Category Archives: Chaplain

Islamic Army Chaplain Shabazz Dons Christian Stole

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

Navy School Changes Command Under Divine Authority

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

Military Chaplains Exist to Protect Religious Rights

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

New Air Force Chaplain: Race, Gender, but No Religion

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

Muslim Chaplain to Oversee 14,000 Troops in US Army Division

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

US Navy Chaplain Brings Islam to Africa

People tend to connect more through their faith than anything else.
– Chaplain Abuhena Saifulislam

US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Abuhena Saifulislam, stationed in Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as the USAFRICOM deputy command chaplain, recently spent a week in Djibouti

with members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Religious and Civil Affairs, they met with the deputy director of Islamic affairs for Djibouti, the Sultan of Tadjoura and representatives of the Red Crescent Society of Djibouti among others.

Besides meeting with local leaders, Saifulislam participated in religious Read more

Navy Chaplain Returns to his Buddhist Roots

An official DoD article recounts the interesting story of Aroon Seeda, a 13-year-old Buddhist monk in training in 1988 who met a group of US Marines — and then decided he wanted to become one.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2008 with the goal of becoming a chaplain. He received his citizenship several months after completing basic training and attained his goal in two years and seven months.

Chaplain Aroon Seeda is the only Buddhist chaplain in the Department of the Navy…

Now-Chaplain Seeda returned to Thailand recently in Read more

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 Read more

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