June 29, 2009
Has Obama Chosen a Church?
Time magazine reports that President Obama has told his aides that his primary place of worship will be Evergreen Chapel, the nondenominational church at Camp David.
The White House has not made an official statement yet.
Update: White House Deputy Press Secretary Jen Psaki said by e-mail: "The President and First Family continue to look for a church home. They have enjoyed worshipping at Camp David and several other congregations over the months, and will choose a church at the time that is best for their family."
Amy Sullivan and Elizabeth Dias reported that a number of factors drove the decision - financial, political, personal, and being able to worship without being on display. At St. John's, worshippers snapped photos of Obama with their camera phones.
Carey Cash, who attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and served as a chaplain in the Iraq War, preaches at the chapel.
If the White House had custom-ordered a pastor to be the polar opposite of Jeremiah Wright, they could not have come as close as Cash. (As it is, the White House had no hand in selecting Cash. The Navy rotates chaplains through Camp David every three years; Cash began his tour this past January.) The 38-year-old Memphis native is a graduate of the Citadel and the great-nephew of Johnny Cash. He served a tour as chaplain with a Marine battalion in Iraq and baptized nearly 60 Marines during that time. Cash earned his theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth - and, yes, that means Obama's new pastor is a Southern Baptist.
Time reports that Obama will still looking for someone he can pray with and turn to for spiritual guidance. An earlier New York Times article reported that Obama's spiritual advisers have included Otis Moss, T. D. Jakes, Kirbyjon Caldwell, Jim Wallis, and Joel Hunter.