January 08, 2006

Navy Surrenders to Chaplain - Allows Prayer in Christ's Name

You hear about "heroic" actions of hunger strikes when the dominant media wants to honor some criminal or socialist using that tactic to attract attention to a problem. So, why has the media ignored the latest success story about a hunger strike conducted by a chaplain? Well, maybe he represents the wrong cause for them...Christianity. Here's a follow-up and success story to an earlier post on political correctness in the military barring prayers "in the name of Christ."

Navy surrenders: Chaplain eating

The Navy chaplain who has gone without food for 18 days in protest of the Navy's policy encouraging "inclusive" prayers at public events says he has received permission to wear his uniform and pray in Jesus' name outside the White House tomorrow and will end his hunger strike by taking communion there.

Lt. Gordon James Klingenschmitt had said he would not eat until President Bush signed an executive order allowing chaplains to pray in public according to their individual faith traditions. Later, he said if the Navy would allow him to wear his uniform in public and pray in Jesus' name he would end his fast. Klingenschmitt told WND this evening he has received a letter from his commanding officer giving him permission to do so.

It's a partial victory in a surprise battle by the military against religious freedom for our soldiers. Now, when will President Bush sign an Executive Order to guarantee this religious tolerance and freedom in the military for all? What's the problem?

Posted by Woody at January 8, 2006 01:30 AM | TrackBack

Bravo for the Chaplin. Now, if he get's a Captain's Mast we can raise bloody heck.

Besides Woody, what the heck are you doing up at 1:30 in the morning?

Posted by GM Roper at January 8, 2006 02:28 AM

Uh, it's almost 4:00 AM here now. I was up reading liberal blogs because they're so boring and I thought that they would put me to sleep. But, I learned that global warming is no longer our biggest problem. Now, it's over-population, which was the biggest problem forty years ago before global cooling became the biggest problem before global warming did. I think the biggest problems are liberals talking about problems.

Posted by Woody at January 8, 2006 02:54 AM

I am glad to hear the good news about the Navy Chaplin. I hope that he continues to have victories with his cause and wins many souls to Jesus.

God Bless.

Posted by Brian Parker at January 8, 2006 04:35 PM

I fear the devil will lie in the details, more literally in this case than is usual.

Posted by civil truth at January 8, 2006 04:57 PM

Since the chaplain's supporters advocate "religious tolerance and freedom," they surely know this tagline does include the soldiers' right to be free from religious influence. Executive Orders are reserved for emergencies and blatant restrictions on rights; everyone's interests must be weighed: the soldier's right to practice religion vs his right to be free from religious influence. Perhaps the larger issue is whether religion should be so pervasive in the first place, as it appears to be. Many of these articles give the impression that religious ceremonies and references to god occur on a regular basis, almost as a general part of military life.

For example, chaplains leading open group prayers before meals is not only intrusive, but unnecessary. In that situtation religious tolerance will have taken a hit. On the other hand, if the group prayers and other problem-causing events occur outside of typical miliary events (realizing the difficulty in defining "typical" when refrencing the military, as compared to other workplaces), where participation is optional, then perhaps political correctness has gone overboard - with the caveat that "optional" means that religion enters the military only during downtime or, when downtime simply doesn't exist, in an area specially chosen for religious purposes. Religious references in the military, public schools, and government buildings is not the standard, therefore the option to exercise religious freedom must not be in the form of refraining from over-exposure to the practices of others exercising that freedom.

It's a shame that missing the point has resulted in everyone wasting time by nitpicking at events where religion is normally a nonissue, such as funerals or jewelry. As a government institution, the military does need to tread carefully, especially considering the highly emotional nature of the job. Maybe the best solution really is to minimize the amount of religious references, because the stories in the papers tell more tales of soldiers offended by religion's presence than its supposed oppression. Otherwise this overblown issue that's been deemed a "problem" might never end - should tattoos of crosses be inked over as well? Should a Jew refrain from explaining what it means to be kosher for fear of being chastised (or worse) for supposedly trying to convert? Unfortunately, those on all sides of this ill-defined issue choose the wrong battles and sides are drawn with shaky lines.

