President Obama doesn't need to step foot in a church to get his religion; it comes directly to his BlackBerry. Every day, the President receives "devotionals," or passages meant to bring one closer to God, from the head of his Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Joshua DuBois.
"[W]hether it's a passage of scripture or a piece out of a book that I think he might be interested in or a prayer, it's something to start his day off on the right note," DuBois tells Fox.
When he took office, Mr. Obama fought vehemently with his security staff to keep that BlackBerry. It's a highly-secure version of the standard store-bought device and has now become his spiritual lifeline.
Over the past year, the President and his advisors have been dogged with questions about one of the most visible expressions of one's faith; picking a church. Mr. Obama separated from his long-time church in Chicago in 2008 after videos exploded on the Internet of its pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, making incendiary proclamations. The Obamas have yet to pick a new one.
The search for a new church was never officially disbanded, but the First Family scarcely attends local services. His advisors say the President frequently attends private services at the chapel at the presidential retreat Camp David, but he has only been to public services in Washington a handful of times.
That's not to say the President doesn't pray; he says he does so every day.
"I think obviously he shares the strong belief that there's a very personal nature to one's spirituality," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters last June. "And for it to be -- for his presence to be disruptive [at a public church], I think he believes that takes away from the experience that others might get and he certainly doesn't want to do that."
So what's less disruptive than getting a personal email? Though the President is a Christian by faith, the passages he receives can encompass many faiths. It's just one way of staying connected to his spirituality, say advisors.
Though President George W. Bush never officially joined a church while in office, he frequently attended services at St. John's Church, an Episcopal church located across the street from the White House. President Obama has been there, as well. But not enough, some say.
Obama spiritual advisor Reverend Jim Wallis can't understand the uproar over if and when the Obamas will decide on a formal place in which to worship, "The preoccupation with where is he gonna go to church is really a kind of a side-light and a distraction, I'm more concerned about someone's daily practice of faith than where they go to church," he told Fox.
"And so Barack Obama has a daily practice of faith that shapes his personal life, his family and of course his public responsibility. So I, I'm grateful to see that."
Mr. Obama has not been shy in talking about that faith in public, either. He told the annual National Prayer Breakfast meeting Thursday, "[W]hile prayer can buck us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer can stiffen our spines to surmount an obstacle -- and I assure you I'm praying a lot these days -- (laughter) -- prayer can also do something else. It can touch our hearts with humility. It can fill us with a spirit of brotherhood. It can remind us that each of us are children of a awesome and loving God."[ barack-obama ] [ religion ] [ usa ]