President Barack Obama is not expected to go to church during Christmas. The president rarely attends worship services, preferring to read scripture and pray in private, according to Politico.
Those familiar with his Christian faith say he does not go to church regularly partly because he does not want to disrupt the experiences of regular parishioners and that the Obama family prefers to use Sundays to bond and for downtime.
"The president's faith has deepened in the second term; he's said as much," said Joshua DuBois, who headed the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships during Obama's first term.
Church-going has not been part of Obama's routine since he became president and left Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ and its pastor emeritus Jeremiah Wright.
He has been to church as president less than two dozen times, Politico reported.
Instead, Obama turns to several progressive and activist theologians for spiritual succor. These include DuBois, a Pentecostal minister as well as pastors Joel Hunter, Jim Wallis, and 90 year-old Joseph Lowery, founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, according to Politico.
The president reads daily devotionals sent via email by this spiritual circle.
At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the president cited a quotation attributed to Abraham Lincoln in talking about his spirituality: "I'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, 'I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go,'" Politico reported.
"Every time we pray, I'll ask him, 'What do you want to pray for? And he says, 'Well, let's pray for the country,'" Hunter told Politico.
Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly has implied that there is a link between why the president seldom attends services and his leaving Wright's church.
DuBois says that Obama's "relationship with Jesus" is not subject to how he spends his Sundays, Politico reported.
"Perhaps instead of counting up the number of times he kneels and prays on Sundays, we should allow him and his family to worship as they please, and simply pray that God will sustain them, and sustain us, in these thrilling, challenging times," DuBois wrote in response to earlier criticism of Obama's religiosity.
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