The Navy Recruit Training Command has reportedly allowed some civilians to return to the base to lead religious services for recruits. Not all of the previously banned leaders were allowed to return as religious leaders because, according to the Navy, uniformed leaders were found instead — which the Navy said met the priority guidance on who was supposed to help lead services:
Following the sudden dismissal of a half-dozen religious leaders last month, commanders at the Great Lakes naval training center began the process Thursday of inviting back civilian volunteers to serve recruits who are Unitarian Universalists, Baha’is, Buddhists and Christian Scientists.
In the meantime, a spokesman said, the Navy Read more
A week ago, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein complained to US Navy CAPT Douglas Pfeifle that he was “essentially spiritually raping” his recruits after civilian chapel volunteers were summarily banned from the base earlier this month. CAPT Pfeifle replied to Weinstein the next day, saying he’d get back to him. A week later, with no response, Weinstein attempted to up the ante by having an actual lawyer write a letter to CAPT Pfeifle, claiming there was a “constitutional question” with the Recruit Training Command’s action [emphasis added]:
There is a constitutional question whether denying similarly situated individuals under your command substantially similar rights to exercise religious freedoms violates the right to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
You don’t even have to crack out your high school American government books to see the error from Weinstein’s presumably high-brow lawyer. The Fifth Amendment contains important protections of citizens’ rights, but it has nothing to do with “equal protection.” That’s the Fourteenth Amendment.
The writer is Mr. Robert Eye of Kauffman-Eye, who Read more
In early April, the Navy commander of Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes — the basic training site for all incoming Sailors — told civilian volunteers they were no longer permitted to conduct religious services for recruits.
On the orders of Capt. Doug Pfeifle, the commanding officer of RTC, civilian volunteers for seven minority religious communities have been asked to stop conducting services.
An RTC official who spoke on background said the volunteers were asked to leave in accordance with Navy guidance, which stipulates that a uniformed chaplain or a religiously accredited military member should conduct the service before the service pursues other avenues.
Viewed optimistically, it appears to be a sincere action poorly executed or communicated. It seems the volunteer system had “gotten away from” the RTC leadership, and they found themselves unable to justify the program under Navy guidelines. It seems the RTC program was suffering from some logistical issues, including a formal way to control who could and could not conduct recruit services.
To be clear, the US military is not Read more
As noted in an official Navy article, Catholic Bishop Robert Coyle, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, recently visited the US Naval Recruit Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois. He was able to meet with the Command’s leadership and celebrate communion with trainees at the Recruit Memorial Chapel. As every trainee of every branch knows, the ability to celebrate one’s faith during the intensity of basic training can provide the support and strength to persevere:
During Catholic services at RTC, recruits volunteer to sing in the choir or serve at the altars. Recruits can also offer prayers, read scripture and take Holy Communion. According to Seaman Recruit Katrina Biggs, taking Read more