Posted by Andrea at January 9, 2006 02:02 AM

Praise Allah, I can now bow to Mecca three times a day without fear of reprisal! This is a great victory for Islam!

Posted by Muslim Army Chaplin at January 9, 2006 11:21 AM

Chaplin, that is precisely the point. EACH Chaplin should be able to pray in the faith that he or she was trained and espouses. The troops who listen, should be willing to be equally allowed to pray with the chaplin of their own faith.

All faiths also allow any Chaplin to administer last rites to any troop that is dying. This is a time honored tradition that I have observed in a life time of growing up in the military and having a brother who was an Army Chaplin.

Posted by GM Roper at January 9, 2006 07:01 PM

Andrea, though encouraged, no soldier is required to attend any services. You are barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by GM Roper at January 9, 2006 07:03 PM

There is an old military saying: With bullets flying overhead and bombs going off nearby, there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.

Posted by GM Roper at January 9, 2006 07:05 PM

Of course they can't be required to attend any services. Surely the prayers and references are conducted, purposely or not, to avoid the notion that they are not required. The point is that any unnecessary reference or group prayer should be set aside.
Atheists are not the only ones who might be offended by references to Christ, such as non-christians, Christians who prefer to keep their spirituality to themselves, not to mention any one, regardless of religious belief, who simply wants to get the job done without religious involvement.

And of course there are atheist in foxholes... any person who claims to have found religion in an emergency wasn't an atheist to begin with... maybe they're just beginning to get vocal now :P http://www.atheistfoxholes.org/

Posted by Andrea at January 11, 2006 03:35 PM

Unlike the general population, men at war tend to be deeply religious and participate in their religious beliefs. Having grown up in the military, I know this to be true. It is not, of course, universal. I noticed also, that you chose to say some non-christians may be offended. Why not say some christians may be offended by say a Muslim Chaplin or perhaps a Jewish Chaplin or even a Baptist by a Catholic Chaplin... The military has a long history, for good reason, of allowing people of all faith's the opportunity to practice or not practice a religious exercise.

I've heard Athesists yell out, when angry, injured, flustered etc. "Oh my God." yet, when the stress is down, they are still athesists.

The Atheist in Foxholes is an interesting site, and of course it is true, my comment was directed at the "stress" of the moment and I have seen the "God" word come out of the mouths of Athesists and Agnostics many many times in periods of high stress. Doesn't mean that they stop "being atheist" it means that in periods of high stress, "most" folk turn to the idea of a higher being.

How come it is the Christian that has to always be the tolerant one. Who really, in the fullness of time, in the scope of things, gives a damn about someone being "offended?"

There is no constitutional ban on being offended. I find someone denegrating my faith offensive. Does that give me a right to ask you or anyone else to "shut up." Of course not. I find the idea of illegal combatants in Gitmo, people who either illegally fought us or our allies (from the stand point of being in a legal military organization) being given Koran's highly offensive. Does that mean they can't have them. No, it doesn't because that is not my judgment to make. Do you EQUALLY decry these people being given Koran's with taxpayer dollars offensive? I would really hope so and I'd like to know about the sites where you espouse that idea.

Posted by gmroper at January 11, 2006 07:12 PM

I'm not really offended, exactly, that Korans are paid for with my tax dollars, it just pisses me off. My tax money shouldn't be supporting any religion. And I don't mind the crucifix above every doorway of my law school, and the humongous 60 foot one in the middle of campus doesn't creep me out as much as I thought it would. I was, however, kind of offended when Congress screamed "under god" while reciting the pledge during that whole fiasco. Mostly I was irritated because it's just not needed! I, for one, definitely care when people are offended, especially with respect to my own actions. Fortunately most people know that I'm not out to get anyone. But if I didn't mean something to be offensive, and despite being careful someone got upset, oh well. Believe me, I know it's a frustrating world.

