Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Category: Homosexuality, Justice
Last Updated: 28 Jan 2021
Pages: 4 Views: 80

There has been a long debate about the Constitutionality of paid military chaplains. Is there a legal basis for such or is it a mere supposition? Does the government have a legitimate and legal basis to pay chaplains for their services or is it doing so "just because" and is getting away with it? Could it be legally challenged and done away with? These are the questions. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution is the legal basis of the military chaplaincy. Here is how.

The First Amendment states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The amendment is generally viewed as being composed of two separate clauses; the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Each of these clauses is designed to protect those fundamental human rights which are so foundational to the ideals of our nation: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There are many references to the military chaplaincies as legitimate exceptions to the "Establishment Clause" because they provide the right of "free exercise" of religion that is equally guaranteed under the First Amendment. It is this most important point that the chaplaincy clearly provides the military with a constitutional function, the "free exercise" of religion. The legal debate over paid chaplains sits on both clauses of the First Amendment: 1) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, 2) or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

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Describe your understanding of praying in “Jesus Name. I have been fortunate in that I have not experienced any direct pressure in regards to praying in Jesus’ name. However, during public prayer in which soldiers are required to be in attendance, I always make the statement “As I pray in my tradition, I encourage you to prayer in yours. ” This should be a common statement among chaplains. `Generally speaking, it is not soldiers of other faith traditions that are offended by prayers in Jesus’name, it is usually soldiers of no faith tradition whatsoever.

Furthermore, although there are stories of religious persecution on both sides of the issue (Religious soldiers and Non- Religious soldiers), these issues have a tendency to be very allocated and reflect the particular command environment that the Chaplain is serving under. This is a very troubling issue and the best resolve is the development of a healthy relationship between the Chaplain and the Command in which the chaplain has the opportunity to advise the commander on these complicated issues. In reality, this can become quite complicated and some commanders have strong views on this topic (on both sides of the argument).

Is it worth derailing many years of representing Christ to soldiers over the particular views of one commander? I would suggest that sometimes it is prudent to just get in the basket and go over the wall. Finally, I also understand that Chaplains and Chaplain Candidates like myself, that pray Christian prayers should be prepared to hear and support the right of Jewish and Muslim Chaplains to pray in their particular tradition as well. Finally, describe your understanding of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy and other issues of which you may be concerned.

According to the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, service members will not be involuntarily separated for lawful homosexual conduct. Sexual orientation remains a personal and private matter. Sexual orientation and lawful homosexual conduct (statements, acts or same-sex marriage) are not a basis for separation, reassignment or special consideration. Sailors may inform others of their sexual orientation at their own discretion. In fact, the Department of Defense will not ask service members to identify their sexual orientation.

The Department of Defense will not collect or maintain data on an individual’s sexual orientation. This Department of Defense policy on sexual orientation applies equally to all members of the Active, Reserve, and National Guard components of the military. With that being said, what does this mean in relationship to providing worship and counseling services to men and women who can now be open with their lifestyle. Chaplains will continue to have the very same freedom to practice their religion according to the tenets of their faith.

In the context of their religious ministry, chaplains are not required to take actions that are inconsistent with their religious beliefs (e. g. , altering the content of sermons or religious counseling, sharing a pulpit with other chaplains or modifying forms of prayer or worship). However, when it comes to ministering to someone who is a homosexual, I feel that it is the pastor’s or chaplain’s duty to do so. The Title “pastor” suggests two functions of church leaders so designated: nurturing and guidance.

The nurturing aspect includes the general Christian responsibility of showing compassion for others, but his responsibility is accentuated because a pastor must set the example. Pastors or Chaplains must indeed set the example. Homosexual or not, that person who seeks counsel is still one of God’s children only in a fallen state. Then again, aren’t we all? We are all still a work in progress. There isn’t a human being on this Earth that has defeated sin or struggle with sin. So I think some compassion is warranted when it comes to ministering to homosexuals.

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Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from

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