It’s not quite yet summer vacation-time for President Obama, so the world media’s attention continues to track his activities in detail as he undertakes his trips to Europe and Africa and deals back home with important issues like the economy and health care. Presumably once he does take his family off for a spell at Martha’s Vineyard the press will issue their usual analyses of the deeper implications of where specifically he chooses to stay while there, whom he’ll specifically be spending time with, his choice of pastimes, etc., and then maybe back off and leave him alone for the rest of his visit.
Until then, his actions are out there, free to analyze according to whatever ideological leanings one might hold. Those of the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad, for example, are clear: Denmark and Christianity (especially the Danish flavor of state-Lutheranism). Obama has had little to do with Denmark lately, but the question of which church he intends to make his and his family’s own during their four-/eight-year stay in Washington is still open, and so it is to this subject that that newspaper’s correspondent Marie Louise Bruun Jørgensen recently turned (Obama considers various churches).
“We are still figuring out how to approach the choice of a church for when we are here in Washington, D.C.” is what Obama said while meeting with Catholic journalists just prior to his overseas trip last week, which of course included an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. (He more-or-less said that: keep in mind that that is my own translation back into English of Obama’s original remarks which were translated into Danish for the KD’s readers.) An early favorite, though, seems to be Evergreen Chapel, which is not in Washington at all but rather in the vicinity of the Camp David presidential retreat, where he was impressed by the the sermon he heard while on a visit there. Of course, Evergreen’s true appeal might lie closer to that characteristic marketing textbooks always define as the most vital for retail success: “Location, location, location!”
This also raises the prospect, however, that the President is contemplating spending most of his free weekends over at that Maryland-mountains retreat. People can evaluate whether that would be a good thing or not – and they will, in print, on the air, etc. – but that is also not yet a firm decision, so that Washington churches are still in the running. “And I believe that we’ll come to a decision in the course of the fall or winter,” Obama further informed the journalists. “Maybe we’ll choose to attend several different churches rather than choose one single one.”
UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Justin Webb is unequivocal on this subject: “THE MAN IS A QUAKER” – he just doesn’t know it yet. Okaaay . . . well, Webb might conceivably know what he is talking about, after all for years he has been “North America editor” for the BBC.