Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Military Chaplain Controversy

Sunday, January 22, 2006, Religion and Ethics Weekly Report on PBS aired a story on the Military Chaplains' Controversy. You can find that report in its entirety here: Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

I'm not going to say much, I just want to highlight some statements made by Chaplain Klingenschmitt and let him tell it in his own words. Following are quotes from Chaplain Klingenschmitt along with Bob Abernathy's conclusion to the interview:


"When the government says to me that, well, you can practice your faith in private but don't say the J word in public, because the Jesus word is insensitive, well, they're characterizing Jesus Christ as an offensive word. And they're turning my Lord into a slur. Well, that is inherently offensive to me, and that is inherently discriminatory to people of my faith tradition."

"When I evangelize and I invite sailors to come and hear my sermons and they disagree, that's fine. They are never punished for disagreeing with me. But when I refused to practice the faith of liberal senior chaplains, I was punished with the full weight of the United States government. So who is proselytizing whom?"

Bob Abernathy's conclusion:

"Last month, Chaplain Klingenschmitt went on an 18-day hunger strike outside the White House to protest the navy's restrictions on how he can pray and preach. He says the navy gave in, and he is now back at work. The navy says Klingenschmitt had been free all along to conduct Christian worship services as he chooses. But whenever it is a multifaith ceremony, says the navy, it asks that a chaplain's language be inclusive."

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