As previously discussed, a civilian author recently criticized a military Chaplain for “expressing contempt” for the Constitution when he made “derogatory remarks about Islam:”
When a uniformed officer of the US military makes derogatory remarks about Islam, he’s violating [his] oath and expressing contempt of the First Amendment.
The comment was made by Jeff Sharlet, posting under the moniker Ishmael, on the Daily Kos website. Sharlet is also the author of The Family, a book that purports to be an expose on a secretive and conspiratorial religious organization (the “Christian Mafia”) attempting to influence the US government.
The comment was in defense of Chris Rodda, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation researcher, when she criticized Camp David Chaplain (LtCdr) Carey Cash for his religious views. Sharlet’s use of the word “derogatory” notwithstanding, is he right? Can a religious leader of one faith in the military say nothing negative about another–even if such statements are consistent with the tenets of their faith?
The core question: Can a Chaplain (or any other military officer) espouse specific, even exclusive, religious ideology?
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more
Tim Tebow has been a frequent subject of this site. He is an outspoken Christian in a public position who has utilized his platform to further the cause of Christ.
He has been used as an example for those who feel they need to get out of the military and become preachers or missionaries in order to serve Christ. Tebow, like R.G. LeTourneau, accurately points out that men and women should serve God where He has placed them, and they should use the talents that He has given them.
His life ministry–that is, his conscious desire to be known as someone who is genuine and cares–has been used as an example of the power of living evangelism, or Truth with Feet.
Now, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, highlights a “new agenda” Read more
As frequently noted, US military Chaplains serve as far more than mere spiritual advisors. They are counselors, marriage consultants, morale officers, and representatives to their command on issues of culture and religion that affect the mission. They’re also sometimes just a voice of reassurance.
A Chaplain currently stationed in Iraq recounts a story of how his faith helped a soldier at Fort Benning, where paratroopers at the Airborne School learn to jump out of airplanes: Read more
Chaplain (Maj.) Bradley West, a US Army Chaplain, was presented with the Gen. Methodej Kuban Medal by Chaplain Mirek Jordanek, Chaplain for the Czech unit stationed at Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan.
The award was named for a Czechoslovakian Catholic chaplain killed in Auschwitz in World War II, who encouraged believers of all denominations to worship together.
As has been noted many times before, there is a shortage of Catholic Chaplains in the Armed Forces. Chaplain West, a Protestant, was fulfilling his duties to see to the spiritual needs of all of his troops when he Read more
The blog of Operation Reveille, which says it is “Helping Service Personnel with Cross-Cultural Ministry,” has some interesting advice regarding how to handle potentially controversial situations in the current combat theatre.
For example: Can I give a Bible when asked? Read more
The integration of Chaplains in US military operations is so seamless that it is actually difficult to read a story about ongoing combat operations without hearing about the role of the military’s spiritual advisors. In a recent piece at the LA Times about the commander’s changing tactics in Afghanistan, the reporter happens to describe a Chaplain riding in an MRAP with soldiers: Read more
The US military has been accused of allowing its members to illegally use its official government email system to distribute messages with religious content (see background here). These actions have been called “unConstitutional” and “a violation of military regulations.”
This e-mail distribution has violated the separation of church and state [and] violates well established [military regulations].
In one specific incident, a base Chaplain asked the staff to forward a Bible study announcement. Did that message violate regulations, or any other policy or standard?
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more
As noted previously, a letter to the editor of the Stars and Stripes touched a nerve, with another contributor scolding a Chaplain about relying on the Bible.
The publication sparked a surprisingly blunt tit-for-tat, demonstrating that feelings about culture and religion present in American society are, indeed, also prevalent in the military.
A Captain stationed in Iraq decried the letter writer’s suggestion that modern Americans should rely on the Bible and its “Bronze Age morality.” Another Read more