Update: In an interesting take, Patrick Hornbeck, a department chair of theology at Fordham University and an open homosexual, admitted that Chaplain Squires was “mistreated,” but attributed it to the natural consequences of “bureacracy” and a “well-meaning if somewhat confused investigator.”
The world waited with bated breath for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — self-declared savior of military religious freedom — to speak on the case of Chaplain (Maj) Scott Squires. Chaplain Squires had been investigated and recommended for reprimand after he re-scheduled a Strong Bonds event just so a homosexual could attend, hosted by a different chaplain whose endorsing agency apparently is not morally opposed to homosexual “marriage.” Given the affront to his faith, and his efforts to accommodate the homosexual couple in an a different affirming event, naturally a defender of religious freedom would rally to Chaplain Squires’ side.
Noting that Chaplain Squires was following his endorsing agency’s guidance, as both the agency and the US Army requires, this was Weinstein’s response:
Our argument is [Defense Secretary Jim Mattis] ought to disqualify that particular entity as a chaplain endorsing agency.
Weinstein Read more
As repeal of the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” was occurring “uneventfully,” critics of repeal repeatedly noted that the other shoe had yet to drop on certain points of controversy.
For example, how would the military handle the potential of homosexuals wanting to attend marriage seminars or retreats — when the chaplains who lead them may not affirm a homosexual lifestyle, and the troops who attend them may theologically disagree with homosexuality?
It would seem the shoe finally dropped — and homosexual advocates have claimed “discrimination.”
For its part, the Air Force appears to have been the first service to publish explicit guidance on how to handle such situations:
When you advertise a [Marriage Care] retreat, announce the chaplain who will be leading the event and the chaplain’s endorser. If the chaplain is permitted to train same-gender couples in a MC event, then you may register all eligible married couples. However, if the chaplain is not permitted to train same-gender couples in a MC event, be prepared to offer…a MC event at another base or at a later date to a same-gender married couple.
If a same-gender married couple will be attending a MC event, make this known to the other couples as they register. If those couples choose not to register for this event, be prepared to offer them…a MC event at another base or at a later date.
As was discussed at the time, the Air Force has recognized Read more
A variety of news sources noted that the decision to furlough government civilians in the Department of Defense has meant some chaplains couldn’t go to work either — and thus US military chapel services will not be held:
With the government shutdown, [“General Schedule”] and contract priests who are furloughed are not allowed to work, not even to volunteer, according to John Schlageter, general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base, and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so,” he said.
This is generally true for all people in equivalent government positions, not just chaplains. Interestingly, a Catholic spokesman noted that there are actually more civilian/contract Catholic chaplains in the US military than active duty ones: Read more
US Army Chaplain (Col) Dennis Newton is chronicled in an Army article that covers his tour of duty at Fort Irwin, where he reinvigorated the local Christian community:
Chaplain Newton said the decision was made to change the 11 a.m. service to a contemporary praise service, known as ChapelNext. But in order to accommodate those who have different flavors of Protestant services, the gospel service was made healthy and a traditional hymn service was established.
“We jumped from 70 people in attendance to…190 in the first week,” he noted…
Overall, the average number of people attending religious services on any given Sunday at Fort Irwin now nears 1,000, he said.
Christian Soldiers weren’t the only ones who benefited from the Chaplain’s Read more