Army Officer Violates Orders During Military Prayer
Or so he says:
According to his public statements, US Army Captain Miles Cone was in “violation of orders from a superior officer” during the benediction at his June 8 graduation from his three year residency in Advanced Dental Education. Presumably, the order was something along the lines of “let us pray” and came from a chaplain.
While Capt Cone might like to play the martyr, it turns out he’s no hero. While military chaplains have rank as officers, no statement from them — or any other military officer — inviting a religious or spiritual act could ever be remotely construed as a lawful order. (As part of the medical corps, Cone likewise has no command authority.) Prayer in ceremonial settings is a longstanding military tradition and welcome by the vast majority of those present. It is not a violation of the Constitution, despite Capt Cone’s insinuation.
Those who do not wish to participate are in no way obligated to do so — no matter what their religious beliefs. Every chaplain — and every defender of religious freedom — would defend their right to not participate in what may be considered religious acts. That does not mean one cannot respect the ability of others to participate — which, despite his apparent vocalized angst, Cone seems to have respectfully done. Chip, meet shoulder.
For the record, there are far worse potential examples of what may seem to be forced religious acts. Standing and listening to others pray hardly rates.
Cone isn’t “in defense of the First Amendment” any more than his fellow officers are in “violation” of the First Amendment. Cone’s faux persecution might make for interesting conversations while his subordinate Soldiers are sitting in the dental chair, but little else.