Skip to comments.Christian lawmakers want to protect (military) chaplains' speech (uncensored prayer)
Posted on 10/21/2005 7:09:16 PM PDT by xzins
|Christian lawmakers want to protect chaplains' speech
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Friday, October 21, 2005
WASHINGTON A group of Christian congressmen want a presidential order protecting military chaplains after receiving anecdotal evidence that the religious personnel have been punished for using overtly Christian language in public settings.
Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., said he has received letters from chaplains, both stateside and deployed overseas, complaining that superior officers have criticized and even reprimanded them for using Bible verses and invoking the name of Jesus in memorial services, pre-mission remarks and other events outside of their religious services.
This is a First Amendment right, Jones said. Our chaplains should not have any second thoughts about how they should pray. Let their heart speak with what God puts in their mind to pray.
Jones was joined Wednesday by five of the 35 House members who have agreed to sign a letter to President Bush asking for an executive order protecting the constitutional right of military chaplains to pray according to their faith. One senator, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has also pledged his support.
At issue are proposed guidelines introduced by the Air Force in August that emphasize nondenominational prayers in military ceremonies, and similar warnings from the Defense Department to all chaplains not to transform such non-faith-specific observances to reflect the chaplains denominational commitment.
Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said the goal of the educational efforts is to encourage all members of the Armed Forces to respect the religious views and practices of all members.
The Air Force regulations were released after an investigation into religious intimidation by Christian cadets at the services academy last spring.
Jones said he believes those guidelines will form the basis of a new militarywide code of conduct, and said that already, chaplains in all services are feeling pressure to watch their words.
Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., called the restrictions a nasty form of political correctness that keeps the chaplains from truly performing their jobs.
This is against everything America has ever stood for, he said.
I think these guys understand that a chaplain is making a petition to his own god, he said. I think its fine for a Jewish chaplain to pray to Yahweh or a Muslim chaplain to pray to Allah.
The letter calls the requirement of nondenominational prayers a euphemism declaring that prayers will be acceptable only so long as they censor Christian beliefs.
Jones did not release the names of the other members who will co-sign the letter, but he said that information will be made public by the end of the week.
Since chaplains are the 2nd oldest military branch, have the blessing of the Founders, have been approved by the courts when challenged, it is important to let them be their own denomination.
If we think about it, to FORCE them to be something "neutral" is doing what everyone fears......instituting a GOVERNMENT CREATED religion.
Are they censoring Muslims and Jews, or is it just the name of Jesus that must be eliminated from prayers by chaplains? This must not stand, and every Christian needs to contact their representatives to tell them so. Use your religious rights or lose them.
Amen...God Willing, it will be so.
The last Military Chaplain prayer I heard was as if it were addressed "To Whom it May Concern".
They do not censor Muslims and Jews.
Jews, of course, do not use the name YHWH out of respect for the name. They do use "God" which we consider generic, but in their case is not.
The muslims don't do any prayer without mentioning Allah in some way, shape, or form.
But, if we're going to have Jewish and Muslim chaplains, then they should be themselves. The same with Christians. They should be themselves. By law, they are there representing their denominations.
If the commanders don't want them praying according to their denominational beliefs at the non-religious events, then DON'T INVITE THEM. It's that simple.
But, please, please....don't REQUIRE them to be neutral.
There is no such thing as "The American Neutral Religion."
To the extent that they force NEUTRAL, they are forcing a government created religion. This, FINALLY, is what everyone has worried about "an established religion" in violation of the 1st amendment.
Yes, those are fascinating stories about chaplains.
Incidentally, the Chaplain Center and Museum is at Ft Jackson, South Carolina and is open to the public.
It's worth the visit.
If you want a Google GMail account, FReepmail me.
Also, please see The Backside of American History
You'll love this 187 page .pdf
Thanks for the ping!
If you don't want a chaplain to mention religion when he speaks, then why invite him to speak at all? They are performing their job, which is to minister to soldiers. Memorial services are generally good times to talk about Jesus, especially if the deceased soldier was Christian. Pre-mission remarks are generally good times to talk about God, as some of the soldiers going on the mission may lose their lives.
To expect a member of a religious vocation to be non-religious in his remarks is like expecting a doctor to counsel patients about their health without actually mentioning their physical condition.
3. Consistent with long-standing military tradition, a brief nonsectarian prayer may be included in nonroutine military ceremonies or events of special importance, such as changes of command, promotion ceremonies or significant celebrations where the purpose of the prayer is to add a heightened sense of seriousness or solemnity, not to advance specific religious beliefs.
Does it really shock Americans that Baptists immerse, that Jews circumcise, that Episcopalians burn incense, and that Catholics say the rosary. Are these unknown things? Of course not, they are part of the religious traditions of those denominations.
Likewise, many of them believe that prayer should be "in Jesus' name" or in the Trinitarian form "Father, Son, Holy Spirit." They have biblical reasons for their positions. (Whatsoever you ask in my name....)
Adults recognize that America has different religions with different practices. They don't get bent out of shape over it.
But, these commanders (pushed by politicians) are trying to dictate content.
If it's an organized program, then the chaplain should not be invited if the intention is to censor his speech. I have little respect for commanders who aren't adult enough to recognize that their chaplain has a denomination and a particular set of beliefs. Go ahead. Invite him to pray. Live with the difference. That's America. But, if that commander doesn't have a broad view of the world, then don't invite the chaplain to pray. It's that simple. But, if you do invite him, let him be himself.
If it's the deployment of a unit, and the chaplain gathers some people to pray, then at a time like that he MUST be true to his beliefs. No one is forcing anyone to stand near enough to them to listen.
"superior officers have criticized and even reprimanded them for using Bible verses and invoking the name of Jesus in memorial services, pre-mission remarks and other events outside of their religious services."
I assure you this is not the case in my unit. In fact, the Chaplain leads us in a prayer at every Cdr's Daily Update Brief. I can't imgaine doing it otherwise.
T6, I would have gladly been your chaplain.
The most important thing for your chaplain's future, imo.....FORCE him to get out and visit the troops if he doesn't do it naturally. Some love to run programs.
That's a good thing, but they won't attend his programs if they don't know him.
Visit, visit, visit....visiting can even cure nerdishness.
(And the more he visits, the more he is able to tell you what the troops are thinking.)
We cannot ask the Almighty One's blessing on our people and our wars and then be arrogant enough to dismiss him from our daily lives, including our public lives.
Not even for the sake of a minority of vocal troublemakers and misfits whose 'right' to tantrum seems to outweigh the rights of that quiet majority who are too busy doing the work God would have them do,should we the people allow our troops to suffer such dangerous foolishness from their so called leaders.
Any commander who would order such a thing...should be relieved of command as he has already been relieved of his honor and or sanity.
The idea that somehow we must protect folks from the fact that America is religiously diverse is sheer foolishness. The law says that chaplains are legal in military units. The law also requires them to conduct worship in their various units.
Just let them be themselves. It all balances out...just like America.
It's the continued negative PC influence of "tolerance" and "multi-culturalism," as the ruling Marxist elite seek to counter Christianity's "cultural hegemony."
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