Americans United for the Separation of Church and State picked up on the story of the Army Chaplain who wanted to switch from Christianity to Wicca, claiming that the Army’s treatment of him was “so obviously a case of religious discrimination.” As noted in the public comments on the article, there are questions as to why the AU hasn’t made the same appeal about Chaplain Klingenschmitt, who the Navy attempted to discharge when he switched endorsers. The basic circumstances are nearly identical; in fact, Klingenschmitt’s is arguably harder to justify.
Category Archives: Chaplain
A Washington Post article opines about a former Pentecostal Army chaplain who lost his endorsement when his denomination found out he wanted to switch to Wicca. He was attempting to become a Wiccan chaplain, which is heretofore unknown.
The Rutherford Institute, which is representing Navy Chaplain Klingenschmitt, has announced that they have stopped the Navy’s attempt to separate the chaplain prior to the upcoming trial.
According to a copy of the court order, Chaplain Klingenschmitt’s dismissal from the Navy may be delayed pending the outcome of filings.
The Navy Times reports that a judge has refused to prevent the Navy from discharging Chaplain (Lt) Klingenschmitt at the end of January. The Chaplain’s suit against the Navy is still outstanding.
The ACLJ has updated their call for petition signatures (see 01/05 post below) here, framing themselves as the legal opposition to the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
The ACLJ, the Christian counter to the ACLU, is “gearing up to assist in [the] battle…[over] free speech rights of military chaplains,” which it expects will get renewed interest from the newly elected Democratic congressional leadership. The ACLJ’s current emphasis is on a petition drive to obtain a Presidential Executive Order explicitly directing the military to allow its chaplains to pray in accordance with the dictates of their faith.
Congress has passed the 2007 Defense Authorization Act and forwarded it to the President, who signed it on 17 October 2006. Generally only controversial as the battleground for district military pet-projects, the 2007 Act has become the unlikely forum for the continuation of the debate of religion in the military. In response to the recent changes in military policy regarding religion, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee included language in the bill specific to the prayers of chaplains. From H.R. 1522 section 590, Read more