The Upshot

The First Family attended church this morning

Holly Bailey
The Upshot

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For the first time in several months, President Obama attended a public church service this morning.

Shortly before 9am, the First Family strolled out of the north gate of the White House and across Lafayette Park, where they attended services at St. John's Church. St. John's, which is Episcopalian, is often referred to as the "church of the presidents," a reference to the fact that every president since James Madison has attended services there.

It was only the fifth time that Obama has attended a public church service since being sworn in as president, according to CBS's Mark Knoller. The last time the Obama family went to a public service was on Easter when they attended Allen Chapel AME Church in southeast Washington.

There has been much fascination in Washington with the fact that the Obamas haven't yet picked a regular church. The White House says Obama is concerned about his massive security detail disrupting a congregation. In the meantime, the president has attended services at a private chapel near Camp David, his presidential retreat in northwest Maryland.

Obama has been dogged by questions about his religion. Last month, a Pew poll found that one in five Americans mistakenly believe that he is Muslim. Obama, as he has noted repeatedly, is Christian—a fact he went out of his way to mention at a news conference two weeks ago.

(Photo by Charles Dharapak/AP)

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