Air Force Chaplains Dispel Myth of Chaplaincy
US Air Force and Air Force Reserve chaplains recently helped support exercises occurring at Travis Air Force Base, California:
For Chaplain (Maj.) Matthew Ellis, for the 349th Air Mobility Wing, interacting with military members during exercises helps build relationships and a healthy level of comfort for Airmen.
In an interesting note, the article makes a point of saying [emphasis added]:
There is a myth that chaplains are only for people who are spiritual or religious, and that’s very much not the case, Ellis said.
It is a chaplain’s duty to provide protection for Airmen’s First Amendment rights.
It is true that some people think chaplains are only for “religious” troops, when in fact chaplains are tasked to support the religious rights of all troops. (Technically, not “First Amendment rights,” since chaplains arguably don’t have anything to do with free speech, assembly, or the press.)
It’s also interesting the article went out of its way to remind people the law actually protects troops’ religious expression, too. From CMSgt Darmel Richardson, the AFRC individual mobilization augmentee chaplain assistant functional manager:
The Chaplain Corps is about allowing individuals to express their own faith, whatever that may be, Richardson said.
Technically, the Chaplain Corps doesn’t “allow” troops to express their faith — military commanders are responsible for protecting that right, and chaplains advise them on doing so. Still, it is a worthy effort in communicating an oft-missed liberty retained by US military troops — not one abdicated by virtue of their military service.