Here’s some news that caught me by surprise. Today, Obama announced that he was withdrawing his membership from his long-time church, Trinity United Church of Christ.
I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I’m not one who particularly cares about religion in politics, so long as it doesn’t interfere with policy. A politician’s religion is his or her prerogative, not the business of the public unless it interferes with his or her decision making. Most of our Representatives are Christian of one sort or another, overrepresenting the United States’ religious majority of which I am not a part.
On the other hand, I was a bit saddened by the news. A church represents part of a person’s social circle, and Obama and his family have been attending Trinity for quite some time now. In withdrawing their membership, they are weakening some of their social bonds and the sad part is that this comes about for political reasons.
Now, I have watched Obama’s comments on this topic and while I agree that it was probably the best decision to make given the news coverage of every controversial remark made from the pulpit and the undue attention paid to church members, who are probably seeing Obama’s candidacy as much as a curse as they would see it as a blessing.
Of course, this brings me to another problem. Whatever church Obama chooses to join next may suffer under the same curse that’s plaguing Trinity: overeager reporters looking to get a scoop on the most controversial part of the Obama candidacy so far: his religious life.
In the end, this comes full circle, with an increased interest in the religious aspect of the race, I feel that I might get a bit irritated this election cycle as both an atheist and a secularist. I can hope that this won’t be a big issue, but I doubt that my wishes will come true here.