Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News


House Rejects Amendment on Chaplains’ Prayers

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON (RNS) The House on Thursday (May 27) rejected a proposed amendment that would have allowed military chaplains to close public events with faith-specific prayers.
The amendment, offered by Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to the Military Construction Authorization Act, was deemed not relevant to the bill, Bachmann’s office said.
The amendment would have specified that “a chaplain shall have the prerogative to close the prayer according to the dictates of the chaplain’s own conscience.”
Bachmann’s proposed amendment comes after church-state separationists have tussled with military chaplains over the appropriateness of praying “in Jesus’ name.” Secularists say it’s insulting to nonbelievers; Christian clergy say they know no other way to pray.
The dispute has most recently played out in Virginia, where Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell repealed a ban on Virginia State Police chaplains praying in Jesus’ name.
Former military chaplain Rabbi Israel Drazin said the chaplains’
role is different than a civilian clergy like a rabbi or priest. “They are addressing everybody. They are there for everybody,” he said. “They should not give a prayer that addresses a particular group.”
The Washington-based Secular Coalition for America had rallied against Bachmann’s bill, saying it would harm minority rights.
“Closing a prayer in a sectarian manner, or in the name of Jesus, would exclude members of the military,” said Paul Fidalgo, a spokesman for the group.
By Ankita Rao
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



  • pagansister

    Good for the House. The military chaplins most certainly are addressing men and women of all faiths or none at all, thus shouldn’t be addressing a particular faith in a prayer. Sorry “tea party” dude. Lost this one.
    Christian chaplins say they know of no other way to pray except by saying “in Jesus name”? That is pathetic. Guess they’d better learn or not be in the military as a chaplin.

  • Your Name

    Why does Ms Bachman keep on insisting on special rights for her faith?

  • Gwyddion9

    I agree with the decision. A chaplin is there for everyone and everyone of differing beliefs or no belief. Personally, If they wanted to end a pray in their own particular way, do so in private. I don’t see it as being that hard. Also, being a Chaplin is and shouldn’t be an in to proselytize anyone in the military.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Michelle Bachmann says what she says for one reason: She knows how to pander to her base.

  • nnmns

    If some clergy can’t do the job just get clergy who can. And that should be part of their job descriptions.

  • cknuck

    It would be such a shame if clergy become a job description only.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Why is it a shame if “clergy” is recognized as a job requiring certain qualifications? Are they supposed to be somehow closer and tighter with God than the rest of us?

  • Henrietta22

    First of all you would not expect anything other than what Bachmann wanted from Bachmann. It’s right that Chaplains be able to help all manner of people that they encounter with any problem they may have, and with all religions they may have or not have. In order to do that it wouldn’t be wise to say “in Jesus name” to a jewish person, etc. The job description of a Chaplain should have: Be able to administer to everybody you pray for in the most helpful way for that person, not yourself. The VA law that was repealed shouldn’t have been, because the police encounter all kinds of people on their highways in accidents that may not be of their religion. But this was VA, and anything that isn’t conservative is quickly squashed.

  • cknuck

    H22 that’s just way too territorial and warlike, it’s blessings and I will and have received blessing in the name of just about every religious representation, in the name of Allah, just about every representation of every God I receive the blessing of their person representing Him with love and honor, anything else is just silly.

  • Christopher Mohr

    As a Buddhist chaplain candidate, I can see both sides. I have no problem with people praying in the tradition that is most familiar to them as it will be more heartfelt and meaningful, but at the same time, Drazin is right that in mixed company, a non-sectarian prayer is required. The amendment was frivolous, and there are legitimate channels for such things to go through.

  • cknuck

    CM I would welcome your blessing both publicly and privately it’s such things that draw and nurture offensive lines when we hide the fact that it is possible to respect cultures and religions. Keeping the youth in denial only continues to cultivate separation and contempt for differences. If we didn’t make such a big deal of it then the next generation truly could have freedom of religion. Hiding is bad and it sends a message that such a thing is bad, when we perpetuate that different is bad then we lose.

