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-New Gay Policy: Chaplains Must Adapt or Leave?

by Dr. D ~ March 28th, 2011

Flag of the Chief of Chaplains of the United S...

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The Army has started re-training chaplains due to the repeal of the openly gay military ban. Conservative chaplains are being told that those who are unable to follow the forthcoming policy can voluntarily leave the service.

Last December, President Obama signed a new law repealing the ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ military policy. The new policy allowing openly gay people to serve in the US military will not take effect until the President and major military leaders are quite sure that it will not harm military readiness.

Meanwhile, Military chaplains are being put through new training to prepare for the change. According to Lt. Col. Carleton Birch, a spokesman for the Army chief of chaplains, about half of the military service’s 2,900 chaplains have already received the training

“Our training is an opportunity for our senior chaplains to have an honest and open conversation about the repeal policy, its effects on them and their ministry. And it’s going very well. … In no way are we giving the message, shape up or ship out.”

Chaplains in the Navy and the Air Force are also going through the new training. According to Maj. Joel Harper, a spokesman for the Air Force:

(The training) “informative in nature” about how the policy changes will affect them.
“It is not an attempt to change anyone’s opinion about the subject.”

Response: Some are complaining that the new policy and the training is an attempt to eliminate conservative chaplains from the military. However, I don’t believe that this is the case.

Chaplains need to be given time to adjust to the coming new reality. The Military services are not trying to get chaplains to resign but just the opposite, helping them prepare for the coming new policy.

Regardless of how I feel or anyone else feels about openly gay folks serving in the military it is probably going to happen soon. Meanwhile, conservative evangelical Christians serving in the military will still need chaplains.

It would be a grave mistake for conservative chaplains to resign in protest. Already they are serving among groups of folks in the military with a variety of different faiths and religions and some with no religion at all. Adding gays to the equation really doesn’t change that fact even if is does create some new problems.             *Top

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