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Christian lawmakers want to protect (military) chaplains' speech (uncensored prayer)
Stars & Stripes ^ | 21 Oct 05 | Leo Shane III

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




Leo Shane III / S&S
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, speaks during a news conference Wednesday about military chaplains’ right to use Christian imagery and verses in their public remarks. With him are, from left, Rep. Mike McIntyre, R-N.C.; Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz; Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.; and Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kansas.
Air Force interim public prayer guidelines

1. Public prayer should not usually be included in official settings such as staff meetings, office meetings, classes or officially sanctioned activities such as sports events or practice sessions.

2. Common sense — and mutual respect — should always be applied and extraordinary circumstances may drive exceptions.

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. Military chaplains are trained to deal with such events.

4. In addition, a moment of silence for personal reflection does not require the same considerations as public prayer and may be appropriate in official settings.

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 chaplain’s 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 service’s 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 it’s 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.



TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 109th; airforce; army; chaplain; christianity; christianpersecution; christians; dod; inhofe; jesus; prayer; walterjones

1 posted on 10/21/2005 7:09:18 PM PDT by xzins
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To: rdb3; Travis McGee; Jeff Head; P-Marlowe; Corin Stormhands; LTCJ; Thunder 6
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.

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.

2 posted on 10/21/2005 7:12:37 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: LiteKeeper; Jerry_M

ping


3 posted on 10/21/2005 7:17:20 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: VaBthang4; 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub; Blueflag; Travis McGee; aristeides; SpookBrat; mhking; LTCJ; ..

ping


4 posted on 10/21/2005 7:22:12 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins

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.


5 posted on 10/21/2005 7:25:35 PM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: xzins

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".




6 posted on 10/21/2005 7:25:53 PM PDT by Colonial Warrior ("I've entered the snapdragon part of my life ....Part of me has snapped...the rest is draggin'.")
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To: kittymyrib; Colonial Warrior; Dr. Eckleburg; jude24

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.


7 posted on 10/21/2005 7:34:47 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins
Chaplains who have earned the Medal of Honor

Mention needs to be made of the Four Chaplains of the U.S.S. Dorchester, who should have received Medals of Honor.
8 posted on 10/21/2005 7:38:35 PM PDT by JAWs
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To: JAWs

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.


9 posted on 10/21/2005 7:43:47 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins
This is a crying shame, Chappy.


If you want a Google GMail account, FReepmail me.
Also, please see The Backside of American History
You'll love this 187 page .pdf

10 posted on 10/21/2005 7:45:40 PM PDT by rdb3 (Have you ever stopped to think, but forgot to start again?)
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To: xzins
"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."

Agreed bump

11 posted on 10/21/2005 7:52:52 PM PDT by Dust in the Wind (I've got peace like a river. . .)
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To: xzins

Thanks for the ping!


12 posted on 10/21/2005 8:07:18 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: xzins
...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.

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.

13 posted on 10/21/2005 8:12:51 PM PDT by The Phantom FReeper (Have you hugged your soldier today?)
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To: rdb3; Dust in the Wind
The Air Force's interim guidelines posted in the sidebar are the problem in a nutshell.

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.

14 posted on 10/21/2005 8:18:29 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: The Phantom FReeper
If you don't want a chaplain to mention religion when he speaks, then why invite him to speak at all?

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.

15 posted on 10/21/2005 8:23:57 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins

"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.

Regards,


16 posted on 10/21/2005 8:43:24 PM PDT by Thunder 6
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To: Thunder 6

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.)


17 posted on 10/21/2005 9:26:25 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins
I cannot imagine my country not allowing our chaplains to not address their troops before going into battle or in the evac hospitals where our soldiers,Marines,sailors, airmen or their companions lay dying or severely wounded..

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.

imo

18 posted on 10/22/2005 6:27:29 AM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: joesnuffy

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.


