" News that President Obama did not attend Christmas church services has reignited a public debate over the president’s true religious affiliation. The New York Times reports that in lieu of church, Obama celebrated the holiday by singing carols, opening presents with his family and greeting soldiers at a local military base in his birth state, Hawaii.
To most Americans that probably sounds like an average Christmas -- except, perhaps, for visiting a military base. According to a recent Pew Research poll cited by the Times, 54% of Americans reported plans to attend Christmas religious services. That number is down from previous years, a figure consistent with a general demographic shift away from organized religion and toward less structured demonstrations of faith.
Some commentators find Obama’s reluctance to attend services unusual. Gary Scott Smith, author of Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush, told the Times that Obama had gone to church “hardly at all” as president, and added, “It's very unusual for a president not to attend Christmas services.”"