The Obama Watch

Don’t Ask, Then Tell

Obama listens to his political advisers, not soldiers or chaplains.

By 10.15.09

Polls consistently show that soldiers do not want the armed services turned into a laboratory of social experimentation. But a president who spends more time in the company of Oprah than his generals has no intention of listening to them.

Whatever "consultation" precedes Obama's change to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, it won't include soldiers and generals who object to its repeal. Were Edward Gibbon writing about America's decline and fall, he would surely note as an advanced stage of decadence and absurdity that its political culture expended more energy on matters like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" than troop levels.

Symbolic of this administration's unseriousness is that it would attach a "hate crimes" amendment to the Senate's defense spending bill this week. Will the Taliban be added to the list? America's enemies at this rate may end up as a protected category.

In the midst of conducting two wars, what is one of Obama's top priorities? It is to make sure that someone, somewhere doesn't say something the "LGBT" community considers offensive. Using a defense spending bill as a Trojan horse to mollify gay activists surpasses even Clintonian levels of cynicism.

But the Washington Post appears to have found a new hate criminal close to home: a Camp David pastor "who has Obama's attention," Carey Cash, the great-nephew of Johnny Cash.

"Although Cash was assigned to Camp David by the Navy, the president really likes the guy," declares the Post. That is, until he reads this article.

Those whom the PC gods would destroy they first put in a passive-aggressive Post profile. The piece is full of ostensible praise -- quoting colleagues of Cash about "his deep faith, warm manner and forceful sermons" -- but what seems to have really piqued the paper's interest is that a pastor whom Obama recently commended ("I really think he's excellent") has an "unflattering assessment of Islam, which Cash views as a flawed faith."

Cash has written that Islam "from its very birth has used the edge of the sword as a means to convert or conquer those with different religious convictions," and that "grace is often absent in Islam." Uh-oh.

"The White House declined" to comment on Cash, said the paper. Nor did it "make Cash available for interviews, saying it wished to keep the president's religious worship at Camp David private. Cash's family also declined to speak on instructions, they said, from the White House."

Also problematic from the Post's point of view is that Cash takes his own religion seriously.

It reports: "Cash has drawn criticism from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group that monitors Christian proselytizing in the military, for his participation in Campus Crusade for Christ's Military Ministry, a program for evangelical chaplains to 'help every troop, every leader, every family member hear and receive the life-saving message about Jesus.'"

Chris Rodda, a foundation spokesman, told the paper that "any chaplain" who supports a group like this "is a problem."

So much for Cash's career as an Obama chaplain. Clearly in Obama's America these are not acceptable thoughts, and particularly not from a Camp David pastor. America, as Obama often says, is not at "war with Islam." The only religion that Obama seeks to reform is his own.

Despite its intermittently breezy praise of Cash, the Post seems proud of itself for finding, post-Jeremiah Wright, a right-wing pastor who could cause Obama trouble. The White House will now have to scurry to find a new pastor, one who not only supports Obama's regard for Islam but also his repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.