19 posted on 10/22/2005 7:30:20 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins
Reminds me of a Police Chaplain friend with the LASD. This guy is top shelf in my view, aggressive, high profile, and there when it hits the fan, but he has experienced the same "resistence" from administration.

Ten-Four Ministries

It's the continued negative PC influence of "tolerance" and "multi-culturalism," as the ruling Marxist elite seek to counter Christianity's "cultural hegemony."

20 posted on 10/22/2005 5:46:28 PM PDT by Salem (FREE REPUBLIC - Fighting to win within the Arena of the War of Ideas! So get in the fight!)
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To: xzins

Chaplain,
Mine is great. Former Artillery Cannon Crewman and NCO before he found his calling. He is a warrior as well as tender of the flock here. He's been on patrols and raids in addition to the sometimes sad, terrible (and joyous) duties a Chaplain has to perform in combat. We have been blessed.

Chaplains are yet another reason we have the greatest army the world has ever known. It disturbs me greatly to see any effort to limit your contributions. My belief is that you are the keepers of our souls in a place where it would be very easy to lose them.

Regards,


21 posted on 10/22/2005 8:57:11 PM PDT by Thunder 6
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To: xzins; Alamo-Girl; blue-duncan; ovrtaxt; keyes2004; Diva Betsy Ross; Colonial Warrior; rdb3; ...
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.

A Follower of the Lord Jesus Christ should fear God not man. I am thoughtful of the words of the apostles and martyrs:

"We must obey God rather than men!"

This is true of every Confessing Christian, whether in a position of authority, leadership, or power, or whether witnessing to coworkers, strangers, or Sunday School classes.

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Proverbs 24:10

I have questions about why this controversy is still raging since we have a President who is an avowed Christian, Constitutionalist, and strict constructionist:

Why has President Bush not already signed an Executive Order as Commander in Chief to make plain what our First Amendment to our Constitution is written to codify in law, that we are endowed by our Creator with the right to freely exercise our religious beliefs, and that government in America is prohibited from disturbing in any way the free exercise of those beliefs?

Why is Jay Sekulow of ACLJ talking about this crisis week after week and nothing is done?

Why must Congress and the American people petition this particular President to do what is just and lawful, why must he be "urged" to correct this injustice?

Has the President no ears? Does he not know the infraction exists? Has no one let the Commander in Chief know what is going on in his ranks and among his troops? Did the Commander in Chief not know about (or read) the new Air Force guidelines before they were issued?

I think it is also important to note that as reported by the Family Research Council back in July,

"...an Air Force review team, after investigating allegations of religious intolerance at the U.S. Air Force Academy, reported no evidence of widespread religious discrimination at the Academy. The investigation, which was conducted by the Inspector General of the U.S. Air Force following internal complaints last year against Brigadier General Johnny A. Weida, the Commandant of Cadets at the Academy, found that of the seven allegations, six were dismissed for being without substance and one will be investigated further to determine if it has merit. The report also found that despite these allegations, the evidence did not support a finding of 'wrongdoing or misconduct' by Brigadier General Weida."

AND YET the new unconstitutional guidelines were written and dispersed, and a document called a code of ethics which was formerly distributed at Chaplain School is now fearfully withdrawn without lawsuit because it promoted and encouraged evangelism to the lost.

Excuse me, but even Bill Clinton did better than this when he issued guidelines on religious expression in the workplace.

Why is this happening under the leadership of President George W. Bush?

22 posted on 10/30/2005 4:11:07 AM PST by .30Carbine (God Bless His Word to His People in This Day)
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To: kalee

ping for later reading


23 posted on 10/30/2005 4:20:26 AM PST by kalee
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To: .30Carbine

Thanks for the ping!


24 posted on 10/30/2005 5:24:39 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: xzins
"Rep. Mike McIntyre, R-N.C." is actually D-N.C.

Rep. McIntyre is the only remaining moderate Democrat in Congress from North Carolina.

-Dave

25 posted on 11/16/2005 10:32:20 PM PST by ncdave4life
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