Chaplains and Gays in the Military

A group of retired military chaplains has written a letter to the president claiming the freedom of religion of military chaplains would be threatened if the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were to be revoked.

I don’t think the situation is as dire as they make it out to be. Not yet. US law and Army regulation protect the freedom of religion of chaplains. Chaplains are free to act and speak in accordance with our faith. No one is threatening to change these protections. Now, in reality, some chaplains do find themselves pressured by commanders (and by supervisory chaplains). Chaplains must have the courage of their convictions, and must sometimes fight (aided by other chaplains and by their endorsing agency).

If this policy is removed, I don’t think things will change as drastically as these chaplains fear on the matter of homosexuality. Homosexual acts will remain criminal acts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. No one is as yet talking about changing the applicable laws. The military will likely only charge someone under these laws if there are other issues involved.

The chaplains point to the case of a vocal critic of the repeal who was disinvited from a prayer breakfast. But he was disinvited because of his vocal criticism of the president and his political agenda–not because of his religious or moral views. There is a difference.

So, at present, I am not worried. I think these chaplains, men of conviction and experience, raise some important issues and concerns. I hope those to whom they write will listen to the concerns and take them into consideration. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” regardless of what happens.