The US Naval Academy has an interesting arrangement in which a civilian pastor is officially part of the chapel staff to minister to faculty and midshipmen. That position is now filled by Bart Physioc:
Physioc fills a unique position in a congregation that encompasses active duty and retired military, civilians and staff. Because Navy chaplains have responsibilities that limit their ability to pastor the whole church, Physioc helps cover visitations and ministers to and disciples the members.
He isn’t new to the military, however. It turns out Pastor Physioc is actually retired US Army Chaplain (Col) Physioc, with 25 years of service that ended just in 2014.
Chaplain Physioc wasn’t Read more
The US Army chaplaincy has a bit of history:
On the heels of the Army’s birthday, the Chaplain Corps was established as an integral part of the Continental Army on July 29, 1775…
“Second only to the Infantry, Read more
At the behest of the Chief of Naval Operations, the US Navy Chaplaincy has begun a summer campaign hashtagged “#CharacterMatters.” According to the Chaplaincy’s release on the subject, CNO Adm John Richardson
challenged us to “actively strengthen our shipmates’ integrity,” so that the entire Navy team, as an institution, behaves in a way that is “consistent with the values that we profess.”
It’s a fascinating opportunity — and one that could be easily missed. For example, it Read more
As previously announced, on May 23rd Chaplain (LtCol) Khallid Shabazz took over as the Division Chaplain for the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis McChord:
Shabazz…became the Army’s first Islamic chaplain at the division level at a Change of Stole ceremony…officiated by Maj. Gen. Thomas James Jr., 7th Infantry Division commanding general.
The “changing of the stole” appears to be strictly a US Army chaplaincy tradition, as Read more
As reported by the Navy, aptly named US Navy CAPT Steve Moses took over the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center at the end of March. (Last year, it was CAPT Moses who said requiring US Sailors and their families to mirror Islamic customs during Ramadan “support[s] religious freedom.”)
The Navy Chief of Chaplains, Chaplain (RAdm) Margaret Kibben, was the guest speaker, and she had the notable quote for the day [emphasis added]:
She challenged Capt. Moses to, “Wear the mantle, and do so with authority, with the responsibility that has been granted to you by the One who is the author of all these things.”
Had Chaplain Kibben been a white male Southern Baptist (as Read more
In a fairly bluntly worded official Air Force article, SSgt Shelton Sherrill provided a decent explanation for the sometimes misunderstood role of a military chaplain:
According to the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. For military members, chaplains are one of main advocates to help them protect this right.
Chaplains…provide religious accommodations to ensure everyone is free to exercise their beliefs, provide ethical advice to leadership, unit visitations and confidential counseling.
Edit: Actually, commanders are the ones who provide religious accommodations, not chaplains, as chaplains have no authority to authorize anything. (Chaplains famously have “rank without command.”) However, Read more
The Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing in New Jersey recently published an article announcing it had commissioned 1Lt Anita Morris as its new chaplain. Interestingly, the relatively short piece on the new unit’s religious representative managed to say nothing about religion; in fact, discounting the word “chaplain,” the only word remotely related to the chaplain’s field was one occurrence of “spiritual.” Otherwise:
History was made [when] Morris became the first African-American female to serve as chaplain in the history of the 177th Fighter Wing.
“It was met with great humility and gratitude to know I am the first,” Morris said.
The article was happy to communicate Lt Morris’ race and gender, but Read more
US Army Chaplain (LtCol) Khallid Shabazz has been all over the news the past few days in response to the recent revelation he — a Muslim chaplain — was being installed as the chaplain for the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Given the social reaction to Islam in America, to an outsider it may sound a bit dramatic for a Muslim to become the “spiritual leader for more than 14,000 mostly Christian soldiers,” as he has been portrayed in the press, but it’s not quite the fuss it’s being made out to be.
For one thing, Shabazz is no more a “spiritual leader” (a term the media is using, not Shabazz or Read more