There is religious persecution brewing in the military. We all know that it’s the Christians being persecuted, but I’ll let this article explain it.
Lawmakers yesterday said Christian chaplains throughout the branches of the military are being restricted in how they can pray, and President Bush should step in to protect religious freedom.
“We’re giving the president an opportunity to use the Constitution to guarantee the First Amendment rights of our chaplains,” said Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican.
He is circulating a letter to send to Mr. Bush explaining that Christian military chaplains are being told to use general terms when they pray publicly, and to not mention the name of Jesus.
“This is a huge issue with many of the chaplains in the military,” said Mr. Jones, whose letter has 35 lawmakers’ signatures so far, and will be sent later this week.
He cited a letter from one Army chaplain who said it was made clear in his chaplain training course that it is offensive and against Army policy to publicly pray in the name of Jesus, and he later was rebuked for doing so.
“Much to my great shame, there have been times when I did not pray in my Savior’s name,” the chaplain wrote.
Boo. Hoo. I’m not dismissing religion when I say that. This isn’t religious persecution, even though that’s the obvious impression being offered by Rep. Jones. Still, before explaining further, let’s hear from two more politicians about this case:
“Chaplains ought to be able to pray based on who they are,” said Rep. Mike McIntyre, North Carolina Democrat. “Otherwise, it’s hypocrisy.”
“We’re seeing the same pattern … and it’s a pattern of hostility to freedom of speech,” said Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican. “The chaplains have complained, and it’s been increasing and more widespread and not only limited to the Air Force.”
How is it possible to have three politicians so blindingly stupid on one simple non-issue? It’s not widely understood that only government can run rough-shod over an individual’s civil liberties. Private individuals and businesses can’t. Fortunately, this passes the government involvement test. Unfortunately, it involves the military. Specifically, here are details about the Army Chaplaincy:
You will serve in the active Army, with an initial duty of three years.
1. You must obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement from your faith group. This endorsement should certify that you are:
a. A clergy person in your denomination or faith group.
b. Qualified spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally to serve as a Chaplain in the Army.
c. Sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.
Oh, yeah, there’s that little challenge of Army Chaplains being active in the military when they’re ministering. Unless I’m mistaken, and when am I ever mistaken, civilians don’t lose their rights when they join the military, but they do face looser protections while serving. The chaplains have superior officers issuing orders, applicable only when meeting with a denominationally-diverse group. This is not an abuse by the United States Military. Religious freedom is in no danger.
No doubt Rep. Jones, Rep. McIntyre, and Rep. Akin are the next three in line for the Supreme Court.