Obama, the Christian, Prefers to Pray Privately

White House goes on the offensive
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2010 9:11 AM CDT
Obama, the Christian, Prefers to Pray Privately
Barack Obama, then a Democratic senatorial candidate, prays during a services at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago on Oct. 31, 2004.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Unlike his predecessors, President Obama prefers to keep his expressions of religious faith private, Michael D. Shear writes in the Washington Post, recounting the president's unpublicized decision to have a prayer session with three Christian pastors on his 49th birthday. He often consults spiritual advisers but hasn't joined a church in DC because "Michelle and I have realized we are very disruptive to services." That discretion may help explain why some 18% of Americans think he's Muslim.

So what to do about it? The White House went on the offensive right away, the AP reports. "The president is obviously a Christian," a spokesman said. "He prays every day." But others urge subtlety. "The worst thing you can do is overreact to this and get all religious publicly," said an evangelical pastor who advises the president. "He needs to, in the course of normal conversation, be a little more transparent about his very active engagement in his own spiritual formation." (Read more President Obama Muslim stories.)

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