With the Obama administration’s recent efforts to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the US military, some organizations are beginning to describe the impact that such a policy change could have on US military Chaplains.
As reported by the Catholic News Agency, the Alliance Defense Fund is one such group. The CNA said
Proposed changes allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military could marginalize military chaplains from religions which consider homosexual acts sinful, a religious liberty group has warned.
The ADF specifically said that the ‘affirmation’ of homosexuality in the military Read more
A few weeks ago the Colorado Springs Gazette published a short email excerpt from the designated pagan leader at the USAF Academy, TSgt Brandon Longcrier. In the quote, the Gazette highlighted Longcrier’s fear for his cadets in the face of what he described as a “hate crime” (the crossed shoe boards at the pagan circle).
Not much later, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, to whom the letter was addressed, published a series of letters it had received on the subject. The authors’ names were redacted, but in one the author clearly identified himself as the person who found the cross at the pagan site and took “the picture,” which is known to be Longcrier. In addition, it includes the quotes from the Gazette article attributed to him.
Longcrier’s message reiterates the “hate crime” and criticizes the Air Force Academy for its response. More interesting, however, is his attitude toward the cadets — particularly those of the Christian Read more
The Supervisor of Flying, a pilot stationed in the control tower to oversee flight operations on the airfield, received a call from local emergency responders relaying reports of a loud boom and possible fireball. A roll call of all airborne aircraft revealed one aircraft missing. Officers around the base opened their Mishap Response Checklists. An aircraft was down.
The controllers stopped all further launches and began the task of recovering other aircraft that were airborne; the assets of the base as well as the local community were now focused on the rescue and recovery of the downed aircraft and crew. An air traffic controller guided an experienced pilot to the last known location of the aircraft, and the crash location was fixed. Helicopters flown by local law enforcement and the US Marines were dispatched to the crash site. Simultaneously, officers throughout the base began the procedures of securing all equipment associated with the flight–from the maintenance records of the aircraft to the pilot’s gradebook and records. Ultimately, a commander would don his service dress uniform and request the accompaniment of a Chaplain.
Regrettably, the fighter pilot career field is a dangerous one. In this case, Read more
US Army Chaplain (Capt) Richard Hill is among a small group of Chaplains serving the needs of hundreds of troops at his base in Iraq. The impact his service has had on the spiritual well-being of troops in Iraq has been visible:
“It has been very rewarding to see the lives of the military touched by God,” he says, especially since they are under no compulsion to attend church or avail themselves of the services of a chaplain…
“We even had some Marines join the choir just because they liked to sing. As a result, they gave their lives to Christ Read more
The US Army Transport Dorchester was sunk 67 years ago on 3 February 1943. It was one of three ships in a convoy taking American troops across the Atlantic, and would become famous not because it was targeted by German submarines, as many ships were; nor did it become famous for the loss of life, as other events eclipsed the dead and wounded.
The USAT Dorchester became famous for the Four Chaplains.
Four Army chaplains were on board, along with nearly 900 other men: Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister. They became beacons Read more
Chaplain (Maj.) Sid A. Taylor is a Baptist Pastor and US Army Chaplain, currently deployed to Iraq. He oversees the “spiritual needs of more than 4,000 Soldiers:”
While not everyone here has the time nor the desire to attend the service of his or her choice, within FOBs Marez and Diamonback [sic], there are six protestant services, five masses, one Latter-Day Saints service, an Islamic Prayer Room and a Jewish meeting held each week.
Chaplain Taylor has an admirable perspective on the concept of the total person in the military, something the US Army is trying to recapture in its Comprehensive Soldier Fitness programs:
One of the biggest tasks before a chaplain is “Ensuring the spiritual and human dimensions of what we do are not lost.”
“The Army understands the importance of values, morals and integrity in everything we do. Soldiers have emotions and Families. They also have a soul that needs to be sustained in order to do what they do.”
Some might say, for example, that the scandal at Abu Ghraib Read more
Not unlike their Yankee counterparts, the British military is reporting difficulty in recruiting military Chaplains, despite an ever increasing demand due to the ongoing conflicts.
The Rev Stephen Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan and described his support of the troops:
“I let the soldiers know I was there, sometimes they would seek me out. We talked about everything ‑ pastoral, financial, personal, relationship, grief and bereavement issues. I would talk to anyone, whether they were Christian or not.”
He said the majority of those he met were open to faith and spirituality. “Often they ask us to pray for them. They say it can’t do any harm. When they go out they don’t know if they will come back. When their friends go out, they don’t know if they’ll come back.”
The challenges of supporting the religious freedoms of military members–as well as the honorable drive to support those freedoms–are not limited to the American military.
Being a Christian in the military can bring some interesting challenges when making offerings and donations to the Lord’s work. The Combined Federal Campaign, for example, has both its positives and negatives; in addition, there is simply the challenge of finding a consistent church to attend and support among a variety of moves and temporary assignments.
An additional consideration occurs when Christians in the military attend a military chapel. While most Christian denominations support the concept of contributing financially to one’s home church, the financial situation of a military chapel is somewhat different. Unlike a private church that depends on the funds of its members, a congregation will not be evicted from a military chapel for reasons of rent or mortgage, nor will the Chaplain be let go (or move on) because of issues with pay.
Some military Christians still support the chapel financially with Read more