  • Henrietta22

    Different is wonderful to me, but to someone possibly dying on the highway, or on a battlefield it may not be so great Ck. Stretch the mind a little. All in life is different to different people, that is what a Chaplin either will address or if he can’t, then find a church he can be consistant with with his beliefs, and never vary in any way, just like you.

  • nnmns

    It seems to me being “led” in prayer implies some agreement or at least acquiescence in what’s being said. If people truly believe in their religion or non-religion a lot of them don’t believe the Jesus myth and might well not acquiesce in such a prayer. Also, cknuck, think how you’d feel if you were regularly led in a prayer to, say, Allah. Or Thor. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Seriously.

  • JohnQ

    It is certainly possible for a Christian Chaplain to fulfill his/her duties without ever mentioning our Lord. One can be empathetic, understanding and accepting, consoling, and provide guidance without once evoking the name of our Lord.
    If some ministers can not do that….then, as has already been stated they should find positions that they are capable of fulfilling the responsibilities. I have nothing against Seven Day Adventist…but, they should not apply to be bartenders/cocktail servers.
    As far as Ms. Bachmann……..I too think she is pandering to her base when she attempts to obtain special rights for fundamentalist Christians.

  • Confessoressa

    I work for a large company of 10k+ employees and we are often led in prayer and, you are right, nnmns, it is apparently assumed that we are all in agreement with the prayer and should bow our heads.
    I feel disrespected every time and I don’t like thinking of others having to deal with the same thing.

  • Confessoressa

    And a lack of imagination is one of the biggest problems with these Christian chaplains that just can’t think of anything else to say except, “in Jesus’ name.”
    In my opinion, having a lack of respect for another’s belief is totally un-American.

  • nnmns

    Confessoressa I’m sorry your company leaders waste your time in that unpleasant way.

  • cknuck

    JohnQ quote, “It is certainly possible for a Christian Chaplain to fulfill his/her duties without ever mentioning our Lord.”
    What Lord is that JQ? Certainly not Jesus Christ because that is misinformation and nowhere in scripture is that misinformation confirmed. Lord Jesus is not generic and He did clearly say if you are ashamed of Me…
    Seems like you can do a lot of things JQ “without invoking the name of our LORD.”

  • cknuck

    confess you obviously have skills, get another job.

  • pagansister

    cknuck, why should Confessoressa get another job? She deals with the prayer thing in her own way. Standing or sitting quietly, without bowing one’s head is an excellent way to deal with something a person is not in agreement with. It is by no means disrespectful.

  • cknuck

    pagan if I did not like my job then I would simply get another one or start my own business.

  • pagansister

    cknuck, she didn’t say that she disliked her job, just that there was a lot of praying that goes on. Besides in this market, who wants to be looking for another job?

  • nnmns

    cknuck: “I did not like my job then I would simply get another one or start my own business”
    ps is right about confessa. But I’m really glad to see you won’t be supporting any pharmacists who have religious objections to dispensing birth control or chaplains who complain about having to make up prayers that won’t offend whole religions.

  • cknuck

    nnmns are you wearing a concom on your head right now?

  • cknuck

    condom

  • nnmns

    cknuck’s first rule of debate: When unable to answer logically, write nonsense.
    I’m out of here cknuck. Happy Memorial Day.

