East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, Washington, was too good a deal to pass up for Stanley Dunham, a freethinking bargain hunter for religious ideas. So in the early 1950s he enrolled his family in the church and sent his daughter, Stanley Ann, to the Sunday school.
“It’s like you get five religions in one,” Dunham liked to say. His wife, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, shot back, “For Christ’s sake, Stanley, religion is not supposed to be like buying breakfast cereal.”
So their grandson, Barack Obama, recalled about his grandfather’s “only skirmish into organized religion” in his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. The family’s engagement with Unitarianism was not limited to Stanley Ann’s childhood in the suburbs of Seattle, however. Later, when she sent her almost eleven-year-old son to Hawaii to live with his grandparents from 1971 to 1972, they sent the young Obama to the Sunday school of First Unitarian Church of Honolulu. (He lived with his grandparents again from 1975 until he graduated from high school in 1979.)