Navy Chief Chaplain Delivers Nightly Prayer

The Chief of Navy Chaplains, Chaplain (RAdm) Mark L. Tidd, recently visited the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.  With regard to the current environment, he made a point of saying chaplains can help in the fight against sexual assault.

Tidd’s training and conversations with Nimitz’ chaplains and leaders included sexual assault prevention and awareness guidance. According to Tidd, a chaplain’s confidential counseling can play a crucial part in the lives of sexual assault victims.

“A chaplain can confidentially help a victim determine how to proceed [and decide] whether to make a restricted report or an unrestricted report that can lead to an opportunity to bring people to justice,” said Tidd.

The article makes a side comment that would likely register with few:

Tidd also conducted the ship’s evening prayer over the sound system. This prayer is one of many services provided by chaplains aboard Nimitz every night.

The evening prayer over the ship’s intercom is one of the enduring US Naval traditions.  It is also one that is still being fought against, as when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (who recently lost their battle to get rid of Jesus) just weeks ago demanded that the Navy cease ‘forcing’ Sailors to listen to prayer.

“It is our information and understanding that Navy ships broadcast a prayer every night over the intercom system,” Seidel said. “The prayers are announced with ‘Tattoo, tattoo, stand by for the evening prayer…’ The prayers are invariably delivered by Christians, typically the chaplain or a chaplain designee, and broadcast a Christian message…”

“This practice is coercive and a violation of the very document — the Constitution — every sailor promises to uphold upon joining the Navy,” Seidel wrote. “Sailors should not be compelled to participate in or show obeisance to official prayers while serving the country that invented the separation of state and church.”

The FRFF said that the prayers were coercive because they were reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984.

The FRFF notes they last complained about this in 2010, when Michael Weinstein’s “religious freedom” group joined in the complaint.  Similar complaints have been lodged against US Naval Academy and West Point mealtime prayers.  When the complaint fails to generate the necessary public response, it is generally recycled a few years later.