Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Yes Sandra, military chaplains must obey the rules

Responding to my post on military chaplains post-DADT, commenter Sandra Brown writes:

First of all you are missing one thing, the clergy takes
an oath before God to uphold God’s message. Religiously speaking this is suppose to be their first commitment. A clergy member is sworn to this or their own salvation is void!  It
has nothing to do with the military only those who take their oaths SERIOUSLY.

In regards to your reference to “render unto
caesar,” in the clergy setting, rendering unto God is first and
foremost!  Stop misquoting the bible. That was
not the intent of the quote by Jesus Christ. Simply it meant to pay taxes, or obey the law, rendering unto
God is to follow God’s guidelines for ministers. Remember, clergy are suppose to be set apart
for God’s work Titus 1:7-16. When
crossed between God and man, the clergy are suppose to choose God!   

But that’s a catch twenty-two situation because the
military will tell them to preach acceptance not repent!

Let me try once more. The government does not
compel clergy to serve in the military, and if a chaplain finds that he
or she cannot square God’s teachings (as he or she understands them)
with the rules of military chaplaincy, then he or she should not serve.
Consider a military chaplain who comes to believe that his oath to God
requires him to preach that war is always wrong. The government is
entitled to prevent him from doing so, and if he finds this intolerable,
he should resign his commission. If there are chaplains who insist that
they cannot serve without publicly attacking some other military
policy, whether that be denouncing other faiths or condemning gays
serving openly, then they should resign their commissions as well.

The military hires chaplains in order to enable other
personnel to have access to religious services. And that certainly
means providing an authentic version of their faith (whatever it happens
to be) to those who seek it. But chaplains do not have the right to
turn the armed services into a mission field, simply because they
personally believe that God has ordered them (for example) to carry out
the Great Commission.

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posted December 25, 2010 at 9:51 am

I love how she tells you to quit misquoting the Bible. Fundamentalists misquote and prooftext the Bible all the time. Much like everyone who is in the military, chaplains have to sacrifice. They are there to serve the needs of men and women who may be asked to give their lives fighting for our freedoms. The chaplains may even be asked to do the same. This is as much God’s work as going around telling people they are wrong because they may not believe a narrow-minded view of God’s Word. If one can’t get over the fact that their way to view Christ is not the only way to view Christ, then one has no business serving as a chaplain.

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posted December 25, 2010 at 10:43 am

As a retired Sgt-Major I know is fond of saying “I didn’t spend 30 years defending your rights to agree with me.”
Nor do military chaplains sign on to serve ONLY those military personnel of their denomination/religion/outlook – but *all* military personnel. The ‘authority’ here is exactly ‘Caesar': the US Constitution.
Here’s a link to an organization which fully understands the mission of the US Chaplain.

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posted December 25, 2010 at 11:48 am

If the military’s obligation is, as Ms. Brown seems to suggest, to accommodate any sincerely held belief of clergy, then we have bigger problems. We would have to allow Westboro Baptist chaplains to tell soldiers they deserve to die. We would also have to allow radical Muslim imams to encourage treason and acts of terror. If their first and only loyalty is to God, or what they believe that to be, anything is fair game.

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posted December 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm

An intelligence test of sorts would be to ask a person whether they agree with Ms. Brown’s claim.

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posted December 26, 2010 at 12:30 am

As a former military chaplain of over 30 years, there are two main “rules” for chaplains:
One, they PROVIDE religious support for anyone who seeks it. If they cannot assist for some reason, they find someone who can. They help troops of any faith to provide for their “free exercise” religious rights. It doesn’t matter what the chaplain believes…h/she will provide for anyone, anytime.
Two, they PERFORM religious ordinances, rites, preaching, teaching, counseling according to their faith-group. So, the Muslin performs religious duties according to his/her religion, the Catholic according to his, the Jew according to his/hers, etc. They must perform in accordance with their faith-group or their endorsement will be taken away.
The “rules” are simply that – the military chaplain serves two masters and does both without compromising either. The First Amendment provides for them both and like it or not, the military wisely allows varied religious belief for the sake of the diverse military it serves. Homosexuals will learn to tolerate those who disagree with them theologically…and chaplains, will, as they always have, PROVIDE religious support to all.

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posted December 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm

It strikes me the toleration problems are more the problems of some chaplains not tolerating homosexuals.

