A Christian Calls Out the Anti-Gay Chaplains November 8, 2010

A Christian Calls Out the Anti-Gay Chaplains

***Update***: Links have been fixed!

Josh Moon of the Montgomery Advertiser — a self-described Christian — has some beautifully harsh words for Christian chaplains who are calling to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” intact so they won’t have to counsel gay soldiers:

Jesus Christ seemed to be a big proponent of treating others the way you would want to be treated… on more than one occasion, he encouraged all of us to do the same. You would think that accepting mindset would be especially important for a group of chaplains.

Turns out, not so much.

At least, not when there’s a chance they might get some of the gay on them.

The chaplains’ primary concern is that counseling against a homosexual lifestyle in an “open” military could lead to chaplains being disciplined under the military’s nondiscrimination policy.

It’s an argument that sounds good … if you give it absolutely no thought.

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight. A Christian chaplain can find it within to respectfully counsel a Muslim soldier or a Wiccan, but he won’t be able to avoid offending the gay soldier?

Please, spare me the nonsense.

… what I can tell you is that from reading the red parts of the Bible, I know it’s not anyone’s place to judge another. If someone asks for advice, you give it. If you see a spot where you can help, you try.

But you don’t judge. And you never turn your back on anyone.

Why is it that it’s often those most closely connected to the church — the ones who have the resources and standing to do the most good — who struggle the most with those two concepts?

The answer is simple if you think about how many Christians place “Biblical truth” over common sense.

When DADT gets repealed, I hope those chaplains get disciplined if they refuse to provide helpful counseling to all members of the armed forces. What would they do in response? Quit? Good riddance.

If the decision has to be made between government-paid bigoted chaplains and openly gay soldiers, I know who I would keep.

Kudos to the good chaplains already out there — the ones who provide help to everybody, regardless of religion or sexual orientation.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

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  • frank

    I don’t understand why anyone would want to be counseled by a chaplain of some other faith. What on earth could a chaplain of a different faith have to say to someone that would be of any value? And why would anyone want to require a chaplain to counsel a soldier of a different faith? Wouldn’t that violate the chaplains rights? A chaplain is not a mental health professional, he or she is a leader in a specific religion, and has no particular theological authority to soldiers who are not member of that religion.

  • @frank – there are numerous complaints that the chaplains have been abusing the position as it is – counseling soldiers of different faiths, they’ve actually been known to advise that the soldier convert to evangelical christianity as a *cure for post-traumatic stress disorder*. There’ve also been complaints of chaplains exhorting mentally battle-fatigued soldiers with the need to, and I quote, “kill more Muslims for Christ”.

    They don’t see it as a burden when they’re given other faiths’ adherents to counsel, they see it as an opportunity. Filth.

  • Steve

    When you are in a deployed location, a ship or a small base, there is usually no one else around. That one chaplain is often all there is. So military chaplains are required to provide assistance to anyone, regardless of their religion.

    And practically speaking, chaplains often taken on the role of mental health counselors. There is somewhat of a stigma attached to visiting psychologists. That’s not the case with chaplains. Shouldn’t be that way and the military tries to correct it, but it’s true.

    If a good number of fundamentalist Baptist chaplains left the military that would be a great thing. They have all but taken over the chaplain corps. But of course that will never happen. They won’t give up the unique opportunity to have an endless audience of possible converts that can be ordered to listen to them.

  • lee spaner

    I remember being on uss jfk aircraft carrier. I was one of 5 jews and the chaplin was catholic. he really wanted to help with our holidays.
    I found it to be the most offensive thing in the navy I have ever gone thru.
    I became so nuts from it that the chaplin backed down from doing anything for us poor little jews.
    Ugh! how arrogant of another person to offer assistance. i hope he is gone to the great beyond.

  • Rich Wilson

    A Chaplain of another (or any) faith might be better than nothing if for no reason other than confidentiality.

    Hm, wait, under DADT, were you allowed to tell the Chaplain that you were gay? And if so, were they permitted to share that?

  • Steve

    Hm, wait, under DADT, were you allowed to tell the Chaplain that you were gay?

    Until a few months ago, no. There was no confidentiality with chaplains and medical professionals.

    Some of them kept the secret and provided help. Some didn’t. Depends on the person.

  • Drew M.

    The link doesn’t work for me and while trying to locate the story, I learned that the columnist’s name is Josh, not John.

    Anyhow, if anyone else is having link problems, here ya go.

  • Catinthewall

    I personally find it quite irritating that people who are essentially trained to instill a specific form of brainwashing, are being given the opportunity this brainwashing on government money, when this position clearly needs to be held by people who are councilors and psychologists or psychiatrists.

  • Silent Service

    I believe that there was confidentiality for medical, but only if the discovery of your orientation came about from a medical issue. It was a bit tricky, but I believe a few guys had to be allowed to stay because there was no credible evidence outside medical records that were not admissible in a review.

