In running down the degree of religious seriousness of a few more recent presidents in an article portraying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's heavy involvement with Mormonism, Semuels wrote (bold is mine):
George W. Bush is a born-again Christian; President Obama has been a regular church-goer for decades; Jimmy Carter taught Sunday school. But no previous president or serious candidate can rival Romney for the time and energy spent in running a religious organization and ministering to its members.
This statement opens up a two-pronged problem, which Simon duly notes:
Let’s leave aside the eye roller that with “regular” church-going Obama was still somehow able to miss the multiple racist and anti-American excrescences of his pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright (or so the then candidate assured us) and cut straight to the chase – the life of our president since he has been in the White House.
Simon goes on to cite a Time Magazine item from December 2009, i.e., eleven months into Obama's presidency, called "No Church-Going Christmas for the First Family," in which Amy Sullivan wrote that "The Obamas have attended Sunday services in Washington three times this year." To understate, most pastors wouldn't call a congregation member who has shown up three times in eleven months a "regular."
Simon also notes that in September 2010, Ben Smith at the Politico wrote of the First Family's quite infrequent church attendance, observing that "Since arriving in Washington as president, Obama — who was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago — has largely chosen not to attend public church services because of the possible disruptions his presence, and the increased security, would cause a congregation."
In other words: Regular, schmegular.
So why would the LA Times so brazenly misrepresent the President's church attendance record? Simon's theory:
... they lie or gild the lily or prevaricate or whatever you want to call it to protect their man, even in relatively monitor situations like this. It is engrained in them. They are probably not capable of writing or even seeing the truth.
Sounds about right.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.