“For God And For Country”, their motto declares
And the chaplains have answered the call
But these chaplains, say Baptists, were caught unawares:
“And For Country”’s not needed at all
The chaplains stand ready to answer the call
Giving aid when the fighting is tough
But to do this “For Country”? That’s not right at all—
See, the motto’s not Christian enough
The troops, like the country, are really diverse
So when serving, there’s pretty good odds
That you’ll see different values or conduct—or worse,
That our laws will run counter to God’s
When that happens, you’d think that a chaplain would search
For his conscience—that strong inner voice
Of course, you’d be wrong; he must follow the church…
Which is what they call “freedom of choice”
See, that’s how you know that the church teaches love;
How you know that they truly adore you—
Your freely made choices come down from above,
And the church does the “freedom” thing for you.
Via The New Civil Rights Movement, we hear that the Southern Baptist Convention has forbidden their military chaplains from even attending, let alone officiating, same sex marriages. The law, as I understand it, permits (but does not require) chaplains to perform any legal marriages, and couldn’t possibly begin to think about banning attendance. But…
“The agency that commissions Southern Baptist military chaplains says no Baptist chaplain will be allowed to perform, attend or support a same-sex wedding either on or off base,” Religion News Service reports.
Indeed, that agency, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention has issued new “guidelines,” violation of which would in essence cause a chaplain to lose his authority and job as a Baptist military chaplain.
“NAMB-endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union, assist or support paid contractors or volunteers leading same-sex relational events, nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off of a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing.”
“Chaplains are also prohibited from participating in jointly-led worship services ‘with a chaplain, contractor or volunteer who personally practices a homosexual lifestyle or affirms a homosexual lifestyle or such conduct.’”
Mind you, this is perfectly consistent with other religious attempts at defining freedom of religion–whereas the constitution frames it as a right of individuals, the churches interpret “religious freedom” as the freedom of churches to make decisions and impose them on individuals. Limit access to both contraception and abortion? Religious freedom. Require a pledge of allegiance even when it conflicts with your views? Freedom. Require atheists to carry “in god we trust” around if they want to use cash? Freedom.
And now, in the name of religious freedom, individual chaplains no longer have a choice about, say, attending the wedding of a friend or family member who happens to be gay. And it’s not the government limiting their behavior, it’s been limited in the name of their own church.
Y’know, maybe it would be best if all chaplains were atheists.