I wrote that some non-Christians might be offended because the chaplain in question is Christian. Christianity only appears to be under "attack" because recently, religion has been permitted to enter certain public spheres where it normally has never been allowed. So when people oppose that new presence, it's pretty easy for politicians, pundits and so on to cry out that Christians are held to a higher standard. Christians don't have to be any more tolerant than any other group of people. As the religious majority in the country they are certainly not being persecuted, although with all the rhetoric flying around it's as if the numbers are down to half a percent of the American population. Regardless of whether soldiers are are more religious than other groups, those with authority still do not have the right to subtly - even if unintentionally - pressure everyone to join in. Of course someone is offended by every PC move the military makes. My suggestion was simply to cut back on unofficially endorsed religious practices all together. The soldiers who feel pressure to pray in the manner of the majority (or don't want to at all) shouldn't be placed in an uncomfortable position.

Posted by Andrea at January 12, 2006 05:49 PM

Evangelical Chaplains who insist on praying "in the name of Jesus" at public events at which non-Christians are present (unlike at their worship services where members of their respective congregations are believing Christians) fail to follow St. Paul's admonition: "Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God." (I Corinthians 10: 32) This lack of respect for the religious beliefs of Jews and others does not seem to reflect the attitude and example of Jesus whom these chaplains claim to follow.

Posted by Tricia at January 14, 2006 11:43 PM

Tricia, one of the problems with using the bible to "prove a point" is that one can also find a point for the opposite effect, often by the same author. "WATCH THOU IN ALL THINGS, ENDURE AFFLICTIONS, DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST-2 Tim 4:5" also from Paul.


I think the problem is, and will continue to be, that too many of us, for whatever reason, believe that we have a right not to be "offended." I have no problem attending a public event in which an Imam or a Rabbi leads the prayer in their particular style. What gives them the right to have a problem if I pray in the name of Jesus. And the answer is, nothing. But we assume under the rubric of being politically correct the injunction should have been written "go forth and offend no one, whisper my name so that your enemies will not know you are there."

PC is madness. Pure and simple madness. Rational thought run amok.

Posted by GM Roper at January 15, 2006 07:49 AM

Andrea, you have made some good points. But I have to ask you. If you feel you have the right to fight for freedom from others religious practice, then why in the world do you think that a religious person should should not fight for their right for freedom of their religious practices? When someone is praying to their higher being of their choice, why say anything about it? Especially when you do not believe. Are your feet chained to the place of where the prayer is occuring? Are your ears bound to the place of prayer? NO! There are a million situations that you can be in where you are going to be offended. In any situation, whether it be in a crowded place with people praying, smokers, drinkers, profanity users or anything you find offensive, simply remove yourself from the situation either body or simply mind.

Posted by Wendy at February 2, 2006 01:21 PM

As I was looking for a prayer site to request prayer for my nephew who is in the Navy in Iraq, I came upon this site.......While reading the negative comments I am very happy that God my Father is not limited by those who do not believe in Him.....He only desires an intimate relationship with us. It is really their loss for not seeking God with all their whole hearts. He is real.....and desires to show Himself strong in the behalf of all those who love and trust in Him. There is so much more to God than we usually hear people exspouse...God tells us that His people perish for lack of knowledge, so if you are struggling, seek God, pray to Him and He will answer......Religion, mens tradition, God is not about those things But.......It is about Intimacy with an all powerful, loving God. He is Just when justice is called for but He also is merciful as the word of God tells us His mercy is new every morning. God is love but lets us choose to whom we serve.....not believing in Him doesn't make Him any less real, And who truely can stop us from praying.....can they read our minds, can they hook us up to a machine to tell them what our thoughts are.....Unity is the last prayer Jesus prayed before going to the Father for us....Let us all who believe in God , who have an intimate relationship with Him , pray blessings on those who do not believe, as God instructs us to....that their eyes would see the Goodness of God, that He would draw them with cords and bands of Love. Our enemy is not those who do not believe but the one who only comes to kill, steal and distroy, satan himself, who God tells us has the unbeliever blinded.
Oh merciful God , our Lord and savior unblind the eyes of those who do not believe, enlighten the eyes of their understanding that they would know you and see the Goodness of You. Bless them to be a blessing, to raise up the name of Jesus
IN Jesus name we pray....Amen

Posted by Trin at March 6, 2006 02:24 PM

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