Though not officially announced, a few websites and organizations have revealed that the Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility (CARE) Advisory Group has recommended that Jason Heap, an atheist, be appointed a US Navy chaplain. (The official silence may be because CARE’s decision was leaked in violation of Navy policy, which dictates the sessions be “closed” with members forbidden from “discussing deliberations or recommendations”.)
Heap had previously sued the Navy over its denial of his application to become a chaplain. The lawsuit was largely dismissed, though some claims proceeded. One site claimed the suit was subsequently “settled” under unpublicized terms.
Navy regulations say the CARE group is primarily composed of senior chaplains and other senior leaders. CARE ensures the “full spectrum” of professional qualifications is considered when someone applies to be a chaplain. The objective, in context, is to prevent people from becoming chaplains just because they meet the bare minimum requirements.
CARE’s role is to validate Read more
A fairly benign article on the chapel community at the small Schriever AFB, CO, listed some of the events held throughout the year. The chaplains went out of their way to say the events they host are not coercively religious:
“Our events are not religion-based,” Werner said. “During retreats, we hold educational classes teaching how to deal with life issues. You’re not going to be proselytized.”
Chaplain (Capt) Portmann Werner probably could have used a little more nuance in that statement, since some of the events the article referenced included Ash Wednesday and Christmas Eve services, which clearly are “religion-based.” Even marriage workshops hosted by the chapel generally allow for some element of religion, even if they’re not a full-blown religious guideline for marriage.
On one level, it’s Read more
At The Ada News, a local paper from just outside Oklahoma City, Richard Putnam wrote a short piece on “Christians and Violence” entitled “The Veterans’ Chaplain.”
Putnam, who apparently supports the concept of a military and non-pacifistic defense, also says:
How…do we square the business of defending ourselves and our loved ones with Jesus’ explicit command to not engage in violence? The answer is, of course, that we cannot. We cannot obey Jesus’ command to remain nonviolent and engage in battle to protect our families.
The short column is best summed up here [emphasis added]: Read more
After all the stories about “firsts” with regard to female and African-American chaplains, the Georgia Army National Guard had its own first, with a chaplain who was a first in his faith:
[Paul] McCabe became the first Episcopal Chaplain the history of the Georgia Army National Guard.
On one hand, this seems Read more
An interesting article about Navy chaplains noted a recent annual training event whose topic was “A Strategy for the Delivery of Religious Ministry to None, Dones, and Millennials.”
The [course] is designed to provide chaplains and [chaplain assistants] with the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver meaningful religious ministry to millennials who are religious, have no religious preference, or who have disaffiliated from religion.
Some militant atheists have said the only Read more
A local story repeated at the Stars and Stripes covers Willard Keith Staneart, who served as an Army chaplain during Vietnam. Faced with the potential of an overwhelming attack by the Viet Cong, Staneart spoke with his battalion commander:
“He said, ‘Chaplain, every one of these young men are like my own sons. Their parents and their spouses are dependent on my getting them home safely,'” Staneart said. “He says, ‘I’ve failed. They’re all going to die tonight.'”
The commander asked Staneart to go around, pray with and counsel the men.
“I took a Bible, went Read more
The US military has approved the awarding of a Silver Star to Father Aloysius Schmitt, a Catholic chaplain who was aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was struck and capsized during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. More than 400 Sailors perished. Chaplain (LTjg) Schmitt is reported to have helped several men through their only means of escape — a porthole — and when it appeared he might get stuck in the porthole, declined the opportunity to escape himself, allowing others to live.
The Oklahoma was righted in 1943, and Read more
In an interestingly timed piece, the US Air Force highlighted Catholic Chaplain (Capt) Emmanuel Enoh, who hails from Nigeria but was drawn to missionary work — and the US Air Force:
“The patient was suffering from her experiences in the Iraq war,” recalled Enoh. “She just wanted to talk about her experiences, so we spent the whole night talking. I couldn’t relate to her experiences, but by being there and letting her talk, it gave her comfort. That experience drew me to serve as a military chaplain.’”
The article seems to almost painfully go out of its way to qualify the service Chaplain Enoh provides: Read more