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Grumpy Old Person

posted December 28, 2010 at 10:15 am

“Homosexuals will learn to tolerate those who disagree with them theologically…and chaplains, will, as they always have, PROVIDE religious support to all.”
Sorry, del, but I have to disagree with you. One could just as easily have said: “Chaplains will learn to tolerate those who disagree with them theologically.”
And, chaplains have NOT “always … PROVIDE[D] religious support to all.” Quite the opposite, in fact. Some chaplains tell soldiers they’re going to hell because of the way God made them. That AIN’T “support”.

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Christopher Mohr

posted December 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Grumpy – we DO learn to tolerate those who disagree with us theologically. I am living proof of that. At Ch-BOLC (the chaplain version of Basic Training), I, the lone Buddhist expected my fellows to behave exactly as you have described. I expected a miserable, intolerant, hateful experience that I drudged myself through in order to minister to Soldiers. In reality, it was quite the opposite. They were warm, kind, compassionate, and welcoming (even if we never quite managed to agree on matters of faith). My “battle buddy” was a very conservative Southern Baptist, and about the best human being I have ever met. We didn’t agree on most doctrinal and theological issues, but he not only tolerated me but helped me and encouraged me. At the end, I could not have asked for a more tolerant bunch of people. And in my current unit, it’s the same. My supervising chaplain is Presbyterian, and we get along fine. It’s more of a case of a few loud mouths getting too much oxygen, both in the chaplain corps, and in the homosexual community. And both of those extremes would do themselves a favor if they just shut up.
del is right in this one, although I see it more as a political and less as a theological disagreement.

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Grumpy Old Person

posted December 31, 2010 at 9:28 am

You don’t make it clear whether you are homosexual or not. The ‘tolerance’ you experienced seems to be one of differing theologies (Baptists and Presbyterians ‘tolerating’ your Buddhism), not of any ‘tolerance’ of homosexual persons on the part of right-wing religionists. Care to clarify?

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Grumpy Old Person

posted December 31, 2010 at 10:08 am

Don’t bother. I just read (and responded to) your rant on the ‘Military chaplains, post-DADT’ thread. Your anti-gay bias is perfectly clear there and needs no further explanation. It highlights, underscores and proves the lie in del’s assertion that “chaplains, will, as they always have, PROVIDE religious support to all, since clearly you and your type absolutely will NOT.

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Christopher Mohr

posted December 31, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Grumpy, you are talking nonsense. You don’t have to agree with a person or their actions in order to provide care for them. It’s not a black-and-white, either-or world. I used the example of theology to demonstrate the wider point: chaplains can and do care for all of their soldiers, regardless of whether or not we hold certain theological positions on the social issue of the day. A corollary would be found in chaplains dealing with an abortion in the military. Some chaplains would not approve of the action, but we would still show compassion and concern for the individual Soldier, and her family, and do what we could to provide comfort to them if they came to us. Same thing with a gay Soldier. We may not approve of their action, lifestyle, or orientation, but we still see them as a human being, and therefore worthy of our compassion and care. Unfortunately, that violates the socio-political meme you seem to follow and so you accuse us of bigotry. And that’s the patent falsehood in this discussion.

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Mr. Incrfedible, in the Name of Jesus

posted December 31, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Yes, there’s a difference between the person and what the person says he chose for a behavior. We love the person and got nothin’ ag’in’ him. We’re not required, however, to accept and love the behavior choice of that person.

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Mr. Incredible, in the Name of Jesus Whose Grace is sufficient!

posted January 1, 2011 at 2:30 am


Where, in the Word of God, does God say that He created, in Man, a homosexual spirit? It would have-ta be in Genesis 1. So far, it isn’t. After all, He completed His work, then rested. No sign of homosexuality in all of HIS Creation. Now, Man created himself in his own image, and men and women continue to do so today, choosing to go homosexual. So, it’s THEIR creation. Not His.

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Grumpy Old Person

posted January 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Christopher Mohr,
You claim “compassion” but do not show it. Your words diminish the “care” you give because they are filled with falsehoods and demeaning vituperation (see other thread for the examples I delineated there – hardly “nonsense” but observable behaviors on your part).
That you still beleive gay people have “lifestyles” (which, as you can see, is only interpreted as our sex lives instead of our whole lives and beings) discredits you from the get go.

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al sowins

posted May 5, 2011 at 1:36 am

The Lord said that one cannot serve both God and mammon. When God’s law conflicts with man’s law; Gods’ law must prevail, Acts 5.29.

Our Lord directed us never to swear an oath, but simply to say, “yea”; or, “nay”. So christians may not take oaths of any kind.

Now the military is requiring personnel to tolerate homosexual conduct. The christian is required to condemn all sinful conduct, so no christian can any longer serve in our godless military.

God comes first. Government cannot grant eternal life.

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