The ending of the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and it’s official welcoming of openly gay members, will require adjustment of attitudes at all levels, including of chaplains. A friend of mind passed on this story from the Huffington Post religion section on how US chaplains are being trained to accomodate the new policy, which I’ll quote from after this brief comment.
It has been my limited experience of US military chaplains that they are excellent and fearless pastors to men and women in uniform, but can be theologically more conservative than their mainstream Canadian counterparts. No doubt those US 1chaplains who do not accept same-sex unions as divinely intended ways of relating are weighing their options. I do find encouraging the article’s mention that, so far, only one chaplain has left the US military over this issue. Military chaplaincy poses challenges to strongly-held beliefs: how does one serve those who do not hold the same sexual ethic, theology, or even the same faith? It will be a time of testing and discernment for my US colleagues, and my prayers are with them. MP+
Chaplains Offered Exit Plan As Gay Training Starts
By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service
WASHINGTON (RNS) The Army has started training chaplains on the repeal of the ban on openly gay military members, saying those who are unable to follow the forthcoming policy can seek a voluntary departure.
“The Chaplains Corps’ First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change,” reads a slide in the PowerPoint presentation, released to Religion News Service Thursday (March 24). “Soldiers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs.”
Critics familiar with the Army presentation, however, say the military is essentially telling chaplains who are theologically conservative that they are not welcome.
“U.S. Army now warning chaplains: If you don’t like the homosexual agenda, get out!” reads a headline on the website of Mass Resistance, an anti-gay group based in Waltham, Mass.
President Obama signed a law repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell last December, but the new policy will not take effect until 60 days after Obama and military leaders are assured that it will not harm military readiness.
Read the whole piece here.