The Pew Monitors Are on the JobThe first problem with Jennifer Epstein's piece about the President's faith is that it exists at all. This is a story...why? Yes, I understand that in practical terms Article VI, Paragraph 3 might as well not exist (at least where the Presidency is concerned). But really, is the public dying to read yet another Politico piece about the President's church attendance?
The second problem is the way it's framed. Here's the lede:
President Barack Obama rarely goes to church and has spent just one Christmas morning of his presidency in the pews.Because it wouldn't be "balanced" if you didn't start it out by casting doubt on the President's faith ("Critics say [the President's faith] wouldn’t be readily apparent from watching his public comings and goings"). Now, one could say that since a person's faith is a purely subjective matter, nobody else in the world can possibly have an informed opinion about it. But that wouldn't be the Politico way. The Politico way, where Democrats are concerned, is to bring imaginary controversy into the most banal and innocuous subjects.
But that’s not for lack of faith, members of his small circle of religious confidants say.
The third problem is the complete lack of context. She doesn't mention Bush's sporadic church attendance, or the fact that Reagan didn't go at all. Nor, as it happens, did the previous Politico articles mention it. And of course they were called out for the omission, and of course they keep repeating it.
Because this is Politico, and at Politico the narrative matters more than the facts. And the narrative is that Republicans are presumptively godly, while Democrats are presumptively godless. None of which, according the guys who wrote the Constitution, is supposed to matter in the first place.