Free speech for chaplains
SLevinson at law.utexas.edu
Tue Jul 12 07:47:43 PDT 2005
There is a fascinating article in today's NYTimes on the increasing number of Evangelical chaplains in the armed services. Consider oe James Klingenschmitt, of the Evangelical Episcopal Church, whose retention was recommended against by his commanding officer following, among other things, his preaching at a memorial service at sea for a Catholic sailor that "emphasized that for those who did not accept Jesus, 'God's wrath remains upon him.'" I presume that the this was not meant to apply to the Catholic seaman, but it obviously suggested to any Jewish or Muslim (or atheist or Buddhist, etc., etc., etc.) that they were condemned to God's wrath. In any event, is there a serious argument that it is improper to take such speech into account in deciding whether to recommend that the contract be renewed. I presume, incidentally, that the armed forces would not renew the contract of a chaplain who sugested that a given war was in fact "unjust," If the armed services can constittionally do that (presumably on grounds that it is not good for the morale of those in the armed services), then why can't it fire chaplains who suggest that many members of the armed services are damned to eternal perdition?
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