The House passed a defense bill yesterday. Among the provisions in this $513 billion-with-a-b authorization bill was a clause pertaining to military chaplains. Currently, the rules call for chaplains to offer "nonsectarian prayers, or a moment of silence, at public meetings or ceremonies, especially when attendance is mandatory for service members of all faiths."
The current bill gives chaplains the right to "pray according to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience, except as must be limited by military necessity, with any such limitation being imposed in the least restrictive manner feasible."
Hey, far be it from me to squash some guy's conscience, but if the goal is unit cohesion, then we all know that the way to do it is to #1: forbid homosexuality #2: make religious services inclusive so that everyone who wants to show up will feel welcome.
The National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces puts it well in its ethics-code for chaplains: "I will respect the beliefs and traditions of my colleagues and those to whom I minister. When conducting services of worship that include persons of other than my religious body, I will draw upon those beliefs, principles, and practices that we have in common."
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this mess was the amendment offered by a Democratic Congresscritter that called for military chaplains to show "sensitivity, respect and tolerance for all faiths." It was defeated on strict party lines. GOD forbid we should show sensitivity, respect and tolerance for all faiths. What sort of pinko talk is that?
Well, I just hope the 28 rabbis and the dozen-or-so Muslim chaplains take advantage of their right to babble in Hebrew and Arabic at their flocks. Since sensitivity, respect and tolerance is not required, they can tell the men to fuck off if they don't like it.