Chaplains Guard Constitutional Rights
As noted here late last year, the US military has increased its public relations emphasis on the virtues of its Chaplaincy and spiritual environment. This was likely to counter allegations and perceptions of religious intolerance or impropriety within the US military. All of the military branches now routinely publish news releases on Chaplains of varying faiths selflessly serving their troops, as well highlighting the inclusive spiritual atmosphere within the US military.
An article from Keesler Air Force Base appears to be the most blunt to date. Entitled “Chaplains guard constitutional right to religious freedom,” it features Chaplain (Capt) Charles Mallory reciting the military position on religion within the services:
It is Air Force policy that we’ll accommodate free exercise of religion and other personal beliefs, as well as freedom of expression. Those ‘other personal beliefs’ aren’t just related to worship or religion — it can be fellowships, services, holiday events, festivals or seasonal observances, as long as it relates to the practices of their faith.
Chaplain Mallory is the same Chaplain who not long ago helped start a group for atheists and agnostics. As was noted in the discussion on that topic, Chaplain Mallory makes one simple request of any military member desiring spiritual support: ask.
We simply ask that the students come forward and make the requests. Despite our best efforts, we don’t have every single holy day, holiday, and observance memorized for every single faith group, so we rely on the member to come forward to ask for help with their accommodation request.
The Chaplain has done an admirable job of meeting the needs of his troops, and his efforts are an excellent example of encouraging the desired spiritual environment of the US military.