I did not disown him.”

Uh huh. I'll say. But wouldn't you LOVE to know what Reverend Wright means by that?? Anyhoo, I digress...

As for McKenzie's claims, you have got to be kidding me. Because Obama takes his wife out on a date to New York on OUR dime, I might add, McKenzie extrapolates Obama likes to be among the people? Hogwash. He likes to be on stage, he likes the sycophants, but I (and others) have reported the numerous times Obama has gotten testy with people. Heck, I've never seen Hillary get testy even when men were screaming sat her, "Iron my shirt! Iron my shirt!" But Obama? Please. There was a post I saw the other day about Obama's glares at world leaders who weren't following the script, something his own aides pointed out. Here's a little video of the Primaries to remind you:

Bit I digress again. The point is I think the Right Rev. McKenzie gives Obama way too much credit for wanting to be "sociable" and out with the people. Her statement is contradictory to the whole point of the article - Obama does NOT want to be around a lot of people, hence his desire to go to Camp David for church. And to get out of Washington AWAY from all of those people.

And isn't it ironic that he has taken yet another page from the Bush playbook? Though this one won't be destroying a bunch of lives like, say, "prolonged detention." Perhaps Obama can pray about that while he is at Camp David...

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