May 24, 2011 Print

Chaplain Groups Ask Military to Create Religious Liberty Protections

by CitizenLink Team

Twenty-one religious agencies that provide chaplains to the military have sent a letter to the military’s chiefs of chaplains voicing strong concern over the absence of religious liberty protections under the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The letter, which asks the chiefs for their help in urging Congress and the Department of Defense to adopt such protections, reads, in part:

“Chaplains are instructors of conscience. Chaplains have a tremendous moral responsibility to insure that when they preach, teach or counsel, they do so in accordance with their conscience and in harmony with the faith group by which they are endorsed.

“When guidance, however, is forthcoming from senior leadership that implies protected status for those who engage in homosexual behavior … this creates an environment that is increasingly hostile to the many chaplains — and the service members they serve — whose faith groups and personal consciences recognize homosexual behavior as immoral and unsafe and do not permit same-sex unions.”

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has provided free legal support to many concerned chaplains and service members.

“Service members should not be denied the very constitutional liberties they volunteered to defend,” said ADF legal counsel Daniel Blomberg. “The alarm has been sounded time and time again in this process by those with the utmost credibility. The question is: Will our military leaders and elected officials listen?”

The letter is signed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board and the National Association of Evangelicals Chaplains Commission, among others. The Roman Catholic Archbishop for the Military Services USA issued his own statement.

Read the letter from the 21 groups.