Reading the Obamas' Rare Public Church Appearance

The night after addressing the Human Rights Campaign, Obama makes a rare public church appearance.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

It's unusual to see video footage of President Obama attending a Sunday church service. Having left Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ last year over the Reverend Wright flap, Obama has reportedly made a habit of worshiping privately at Camp David's Evergreen Chapel.

On the rare instances when the president has strolled before the cameras to enter or exit St. John's Episcopal Church, a popular worship destination for U.S. presidents because it's just a short stroll from the White House, it has been on an important weekend. He worshiped at St. John's this year on Inauguration Day and on Easter Sunday.

So what brought him and his family there this past Sunday, for only the third time?

The White House did not provide an explanation. But wouldn't it be a pretty big coincidence for a rare Obama public church appearance to come the morning after his address to the nation's biggest gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, which drew plenty of fire from religious conservatives?

Asked whether there was a connection between Obama's church appearance and Saturday night's Human Rights Campaign dinner, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships executive director Joshua DuBois—who accompanied the president to church—said "no" in an E-mail message.

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  • Corrected on : Updated on 10/14/09