DoD Reverses Policy Furloughing Contract Chaplains
The Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit on Monday on behalf of Catholic military Chaplain Ray Leonard, who was prohibited from ministering as a chaplain because he was deemed “non-essential” to military morale and readiness.
In response to the lawsuit, three attorneys from the Department of Justice contacted TMLC attorney Erin Mersino by phone and indicated that Father Leonard could resume all of his religious duties beginning this morning, and that the Chapel would be open for all Catholic activities. These representations made by the Department of Justice attorneys were confirmed by orders to Father Leonard delivered through the Navy chain of command.
Presumably, this would apply to all similarly situated contract chaplains. TMLC indicates it will continue with the lawsuit to prevent the government from repeating the discretionary ban during a future shutdown.
Coincidentally, Congress passed legislation re-opening the government late Wednesday night.