WASHINGTON--Contrary to the impression that may have been left from a Time Magazine report, the White House said Monday that President Obama has not stopped his search for a new church. The Obama family quit Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ during the presidential campaign because of the controversies surrounding the former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Gibbs was asked at the briefing, "Is the Time magazine report correct, that the president has told his staff that he intends to not search for a church in Washington but he will worship at Camp David instead?
Gibbs' answer used the word formal many times--a wiggle word, perhaps.
He replied, "No. He's -- there have been no formal decisions about joining a church. I think I've mentioned in here, in the past couple of weeks, that when he goes to Camp David, he has attended services at the chapel there. He enjoys the pastor there.
"They're not formally joining that church. And there have been no formal decisions on joining a church in this area. I will say, I think, one aspect of the article that is true, as I mentioned here in that same discussion, was the concern that the president continues to have, about the disruptive nature of his presence on any particular Sunday, in some churches around the area.
"I think that was discussed in the article. And I know he's -- I think obviously he shares the strong belief that there's a very personal nature to one's spirituality. And for it to be -- for his presence to be disruptive, I think, he believes that takes away from the experience that others might get and certainly doesn't want to do that."
Question: So for a while, he's not going to be searching for --
Said Gibbs, "Well, no. I think they'll continue to look for a formal church home. I think when he's at Camp David, he'll continue to go to the chapel there. He has told us that he greatly enjoys that."