The House Armed Services Committee heard testimony from several DoD and civilian sources on Wednesday on the topic of religious accommodation in the US military. Witnesses included Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, Ms. Virginia Penrod, US Army Deputy Chief of Chaplains (BGen) Charles Bailey, US Air Force Deputy Chief of Chaplains (BGen) Bobby Page, and US Navy Chief of Chaplains (RAdm) Mark Tidd. The statements, questions, and answers in the hearing were quite interesting. The hour-long CSPAN-worthy video can be viewed here, with highlights discussed below.
Military.com summarized the session as “Lawmakers Accuse Military of Anti-Christian Bias,” and the Religion News Service noted “Top brass say they’re not aware of bias against military chaplains.” It would seem the public perception of the hearing was somewhat different than what the participants thought.
Retired US Army Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (MajGen) Doug Carver Read more
The Chief of Navy Chaplains, Chaplain (RAdm) Mark L. Tidd, recently visited the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. With regard to the current environment, he made a point of saying chaplains can help in the fight against sexual assault.
Tidd’s training and conversations with Nimitz’ chaplains and leaders included sexual assault prevention and awareness guidance. According to Tidd, a chaplain’s confidential counseling can play a crucial part in the lives of sexual assault victims.
“A chaplain can confidentially help a victim determine how to proceed [and decide] whether to make a restricted report or an unrestricted report that can lead to an opportunity to bring people to justice,” said Tidd.
The article makes a side comment that would likely register with few:
Tidd also conducted the ship’s evening prayer Read more
Head Navy Chaplain (Rear Adm) Mark Tidd has reportedly issued a “one-line” statement suspending his prior decision allowing US Navy Chaplains to perform homosexual marriages in military chapels.
As previously noted, members of Congress had objected to the announcement, saying it was in conflict with the Defense of Marriage Act.
If nothing else, the controversy stands in contrast to those who have had a dismissive attitude toward repeal, claiming it would be a non-event and transparent in its removal. As demonstrated by the concerns raised during training and the sensitivity of this announcement, it very evidently isn’t.
- Camp Pendleton Marines ask the same DADT questions
- Obama said to be aiming for repeal in June
- Navy head of Chaplains says gay marriages permissible in military Chapels
Camp Pendleton Marines recently went through the required DADT training for the upcoming repeal of the policy most often known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Despite some people dismissing the concerns of servicemembers Read more
The Navy Chief of Chaplains, Chaplain (Rear Adm) Mark Tidd, recently visited the USS Carl Vinson and its support vessels. The Navy article recounts some highlights, but also has an interesting quote from the strike group’s command Chaplain:
“On board Vinson, we have about 15 different faith groups represented, and we are committed to this diversity,” said [command Chaplain (Cmdr) Keith Shuley]. “He comes from a Christian background, and Read more