Chaplain Doth Protest Too Much
The latest fallout from the Air Force Academy "religious persecution" affair is playing out now in D.C. A group calling itself the "American Center for Law and Justice" has collected signatures for a petition calling for President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military Chaplains to "pray according to their individual faith traditions".
That all sounds well and good, but what this group is really fighting for is to prevent Chaplains who pray in the name of Jesus in public forums (i.e. outside of chapel services) from being counseled by their superiors. I really can't support them on this one, and I wonder if this group, founded by "Dr. Pat Robertson" -- yes, that one -- would be happy to have a Muslim Chaplain give an Islam-centric prayer at a ship's commissioning (my guess: no). Despite what this article implies, there are no restrictions against Chaplains praying according to their faith's traditions in regularly scheduled chapel times; it's just bad form for them to do so in public forums where not everyone might be a member of their religion. At every such ceremony I've been at, the Chaplain has prayed to or in the name of "Almighty God" or something similar -- probably doesn't make the Wiccans happy, but the Abrahamic religions all get represented that way.
Here's where it goes overboard. Seems there's an active duty Navy Chaplain, LT Gordon Klingenschmitt, who's currently holding a hunger strike outside the White House. Talk about tacky! I guess as long as he's not in uniform, he's probably not breaking the letter of any laws, but it's still not something someone who wants to advance in the Chaplain Corps would do. He seems to have a lot of complaints, and lots of stories about how great he is, and how he's been picked on by everyone, as mentioned in this article. He's also apparently flat-out lying on TV shows. He's claiming that his contract isn't getting renewed, and he'll be out of the Navy at the end of the year.