Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

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.

Good riddance.


Blogger Skippy-san said...

I had a chance to talk to an Air Force Chaplain up at Misawa, where they have restrictions on giving invocations and benedictions at military ceremonies. The USAF has taken things too far with a prayer policy.

Then again, my observation of the Chaplian Corps was that it was a lot more political than they would like to admit, and there was a definate bias in favor of some denominations and against others. Sadly there have been some IG investigations that have born that out............

12/22/2005 4:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On my way home yesterday evening, I listened to this chaplain vent on the Sean Hannity radio show. My dealings with the chaplain corp were mainly in referrals of submariners with personal issues. I really never experienced the evening prayers traditional in the surface community until spending some time on various aircraft carriers as a submarine assist team member and NPEB guy. While a nice touch, I could not imagine someone doing that in the middle of the night on a submarine (I did have a CO who would invite a chaplain down prior to underways to say a non-denominational prayer). Anyway, as I understand it, his complaint is that he can not pray in the name of Jesus during public prayer (like the evening prayer aboard skimmers). He needs to GET OVER IT! I do not think anyone is taking away the denominational services from the ships where prayer can be consistent with the faith, nor are public prayers evoking "God's" name (leaving the listener to interpret "God" according to his or her faith) being removed from the public prayer. I have a hard time with "officers" like this who pull stunts and insist on airing grievances in such a public forum as the national media and end up doing nothing more than disparaging the naval service that many of us sacrificed many years of our lives to trying to uphold its honor and integrity. By the way, he said last night during the radio interview that he was not being allowed to "re-enlist." I guess he missed the part of chaplain OCS that explained officer career progression.

I'll quit venting now. If I am wrong on the manner in which ship board public prayers are being conducted, someone please correct me. Thanks for the forum JK.

12/22/2005 10:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard about it on Hannity also. My main thought is this chaplain is in the military and he really doesn't have a choice except to obey orders. If he doesn't like it, he can get out and go be a minister somewhere else.

-former XO wife

12/22/2005 12:24 PM

Blogger Eagle1 said...

I, too, heard this guy on Hannity and found myself wondering what part of chaplain orientation he missed. He seems to feel the military ought to conform to his belief system rather that making any reasonable accomodation to accept others as he finds them. This is very different than the many chaplains who I met when they were riding the underway circuit on the big gray things - even in the surface fleet... Of course, at church call for their particular denomination, they could speak as they saw fit... but in the more public areas, it was generally very generic and non-denominational.

There are some really good and useful chaplains out there and this man does not appear to be cut from the same cloth, so to speak.

12/22/2005 3:37 PM

Anonymous rebootinit said...

As a active service member with over 21 years in? I don't care what the god-doods say in public. They perform an outstanding service to the military and alot of them go out of their way to perform more. Many of them put their life in danger to assist service members, quantifying and politicizing their jobs is just another PC way of ruining something good that the military has.
Enuf, screw the politicals. Let the Chaplains do what they are good at.
Anybody that argues that point has never been on the receiving end of a chaplain or corpsman's care.

12/23/2005 1:15 AM

Blogger Skippy-san said...

I've alwasy felt that it was tough to be a Chaplain particurlarly if you were an evagelical. Consider all of the single parents they have to deal with, and folks who have had plenty of sex outside of marriage ( another side benefit of our gender "neutral" (read preferred) navy. Also a Chaplain has to defend things that are actually against the teachings of the Church so, how they do that in a matter that keeps them from going off the deep end is beyond me.

I've seen both good and bad Chaplains. Sadly the bad ones were those who were spritual "strict constructionists"..........

12/24/2005 5:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the Navy Chaplain in question does not care to follow any orders given. Some of us have unfortunately had to work with this man. He is a bullheaded, legalistic jerk that wants to do EVERYTHING his way. Everything is illegal and he will tell you so, that is, unless it is what he is doing or believes. The Navy could have better handled his situation by presenting their side of the story. Tell us about the real Gordon Klingenschmitt - not the alleged victim.

1/05/2006 7:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Navy Chaplain and I'd like to say thanks to all of you who have typed such good comments about my fellow chaplains. It is a very difficult job, but then all of the jobs in the Navy are difficult. The previous poster is correct,Chaplain K is a hard guy with which to work.

1/16/2006 8:17 PM


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