Reason Freely

Chaplains Urge Lawmakers to Reconsider Dropping DADT; Adm. Mullen Deploys Chaplains to Crimea River

Posted in discussion seed, news by reasonfreely on July 13, 2010

The Military Readiness Act is going to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and allow gays in the military.  Theoretically that should increase recruitment for the military in times of war by a small but much-needed margin.  And it would make service a lot less stressful for the homosexual men and women in the military already.

The joint chiefs seem to approve.  Adm. Mullen has been pushing for it for a while.  Other than a few homophobes afraid someone’s going to be oggling their Pvt. Parts in the group shower, some tea party extremists who don’t understand what “libertarian” means, and a few COs worrying about a stressful adjustment period, who’s really bothered by this?

If you guessed “chaplains,” you win!

They say that being ordered to stop preaching homophobia is going to restrict their religious freedom.  That would be a very valid complaint, if the idea of chaplaincy wasn’t questionably un/constitutional to begin with!  They seem to forget that the government is paying them. Government employees  shouldn’t be preaching anything to begin with, but somehow prison and military chaplains get a pass.

I’m not going to call for the abolishment of the chaplaincy, though I wouldn’t be opposed to a shift to a more humanist chaplaincy.  And I’m on the record opposing military proselytization or at least supporting a group that opposes it.  I think it keeps our soldiers’ morale up and provides valuable counseling — and those are worth some fraction of my income tax check.  I imagine we could do the same good with secular counselors and morale officers, but it would take a cultural shift, and generations of time.  A particularly strident author I’ve talked about before has called for it, though.

In my work in suicide prevention, I’ve met some chaplains and trained with some of them.  They’ve all been good folks, and they showed empathy to Christians, Muslims, Jews and atheists all the same.  That’s the Love Thy Neighbor ethos I like so much about some flavors of Christianity.  But, apparently, not all chaplains are like the ones I’ve met, if they’re willing to fight for their already-questionable “right” to preach intolerance on the taxpayers’ dime.

Thankfully Admiral Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs, seems to find this objection about as irrelevant as I do.

Oh, and on a related note; what’s your opinion on the new $4 million survey of servicemembers?  As a sociologist and a fan of reasoning freely, I like making decisions with all the information I can get, but do you think this survey will gather valid, valuable, or reliable information?  See any interesting questions on there?  I think I do…


2 Responses

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  1. Regan said, on July 22, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Considering that some advocacy groups are already warning people to be careful how they answer in case its a witch hunt and certain other groups are urging service members to be strident against it… I think this data is going to have some serious issues.

    • reasonfreely said, on July 22, 2010 at 7:08 am

      I wonder if they couldn’t have figured that out before they spent four million dollars on it…

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