The first Sunday after President Obama's decision to back same-sex marriage had pulpits and news programs buzzing.
In an apparent bid for readers, Newsweek on its cover boldly named President Obama the "first gay president." And Obama's support for same-sex marriage was on churchgoers' minds on Sunday.
"For right now, it's going to make a difference. I don't think [President Obama] is following God's words," Mary Thomas of Rising Sun Baptist Church in Baltimore said.
Her pastor, Democratic State Delegate Rev. Emmet Burns, said politics trumped Christian teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman:
"He's pretty much said that what you believe and know is not that important. Political expediency is more important," Burns said.
The public debate over gay marriage is also becoming the topic of commencement addresses.
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told students, "I have no doubt that in your life time, liberty's light will allow us to see more clearly the truth of our nation's founding principle and allow us to see all people and all couples as full and equal members of the American family."
Politicians are also weighing in.
"I expected the president to be supporting same-sex marriage because, frankly, of the absence of any good reason against it, once you believe that people ought to be treated fairly," Gay Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at Iowa's Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting said, "You know [Obama] said his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical, but I wasn't sure that his views on marriage could get any gayer."
Jordon Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice says pastors do not need to shy away from speaking out on what has become an important issue.
"You can absolutely talk abut the moral issues of the day," Sekulow said. "The Supreme Court has said over and over that it's part of the fabric of America, that churches talk about moral issues. So, pastors do not have to be afraid."
News reports from around the country show that in African American churches, many black pastors expressed disappointment with the president's new position.