I hate to be a cynic, but there does seem to be something fortuitous about the timing. The Obamas have rarely spend Sundays worshipping since moving into the White House, but this one marks the third in a month where they have attended service -- just in time for election season.
Obama has rarely gone to church since becoming president. But last month he and his family walked across Lafayette Park in front of the White House to attend services at St. John’s Church. They attended Christmas services at a Marine Base in Hawaii and today were at Zion Baptist Church in DC.
While it’s possible the trips to church a part of some kind of renewed personal religious commitment, they are also consistent with Obama’s increased use of religious imagery as part of his public profile.
During two recent annual events – the televised Christmas in Washington gala and the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, Obama invoked specifically Christian themes he had shunned in the past.
The Christian narrative is appealing to a key demographic that fled Democrats en masse during the 2010 midterm election – white working class voters. Obama will need to bring as many members of this group back into the fold if he hopes to prevail in critical swing states like Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and other must-win states in the Midwest and the South.
Of course, I don't know what's on the Obamas hearts, and while I hope that their renewed religious fervor is motivated by love of God, it's worth noting that the church bulletin is holding a collection of warm clothes for...Occupy DC. Christian charity indeed.