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Chaplain Letter

Chaplain Letter

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Published by timothy_kincaid
Letter from Chaplains to Navy
Letter from Chaplains to Navy

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: timothy_kincaid on May 25, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/31/2014

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 May 23, 2011Chaplain Douglas L. Carver, Major GeneralChief of Chaplains, U.S. Army1500 Army PentagonWashington, DC 20310Chaplain Cecil R. Richardson, Major GeneralChief of Chaplains, U.S. Air Force1690 Air Force PentagonWashington, DC 20330Chaplain Mark L. Tidd, Rear AdmiralChief of Chaplains, U.S. Navy2 Navy AnnexWashington, DC 20370Dear Chiefs,Thank you for your service to our country and our chaplains at this critical time in our
nation’s
history. We, the undersigned endorsing agents, represent faith groups that havetens of millions of members and who endorse over a thousand military chaplains toprovide for the spiritual and moral needs of both the hundreds of thousands of servicemembers who share our faith and those who do not. We know that you are collectivelyfacing many difficult decisions, especially in light of the repeal of DADT. Because thesedecisions have such potentially far-reaching consequences, both intended and unintended,we desire to make our concerns known to you in light of the recently published NavyChief of Chaplains revised directive regarding the use of base chapels for same-sexunions and the recent memo of suspension. We have been
informed that the Navy’s
action was based on legal advice from DoD that was also provided to the other Chief of C
haplains’ offices.
In January 2011, the intent of the repeal of DADT was explained to the entire endorsingcommunity as being to remove the prohibition on homosexual behavior for those inmilitary service. It is our strong belief that the letter of revision as released by Chaplain(RADM)
Tidd’s office goes beyond this stated intent of DADT repeal by sanctioning and
normalizing the use of base chapels for same-sex unions. Though this revision is nowtemporarily suspended pending further review, we are genuinely concerned that thismight be a sign of things to come. We are likewise concerned that endorsers and faithcommunities had no voice in the formulation of such a significant policy change.DOMA remains the law of the land. There is no clear reason why it does not apply toFederal military facilities, particularly base chapels. We were not privy to the legaladvice that your offices received, nor have we received any satisfactory explanation forwhy DOMA is not fully applicable to federal facility use. Since the current
 
 administration has publicly stated that it will no longer support and defend DOMA, thisaction has every appearance of selective disregard for the law and raises significantconcerns. Issues which were heretofore clear have now become unnecessarily clouded.Of equally grave concern is the fact that chaplains are instructors of conscience.Chaplains have a tremendous moral responsibility to insure that when they preach, teachor counsel, they do so in accordance with their conscience and in harmony with the faithgroup by which they are endorsed. When guidance, however, is forthcoming from seniorleadership that implies protected status for those who engage in homosexual behavior andnormalizes same-sex unions in base chapels, any outside observer would conclude thatboth homosexuality and homosexual unions officiated as marriages in base chapels arenormative. This creates an environment that is increasingly hostile to the manychaplains
 — 
and the service members they serve
 — 
whose faith groups and personalconsciences recognize homosexual behavior as immoral and unsafe and do not permitsame-sex unions.For this reason, and particularly in light of the growing confusion regarding how DADTrepeal will play out
 — 
indeed, we were told that issues like same-sex weddings were not aconcern because of DOMA just months ago
 — 
we strongly encourage the adoption of broad, clear, and strong protections for conscience. No American, especially thoseserving in the armed forces, should be forced to abandon their religious beliefs or bemarginalized for holding to those beliefs. It is not sufficient to posit, as the CRWGreport did, that chaplains and service members remain free to exercise their faith inchapel services.
Service members should know that chaplains’ ministry and their own
rights of conscience remain protected everywhere military necessity has placed them.We hope that you will join us in urging DoD and Congress to adopt such specific andintentional conscience protections.We fervently pray that you stand strong in support of the laws of the land and that Godwould grant you His wisdom for sound moral guidance for the future health andprosperity of the entire chaplain body. In the spirit of 
cooperation without compromise,
l
et us work together, for the good of all, seeking God’s wisdom and guidance for all our 
brave men and women in uniform.For God and Country.
Chaplain (BG) Douglas E. Lee, U.S. Army, RetiredEndorsing Agent, Presbyterian & Reformed Joint Commission
 
Chaplain (COL) Brandon Keith Travis, U.S. Army, RetiredEndorsing Agent, North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention)
 
 
CAPT Mark J. Schreiber, CHC, USN, (Ret.)Endorsing Agent, Lutheran Church
 — 
Missouri SynodChaplain (COL) Paul L. Vicalvi, U.S. Army, RetiredEndorsing Agent, National Association of Evangelicals Chaplains CommissionThe Right Reverend Derek LS Jones (USAF
 — 
Ret.)Endorsing Agent, The Convocation of Anglicans in North AmericaThe Anglican Church in North AmericaCAPT Roy Bebee, CHC, USN, (Ret.)Endorsing Agent, Evangelical Free Church of AmericaCAPT David Starkey, CHC, USN, (Ret.)Endorsing Agent, Calvary ChapelChaplain (COL) Ronald A. Crews, U.S. Army, RetiredEndorsing Agent, Grace Churches InternationalChaplain (COL) Daniel A. Miller, U.S. Army, RetiredEndorsing Agent, Foursquare Church

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