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Enforcement of DADT Forcing Christian Chaplains Out of Service

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist The Obama Administration has begun to write the policies that will enforce an end to the ban on gays serving openly in the military - known as the Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy - many of which will either stifle the free expression of religion in the armed forces or force Christian chaplains out of service altogether. PrayinJesusName.org, which was founded by Navy Chaplain James "Chaps" Klingenschmitt, who lost a million dollar pension after being courtmartialed for praying in uniform during a protest outside the White House, obtained leaked copies of the new rules governing implementation of the reversal of DADT in the military which were not meant for the press. Some of the new rules, which are part of the "DADT Report: Support Plan for Implementation" include one rule that says chaplains who can't "reconcile" with homosexual sin will face administrative discharge. According to Chaps, the report repeats twice, on pages 30 and 57, that "If a chaplain is unable to reconcile serving with or caring for gay and lesbian Service members with his or her faith, the chaplain may request that the relevant endorsing agency withdraw its ecclesiastical endorsement for him or her. This would trigger an administrative separation under DoDI 1304.28." "Wow! Now the Obama Administration is officially on record pressuring Chaplains to quit the service if they cannot 'reconcile' with homosexual sin that violates their Christian conscience," Chaps comments. "This 'plan' alone should alarm the new conservative Congress to the need for bold protection of Chaplains' rights." The Report also says chaplains will have religious "freedom" only in limited circumstances.  "You may, in appropriate circumstances and within the limitations of law and policy, express your moral or religious beliefs regarding sexual orientation," it says. According to Chaps, the phrase "appropriate circumstances" means only in the context of Sunday chapel, and could involve punishment for private counseling. "The Pentagon report dubiously promises to protect Chaplains' freedoms, 'in the context of their religious ministry,' claiming they won't need to change their sermons, counseling, prayers, or worship," Chaps explains. "But speaking from personal experience as a former Navy chaplain, I can decode the secret word 'context' to mean chaplains clearly won't have religious freedom outside of that 'context.'" For example, Chaps was punished in writing three times during his service for quoting the Bible inside the chapel on a day other than Sunday. He was also punished for conducting Thursday prayers in uniform outside the White House for which he was charged with "worshiping in public," a misdemeanor. Chaps reports that one senior officer in the Army National Guard has already been relieved of his battalion-level commanding officer job after stating his conscience would not allow him to participate in "re-education" training designed to teach service men and women how to "respect homosexual sin." "Today is my last day in command," the career Army officer told World Net Daily, anonymously for fear of losing his retirement. "From now on I'll be a staff officer without a bunch of people working under me, so I won't have the moral conflict with having to enforce this new policy on them . . . When I retire I will speak on the record. I don't know how much I can do before that. Sooner or later I'm going to get told to shut up. If I continue to make statements, it might become a witch hunt. I don't want to lose my retirement unless it comes to the point they tell me I have to attend the [pro-'gay'] training." Another officer serving in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Stacy L. Maxey, has decided to make a public stand about the discriminatory new policies by writing a letter to the military's Stars and Stripes magazine entitled, "Won't Choose to Deal With It." "So let me see if I understand this: The Defense Department is proposing to let people who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle serve 'openly' in the armed forces, but won't allow Christians such as myself the freedom to 'openly' share the good news of Christ with our co-workers - as the faith we've chosen requires? "DOD officials plan to tell service members who have a problem with those living a homosexual lifestyle to 'learn to deal with it,' but they are prepared to counsel and/or slap Christians with paperwork if someone feels 'offended' by our witness? Wearing sexual lifestyle choices on your sleeve is OK, but not your faith? "Military chaplains who teach that homosexuality is antithetical to and incompatible with Christianity (which it is) can either muzzle their objections or 'leave,' but gays will be permitted to parade their lifestyle choices in front of all? "Bottom line: So I'm free to express myself if I'm a homosexual, but not if I'm a Christian? What disgraceful hypocrisy. "Here's the truth: I will continue to witness to who I want, when I want and where I want. My commitment to my God supersedes my commitment to the DOD and, if officials are upset about that, then I guess they can 'learn to deal with it.' "Department of Defense? More like the Department of Double Standards." Although several laws have been proposed over the years to protect the rights of Christians in the military, none have been passed by Congress. Concerned citizens should contact their representatives to ask for the implementation of laws that will protect the religious freedom of Christians in the military, especially in light of the reversal of DADT. Contact information can be found here. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

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