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Unholy Orders: The Army Maneuvers Its Way Around Religious Liberty

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 04:25 PM
Original message
Unholy Orders: The Army Maneuvers Its Way Around Religious Liberty
The U.S. military continues to have problems understanding the concept of religious liberty.

About two years ago, Americans United exposed examples of preference toward evangelical Christianity at the U.S. Air Force Academy. More recently, AU attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Wiccans who want their symbol recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Now The Washington Post has reported that a former Army officer who left a Christian denomination to become a Wiccan has been stripped of his status as a chaplain.

Don Larsens story makes for difficult reading because its so obviously a case of religious discrimination. Larsen was serving as a chaplain in Iraq, representing a Pentecostal denomination, until about a year ago. Various events led him to reevaluate his faith and embrace Wicca. But when Larsen applied for recognition as a Wiccan chaplain, he was not only denied, he was shipped out of Iraq and summarily dismissed from the chaplains corps despite his flawless service record.

<snip>

Converting people to a particular faith is not the job of a military chaplain. Chaplains are expected to accommodate a broad variety of faiths. If a chaplain does not feel comfortable with a soldiers religious choice, he helps meet that soldiers needs in other ways.

It would seem that Larsen was expected by his denomination to proselytize and win converts to his version of Christianity on the taxpayers dime. He never got in trouble for that, but switching denominations led to his removal from the chaplaincy.

More:
http://blog.au.org/2007/02/20/unholy-orders-the-army-maneuvers-its-way-around-religious-liberty/
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
1. K & R!
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 04:43 PM
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2. Converting soldiers to Christianity
is deemed necessary because it would be unseemly to fight the eighth crusade with an army of "witches".
As to questions of legality, well anything in Jebuses name is to these people, justifiable if not legal.

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. Broomsticks are probably harder to shoot down than Blackhawk Helicopters? n/t
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've always had the impression
that it was a core unofficial mission of our military to represent the power of Christianity around the world. So this this would be in keeping with that unofficial mission.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. Unofficial, unconstitutional mission. n/t
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. A lot of people believe that the constitution means whatever
they want it to mean. It's amazing how many "patriotic Americans" have never read it, don't have a copy of it, and don't really care what it says.
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DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Much like another much-vaunted document I can think of.
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nealmhughes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. Most chaplains I knew in the Navy didnt' toe their denominations' lines at all.
There were "generic" protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Orthodox chaplains then who didn't care what one's own affiliation were, to my knowledge.
One chaplain in Orlando I knew once offered a daily Protestant Eucharist, and I thought he was either Episcopalian or Lutheran, but it turned out as I got to know him that he was actually ordained by the Antiochian Orthodox Church, but offered the protestant service in English by the Navy Prayer Book!
For the boys facing sinpers and IEDs, I doubt that they care if it is an imam, rabbi, minister, Third Order ArchMagus, or whatnot if they are skilled at offering solace...and that is their job, to offer solace and to run humanitarian interference as commissioned officers who transcend the normal chain of command, rather ombudsmen with a special place in the heirarchy.
Just another example of the politicization of the professional corps of the Executive by the Adminstration. I wonder if those who follow First Nations traditions and have been a huge part of the US armed forces traditionally, are offered any tribal blessings by the chaplain corps?
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
5. what is Wicca? nt
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Greyskye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Nature-based religion
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Basic basics:
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Greyskye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. jinx!
owe-me-a-coke.

:toast:
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. LOL
Great minds on the same track?

I'll raise you a glass of claret!


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Greyskye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Works for me

Slainte!
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. Have you heard of "The Google"? n/t
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-21-07 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
17. It's more fun to ask and spark a discussion...
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
15. From Pentocostal to WICCA? That's one helluva metamorphosis
I approve, definitely, but I'm awestruck too.
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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-22-07 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
18. Liars and hypocrites
So you get religious freedom as long as its approved religions that are granted the freedom. Right, thanks for straightening that out for us :sarcasm:
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
19. Chaplains must first be endorsed by a recognized religion so Larsen lost his endorsement when he
converted to another religion.

QUESTION: Has any Wiccan group applied for recognition by DoD so that Wiccan religious leaders can serve as chaplains and if so was that application approved or denied?
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. I should have asked any group other than the Sacred Well Congregation with 950 members. n/t
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