President Barack Obama, beset by substantial public doubts about his religion and right-wing suspicions that he is Muslim, took a few steps on Sunday to dispel those image problems: He and his family crossed Lafayette Park to St. John’s Episcopal Church, just the third time he has worshipped in public since he became president last year.

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The president, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters joined about 40 other worshippers, according to pool reports, and heard a sermon on a passage from the Gospel of Luke that ends, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” They also took Communion as a family.

Afterward, the Obamas strolled back to the White House across Lafayette Square, which was closed to the public.

Since arriving in Washington as president, Obama — who was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago — has largely chosen not to attend public church services because of the possible disruptions his presence, and the increased security, would cause a congregation. Obama has said he relies on his Christian faith to perform his duties as chief executive, and White House officials said the president relies on a close circle of spiritual advisers.

Last month, a poll indicated a majority of the public had doubts about Obama’s religious beliefs, even though his Christian faith was a key part of his pitch as a presidential candidate. Although he said he regularly reads the Bible and prays, the president has maintained he doesn’t want to ostentatiously fake a devotion to organized religion that he’s never had before, and he is more often seen going to the golf course or the gym on Sunday mornings.


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Read More: By Ben Smith, Politico


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