Obama = John the Baptist?

Well, the Episcopalian who preached at yesterday’s service, attended by the Obamas (shown above, walking to church), drew a curious connection:

President Barack Obama and his family attended a worship service Sunday morning at an Episcopal church just across the street from the White House where presidents frequently have visited.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia made the short walk across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church.

The sermon by Rev. Dr. Luis Leon was based on the story of John the Baptist, who told the religious leaders he was neither the Messiah nor the prophet, but a voice calling in the wilderness.

Leon likened the story to the president and the expectations Americans may have of him. People have illusions about the nation and about God, the pastor said, and urged the congregation to open its eyes not “to the God we have created, but to who he really is,” he said.

Just before the announcements, the congregation laughed when a young boy ran to the front of the church and took a good look at the Obamas.

The first family participated in Holy Communion before strolling back through the park to the executive mansion.

Obama has worshipped at St. John’s previously, including Easter services in 2009. He has also attended other churches in the nation’s capital.

One of the church pews has a small brass plaque designating it as “The President’s Pew.” Church history claims that every president since the nation’s fourth chief executive, James Madison, has visited.

Sunday night Obama spoke briefly of the story of Jesus’s birth during the 30th annual “Christmas in Washington” concert.

He said the story of Jesus Christ has changed the world by teaching basic values such as loving one another, helping and serving the less fortunate, forgiving, drawing closer to family, being grateful and keeping faith.

“Those are values that are shared by all faiths,” Obama said at the concert. “So tonight let us all rededicate ourselves to each other, and in that spirit, from my family to yours: Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.”

  • Fr. Jim

    Ummm … I. Don’t. Think. So.

  • David_J_White

    Is the Rev. Leon suggesting that Pres. Obama will be succeeded by someone, the straps of whose sandals he is unworthy to fasten?

  • HMS

    David_J_White:

    When I hear Obama call his adversaries in Congress “a brood of vipers” then I’ll take Rev. Leon’s suggestion seriously.

    Still, I would like to have heard the sermon in context, not just as reported in the article.

    I think that there is one Republican candidate who would just love to be known as a twenty-first century John the Baptist. In fact, he may have been shown an openness to it at the debate in Iowa on Saturday night, when he said: “ Somebody oughta have the courage to tell the truth (about the Palestinians).”

  • Steve P

    Catholic Blog + President Obama/religion story = a bilious stream of dozens of garbage comments

    It’s as reliable as the Pythagorean Theorem…But in this case I’d love to see it proven wrong!

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Will they serve his head on a platter…lol? I’m sure there are people in Congress that would like to accomodate that. Actually now that I think of it, there are plenty of Al Qaida people that would like to accomodate that. This whole discussion is ludicrous. Unless Obama is prefiguring the coming of Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich, then this is a joke.

    Obama has already been compared to a Greek diety and a messiah. What is it about this mediocre (at best but probably way worse than that) president that keeps feeding Libaeral desires? Is the left so hard up on leadership?

  • The A-C

    I hate the type of hypocrisy the president has to live in. I just don’t buy his faith, or anyone else’s for that matter.

    [Comment edited to remove anti-Christian slurs. -- Ed.]

  • Jake

    I’m afraid you are correct. The comments will be quite predictable — possibly examples of the theory posited in the “Nones” article from earlier.

  • vox borealis

    Perhaps a little crazy? check.
    Wears hair suit, eats wild locust and honey? probably not.
    People mistakenly thought he’s the messiah? check.
    Ushering in a successor whose sandals he is not worthy to fasten? likely.

    Answer to query: the jury is still out.

    [Edited to remove tasteless content. -- Ed.]

  • vox borealis

    More seriously–Obama claimed (according to the article) that the “story” (not the person?) of Jesus Christ changed the world by…teaching “values that are shared by all faiths.” Huh? does that make any sense, given that several faiths predate Christianity?

    If Jesus Christ changed the world, and He certainly did, he surely offered something new and different and powerful, not some boiler plate “values” found at the local Unitarian Universalist meeting house.

  • naturgesetz

    Looking at the glass as half full, he actually said, “Merry Christmas.”

  • Barbara P

    Here is a link to the text of the President’s statements at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree this year: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/12/02/news/politics/doc4ed87d4d084e9902516455.txt
    You will be happy to note that he actually calls it a Christmas Tree.

  • Kevin

    Reading that sermon i threw up in my mouth a little.

  • HMS

    Dear Kevin:
    Maybe you need to see a doctor. You might have GERD.

  • http://themightyambivalentcatholic.blogspot.com/ Steve

    What’s the sign one does not have the true spirit of Christmas? One reads about the president and his family going to church during Advent, and later in the day extolling the teachings of Jesus as something that betters humanity, and one hears the president wish people a merry Christmas and wishes God’s blessing on the country — and one decides to go on a rant about what an awful president this guy must be. Sigh.

  • pagansister

    Let’s see, President Obama and his family attend Christian churches—something usually associated with those who profess to be Christians. I have a feeling President Obama attends church much more often than many who profess to be Christians. Perhaps those who have doubts about the President’s faith should check their own. As much as I like President Obama, I have never felt him to be anything even close to a savior of any kind. But neither have I expected any other president of the USA to be a savior.


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