Mr. Obama seems to share the cool rationalism of the UCC’s liberal New England roots more than the evangelistic and emotive black church tradition. Talking to the Chicago Sun-Times about his faith in 2004, he cited his “suspicion of dogma” and “too much certainty,” and said he preferred a “dose of doubt” in religion. Somewhat deflecting questions about prayer, Jesus and the afterlife, Mr. Obama defined sin as “being out of alignment with my values.”
In 2007, Mr. Obama addressed the UCC’s governing synod. “Doing the Lord’s work is a thread that’s run through our politics since the very beginning,” he told an enthusiastic audience of 9,000. Despite Mr. Obama’s resignation from Trinity after the Wright controversy, John Thomas, president of the UCC, wrote to him after his November win, speaking of the denomination’s pride and hope in the president-elect and offering him the “hospitality” of its congregations in Washington.
All this suggests that Mr. Obama could choose one of the UCC’s seven churches in the nation’s capital, two of which are predominantly black. Or, will he gravitate instead to one of the city’s historically black denominations in a majority black city? Whatever denomination attracts him, will he choose a white or racially diverse church?