Chaplain’s Blessing Contrasts with POW/MIA Bible Controversy

US Army Chaplain (Col) Sam Lee was photographed last week performing a “blessing of sacrifice and remembrance” in the back of the C-17 carrying the 55 cases of remains returned by North Korea.

With the political clamor surrounding relations between the United States and North Korea, it is notable that not a single person appears to have attacked the military or the chaplain for the act.

After all, if a Bible has to be replaced with a book of blank pages (an ironic statement on faith, actually) to prevent offense — with the charge that not all service members or POW/MIAs were Christians — how much more “offensive” is it for an evangelical Christian chaplain to pray over the remains of those who may have been of any faith or no faith?

Of course, rational people recognize Chaplain Lee’s actions as one of honor, nothing more. His prayers no more proselytize or exclude anyone than does a Bible on a table, which similarly does nothing more than call to remembrance and honor.

As a Nation, we still acknowledge that references to spirituality are permissible and even appropriate, though the societal tolerance to such references is growing smaller. We must remember, though, that such actions are permissible and appropriate not because we, as a society, deem them to be, but because they are. They are the act of and defense of the human right of religious liberty — a fundamental right deserving of protection, and one also enshrined in the US Constitution.

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