US Military Chaplains Group Criticizes Jewish Troops’ Religious Beliefs
The Forum on the Military Chaplaincy presents itself as a “tolerant” and progressive organization for the military chaplaincy. On their website, they say their goal is to
provide an inclusive, socially and spiritually responsive program…to extend a welcome and affirming presence to the troops and military families…
The Forum was founded to use the chaplaincy to help repeal the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which helps explain their appeal to be “inclusive.” However, the “inclusiveness” of these progressive “Christians” apparently does not extend to orthodox Jewish beliefs.
Last Saturday, Tom Carpenter — the homosexual former Navy fighter pilot who runs the Forum — posted an Andy Rooney-esque “What is your reaction to…” and quoted a chaplain who expressed theological reservations about female chaplains.
Some of the reactions from his group were predictable.
Said Sara Sharick, an atheist Army reservist and former recruiter who said she’d steer her recruits away from Liberty University because of religion:
…If he feels this way about female chaplains, what about female anything else in the military? What about LGBT service members or families? What about anyone not Christian?
I wouldn’t trust this guy farther than a baby could a boulder to competently serve anyone not male and Christian.
Blake M Dremann [He has] chosen the wrong profession.
Bill Cork This is what senior chaplain interview should weed out. But much sexism among recent CHBOLC grads.
Shockingly, Kelley Thury — a recent seminary graduate and brand new chaplain candidate — not only declared the chaplain unfit to serve, but also said she’d discriminate against him if given the opportunity:
Kelley Thury That chaplain should choose another career outside of military chaplaincy… And if not…I would promote a woman ahead of him to be his boss!
Discriminating against others because of their religion isn’t the best way to start your military career there, Thury.
Surprisingly, two of the commenters outright admitted the chaplain was conforming to military policies designed to protect religious liberty — but they still said he “should resign.”
With that context, you might think Tom Carpenter had just tricked the members of his own organization into revealing their hidden prejudice.
Naturally, everyone assumed the “chaplain” was some variation of “fundamentalist Christian” — so they felt justified in criticizing his religious beliefs and declaring he should get out of the military because of his religion. After all, criticizing Christian beliefs is not only acceptable but also expected.
What they didn’t stop to consider is the belief he expressed — the belief women shouldn’t be in positions of theological leadership — isn’t confined to traditional protestant Christianity.
It’s also Jewish.
The vast majority of US military chaplains — and the vast majority of religious adherents within the US military — come from denominations that hold the beliefs just disparaged by this “tolerant” group — a group that has declared those Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and mainline Christians shouldn’t be in the military.
Army Reservist Sara Sharick would likely have been taken to task — and perhaps even declared anti-Semitic — if she said she couldn’t trust Jews whose beliefs didn’t allow female Rabbis.
First Lieutenant and soon to be chaplain Kelley Thury would have been scolded — and perhaps even called an “Islamophobe” — if she’d claimed Muslims “should choose another career” if their religious beliefs wouldn’t support a female Imam.
Yet that is what they said. The beliefs the Forum and its supporters criticized are beliefs shared across many faiths — and they declared those beliefs incompatible with military service.
Perhaps most odd was the terse response of another Forum supporter:
BS, Ch (LTC) Henry Roberson
Roberson is a retired Army chaplain — a Catholic chaplain, who inexplicably supports the Forum as it attacks the ability of Catholics to serve as chaplains — or potentially serve in the military at all — while holding Catholic beliefs.
Most troubling of all is the fact these men and women — especially serving and retired chaplains like Thury and Roberson — represent the very people who are supposed to protect their fellow troops’ religious liberty. Yet here they indicate they not only would fail to protect the religious freedom of their fellow troops, they’d actually attack it.
The idea that an American citizen should not be a military chaplain — or in the military at all — solely due to their theology is inconsistent with military religious freedom and the protections of the US Constitution.
It is also wrong.
Tom Carpenter and those US military troops, chaplains, and others who associate with his Forum on the Military Chaplaincy seem to think it is acceptable if their target is Christians they don’t like.
But even they probably realize attacking the beliefs of Jews, and Muslims, and Catholics, and Protestants in the US military just makes them look like religious bigots.