President-elect Barack Obama has not attended a church service since winning the election and instead has spent time on Sundays working out at a Chicago gym.
Obama decided not to attend church for fear that an appearance by the Obama family might disrupt a service, according to an aide on his transition team.
“Because they have a great deal of respect for places of worship, they do not want to draw unwelcome or inappropriate attention to a church not used to the attention their attendance would draw,” the aide told Politico.com.
However, President-elect George W. Bush attended church in the weeks after he was elected, as did President-elect Bill Clinton.
Obama’s church-going became an issue during the campaign due to his relationship with controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright and his Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
Newsmax was one of the first media outlets to report in depth on Rev. Wright’s incendiary comments. In January, Newsmax revealed that Wright had given a lifetime achievement award to Louis Farrakhan.
In March, Newsmax correspondent Ronald Kessler disclosed that Wright had delivered a sermon at Howard University in which he blamed America for “starting” the AIDS virus, training professional killers and importing drugs.
“Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run,” Wright declared. “No black man will ever be considered for president.”
Wright also declared in a sermon “God damn America” instead of “God bless America.”
Obama initially defended Wright, but he eventually termed his remarks “divisive and destructive” and resigned from his church in May after attending services there twice monthly for 20 years.
During the campaign, Obama attended the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago on Father’s Day. Now he and his wife Michelle plan to find a new church in Washington, D.C.
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