Report: Air Force Actively Recruiting LGBT-Friendly Chaplains
Stephen Boyd, the ecclesiastical endorser for the United Church of Christ (UCC), recently revealed that the US Air Force is actively seeking chaplains that are more friendly to homosexuals. Referring to Chaplain Robert Ward, an Air Force chaplain recruiter, Boyd said:
Chaplain Ward shared that the Air Force has come to realize that the Air Force Chaplain Corps cannot minister to all the men and women who wear the uniform. In the post-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell world and in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, chaplains who can openly serve the LGB community are scarce…
The Air Force has decided to intentionally recruit men and women from more progressive denominations to serve in the Air Force Chaplain Corps.
To that end, Boyd — who also supports the idea of atheist chaplains — said Ward had sent messages seeking recruiting opportunities to only 12 (of the “more than 200”) military chaplain endorsers: Those 12 had the correct “ecumenical/pluralistic spirit” and “ecclesiastical context…[the Air Force is] looking for.”
(Hypocritically, to imply that faith groups who are theologically opposed to the acceptance of homosexuality are less ecumenical or pluralistic than those who support it defies the very definitions of those terms.)
Boyd identifies Ward as being a Presbyterian (PC-USA), which would indicate the Air Force recruiter is also from one of those “ecumenical” denominations: one that accepts the homosexual lifestyle, rather than calling it a sin.
It is not altogether untoward that the US military would attempt to recruit from specific faiths to fill the chaplaincy. After all, it has been trying to recruit more Catholic priests and Jewish Rabbis for years.
On the other hand, the military generally does not actively recruit from less mainstream or small minority faiths. For example, the military has not actively tried to enlist a Messianic Jew and, in fact, refused to accommodate one who applied — citing the potential for inconsistency in the chaplaincy and confusion among the troops (with regard to faith representation) as the causes.
In that regard, it is somewhat odd the Air Force would actively seek to recruit chaplains not because they are needed to serve their particular faith sect, but because they have specific, socially-acceptable tenets. It would seem inconsistency and confusion aren’t a concern when it comes to the Christian faith.
The more disturbing part of this allegation is the insinuation that such an “ecumenical/pluralistic” chaplain could “equally” serve the spiritual needs of both the homosexuals the Air Force is apparently trying to accommodate and military Christians in general. This is despite the fact that homosexuals in the military, officially uncounted, make up a miniscule portion of the military (and an even smaller portion of any faith community), while theological opposition to homosexuality is a majoritarian view.
Put another way, if the reporting about Chaplain Ward is correct, the Air Force appears to be willing to dismiss the needs of the 99% to appease the 1%.
Keep in mind, too, that the US military already has chaplains that support the open acceptance of homosexuality — and in fact has openly homosexual chaplains. Demographically, the Air Force likely has it “covered.”
What could possibly be motivating the US chaplaincy to make such a calculation?