The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


September 2, 2008

Obama an honorary Lutheran?

For the second week in a row, Barack Obama has worshiped at an ELCA congregation. On Sunday, Obama—fresh from the Democratic National Convention and on the campaign trail in Ohio—worshipped at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Lima.

Lars Olson, one of the pastors, said he didn’t know until 8:30 that morning that Obama would be among the worshipers at 10 a.m.

His stop in Lima made him the first Democratic presidential candidate in decades to visit Allen County, a longtime Republican stronghold, according to the Associated Press. "Even the very staunch Republicans at St. Luke's were honored that he was there. They did some good-natured grumbling about it," Olson told The Lutheran.

Olson said he has since made it clear to members that Obama's appearance at worship wasn't political, and that it wasn't a campaign stop. Obama "just participated like anyone else and was obviously there to worship," Olson said.

The Sunday before the convention, Obama worshiped at First Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wis. At both churches, Obama stayed around to visit with worshipers.

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