    Of course, having been outed, the command harassment would start in an effort to drive the gays out. A lose/lose situation every time.

  • Why is the government employing chaplains in the first place, let alone chaplains who favor discrimination? It annoys me to no end when religious leaders claim they’re being discriminated against if everyone around them is not obligated to discriminate against the same people they hate.

    “If the decision has to be made between government-paid bigoted chaplains and openly gay soldiers, I know who I would keep.”


    @Drew: Thanks for the link.

  • JD

    First, the Chaplains criticized in the referenced piece made a point of saying no Chaplain said they didn’t want to counsel a homosexual; quite the contrary. They simply wanted to be able to counsel them within the dictates of their faith, as they can with troops of other faiths.

    Second, there isn’t a direct comparison between different faiths and homosexuality, as I discussed here.

    Right now a Jewish Chaplain can tell a non-Jewish Soldier he believes the Soldier’s faith is wrong. The concern is that Chaplain’s won’t be able to tell a homosexual the same thing without generating an equal opportunity or discrimination complaint.

  • Then perhaps the issue is that chaplains are allowed to tell soldiers of other faiths that their beliefs are wrong in the first place?

    It’s a really tough position, IMO. On the one hand, a chaplain has a right to his own religious beliefs. On the other hand, the logistical necessity of only having one chaplain on hand in certain situations automatically becomes government promotion of said chaplain’s faith.

  • Wasn’t the original writing (before translation) … “a man should not lay with another man (under the age of 13) like he lays with a woman” … to combat pedophilia which was rampant at the time of the translations?

  • My understanding is the original law was written to differentiate themselves from other cultures, in which temple prostitutes would be men masquerading as women for the purpose of various “pagan” rituals. Not entirely positive on that, though, so somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Ben Finney

    When DADT gets repealed

    Do the results of US elections in November 2010 really leave you with confidence that the DADT policy will be meaningfully repealed?

  • If, I, as an atheist chaplain, am required to provide services for both non-religious and religious students at Harvard (which I am), then religious chaplains need to have the decency to provide services for gay and atheist soldiers. It is just common sense.

  • Nash

    I’m always amazed when I read about DADT. What do the American forces do when they are fighting together with Allies, say Germans? What happens if a German soldier tells his American buddy in Afghanistan that he is homosexual? Does anybody seriously believe that this somehow is harmful? Does anybody seriously believe that the German (I use this example as I served in the German army and know that discrimation against homosexuals is strongly forbidden) army is somewhat less efficient / capable because there everybody is allowed to talk about his/her sexual identity? I am pretty sure that on an individual, regular-soldier level all this DADT talk is an non-issue.

  • practically speaking, chaplains often taken on the role of mental health counselors.

    Then do away with the chaplains which my tax money shouldn’t be paying for anyway and replace them with mental health counselors. As for the stigma, man up and deal or deal with your problems alone. Preferrably, man up (what the hell you doing being a soldier if you aren’t even capable of being a grown up, anyway) since untended to problems tend to grow into nasty bigger problems.

    As for arguing that religious freedom means we need to provide chaplains for the military so soldiers overseas or navy on boats have access, I think it’s been pointed out by the article and the comments above that this is failing to be done. Also, let volunteer chaplains go, not paid. Your brand of imaginary friend doesn’t have any willing volunteers, too bad. It’s not the US government’s job to entice them to with a paycheck thereby endorsing/supporting that brand of religion.

    And, the same thing goes for prisions. Volunteer only. Let the prisioners write to/call a church of their choice begging for a visit for spiritual guidance and consolation but, nope, no state-hired chaplains.

    Speaking of which, Gov. Paterson is planning to lay them all off. First move of his I agree with. Why is the State of New York paying chaplains and thereby supporting religion in the first place? Unfortunately, he’s doing it for the wrong reasons. Because he wants to get away with laying off thousands of state workers. Tell you what, heck with lay off. Fire all the damned chaplains and cut off all funding you legally can to religion. Which should be all but, sigh, courts have ordered some of it like bussing kids to Catholic schools.

    Cuomo’s supporting him as the attorney general so he’s probably going to go through with the lay-offs in January. (Paterson can’t really lay-off because he signed an agreement with the unions for concesions in new employees’ retirement benefits in exchange for not doing any. Now he realizes he made a bad deal and is trying to undo it. Well, not totally bad. It will save New York state billions down the road but not enough in the short term.)

  • Steve

    Well, there is good news depending on your POV. The Air Force is cutting 63 chaplains next year:

  • Michael

    Is it bad that the priest I have the most respect for – was a fictional character from M.A.S.H?

  • Chaplain

    I am under no obligation to report a person’s sexuality or anything else they disclose to me. Further, it is not my role to convice somebody to change their religious views. I am tasked by Title 10, USC to provide, or perform religious support for all soldiers regardless of their religious beliefs. P.S. I am a Conservative Baptist.

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