  • Barry

    Perhaps we need to see why Chaplains were with the military in its origin. Starting with the Revolutionary war, the men of the church went out as a group, many times the church Pastor would go with them, to ‘Pastor’ them as they fought for the cause. The Chaplin continued the church in the battlefield conducting Worship service just as he had at home. This practice continued on through the Civil war, until the Chaplains Corp was officially formed. In kind this practice continues on yet today. . The key difference is Chaplains are Ordained in their local Church were he/she is a member, they attend their Church dominations seminary and complete the requirements to be a Military Chaplain. The instruction I received from 4 different Chaplains** was this; there are 2 types of Chaplains,1 type is an individual who attends a university or collage of his choice, completing Religion and Church course work, he may even have Sociology and Psychology course work as well for a Bachelors and/or Masters degree.. He also meets all requirements to be commissioned as a staff officer just as any other person seeking a officers commission. His back ground and education earns him an assignment to the Chaplains office as a Chaplain. This Chaplain must follow all legal orders given to him. He can’t refuse an order because of a denomination conflict.
    The 2nd type of Chaplain is one that meets his dominations requirements to be Ordained, and a Military Chaplain. My last info was from a Southern Baptist Chaplain who told me a Southern Baptist had to have all his course work completed, be Ordained and have 2 years as a church pastor before he can be a Chaplain. This Chaplain acts as a voice of his denomination (which ever denomination it is). If his denomination (Church) declares WICA as an abomination and anti-Christ, their Clergy and members must never give aid to them, but do what they can to destroy them, this is the position the Chaplain must take as well because he is an ordained to carry out the tenets of his denomination. However some may chose not to be the same voice of their Church, ethically they should resign. Most denominations will have their Chaplains removed (any and all who don’t follow their denominations tenets.) from their membership and revoke their ordination. The affect this will have on that denominations Chaplin unfolds like this; The Chaplin is ordered to assist in the WICA service, if his denomination declares WICA as a false religion, and worship of Satan and forbids it members and Clergy not to aid or associate with them. The Denomination Chaplain can refuse declaring his Denomination position and he is suppose to be able to walk away and have no consequences for his actions. This Chaplain doesn’t have to obey a congressional order not to close with in ‘Jesus Name’. Do realize Denominational Chaplains are as diverse as the number of Denominations declaring they are the true Church. Each Denomination Chaplain is supposed to conduct his Chapel service as he would if he was home in his own church. This is why a Four Square Gospel Chaplain will allow charismatic behavior during his chapel service. The Baptist Chaplin representing the Southwide Baptist Fellowship will not expect or encourage some or all of the ‘Charismatic’ type behavior in his Chapel service. Denomination Chaplains are expected, some required to teach what their *denomination believes, what is their understanding of the Bible .What is their denominations understanding of the doctrine of Salvation, Baptism and Church Membership is. If someone hears this and decides to believe and accept the teaching it is his choice from his own free will, even if he leaves a group he had been involved in. This is not proselytizing; proselytizing comes from strong arm tactics, physiological coercion. When the true gospel is shared, not strong armed, God does the directing. This bill isn’t really needed because denomination Chaplains do what their denomination mandates. Had this Bill passed it would have given strength to denomination Chaplains, allowing them to continue with stronger boldness and confidence. I don’t understand why Congress is fussing with this they have a Chaplain who opens their secession with prayer. Realize the Jewish and Islamic Chaplains teach what their Faith tells them to teach. I can’t remember when someone complained, or if someone demand that they change their method or sermons because somebody didn’t like what they said or stood for, why?
    Other information I was given: Each denomination is allotted 1 Chaplain For every 10k military personnel. Infor gained from several sources were you declare your denomination. All Chaplains go though Chaplain School to learn about Military policy regarding interfaith worship service, and other key elements of being a Chaplain.
    ** Other sources:Chaplains I met along the way; Army Major,11ACR.LtCom, USAF, LT USN, LtCom USN / USCG]

  • interpreter

    What was the House thinking?
    When the US quits being a Christian nation, God will quit letting us rule the earth.

  • pagansister

    What interpreter…No horsemen?

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    intepreter,
    Each time you post something that I think could not possibly be topped by anything still daffier, you prove me wrong. It is dizzying to try to imagine what your next posting will be, because once again I am convinced that what you have just posted is the ultimate in daffiness–and yet I know from experience that you WILL top it with something even daffier. Apparently, you are a fount of infinite daffiness.

  • john williams

    you see that is what wrong with the world today
    your father is running it the Devil. when your father
    tells you know then you will have to do what he says
    the Devil rules this world and people do wrong then
    you are doing what there father say do.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    john williams,
    I see that you, after leaving a pile of incoherent droppings on the other board, have now deposited a steaming heap of it here, too.

  • cknuck

    Very bold and accurate jw please continue

Previous Posts

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical churches. [caption id="attachment_12343" align="alignleft" width="48

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian re

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption id="attachment_12246" align="alignleft" width="480"] Ant

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
What’s wrong with church today? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended? Of forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel? I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who d

posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.