Free speech for chaplains

Steve Sanders stevesan at umich.edu
Wed Jul 13 14:02:00 PDT 2005


The military is funded by citizens for the business of fighting wars, 
not going
about proactively searching for souls that need to be saved.  Any soldier who
feels the need may, of course, seek out a chaplain, and if one thing leads to
another, fine.  But if a chaplain's initial approaches are rebuffed, the
chaplain must cease and desist.  Of course, the soldier who becomes, so to
speak, a satisfied customer is unlikely to complain.  But if a soldier 
lodges a
valid complaint that he has been harassed or demeaned, the chaplain should be
subjected to appropriate discipline.  The dictates of chaplain's 
conscience are
not a higher calling than military duty.  For any chaplain that finds them so,
there is civilian life.

Quoting bortd at aol.com:

> Suppose you were religiously as you are, and in the service today.  
> What standard of conduct should there be for a chaplin of another 
> denomination who sincerely believed you were utterly lost without 
> conversion to his religious view?
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rick Duncan <nebraskalawprof at yahoo.com>
> To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics <religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu>
> Sent: Tue, 12 Jul 2005 16:37:07 -0700 (PDT)
> Subject: RE: Free speech for chaplains
>
>
> Sandy helps illustrate my point. There are some soldiers, like Sandy, 
> who do not wish chaplains to try to save them. They believe they are 
> just fine the way they are thanks. But there are other soldiers, 
> perhaps like I once was, who are searching for God and for salvation 
> and want chaplains to show them the way.
>
> Perhaps we need both kinds of chaplains in the armed services, but we 
> should not allow one kind of soldier to have a heckler's veto over 
> chaplains who might be meeting the needs of other kinds of soldiers. 
> Nor should the EC be interpreted to allow the military to serve as a 
> board of acceptable theology for chaplains.
>
> There are literally millions of Christians, like me, who bless the 
> day some one--often a stranger--explained the doctrine of salvation 
> by faith to them. Thank God for all the busybodies who took the time 
> to throw a lifeline to  wretches like me! If I were a soldier whisked 
> away from my home town and perhaps facing death beyond the next turn 
> in the road, I would want a chaplain who would not hesitate to preach 
> Christ and salvation to me.
>
> Rick
>
> Sanford Levinson <SLevinson at law.utexas.edu> wrote:
> Rick writes:
>
> If I were on a road heading for a cliff, I would want to be told that 
> the road I was on was bad and that another road was good. The same is 
> true of the spiritual roads I travel. If I were heading for Hell, I 
> would not want a chaplain to comfort me and tell me that everything 
> was fine and dandy. I would want him to help me get off the wrong 
> road and on the right road.
> *********************************
>
> I confess that I think that Rick is right.  In an essay published in 
> Wrestling With Diversity, I note my own childhood in Hendersonville, 
> NC, where some of my friends did indeed try to "help me" in the way 
> that Rick suggests.  I obviously didn't accept the help, but I did 
> not in fact resent the effort, since I had no doubt about its 
> motivation (and, as a matter of fact, they didn't press the point 
> once it was clear that I was not going to convert).  That being said, 
> I still resent similar efforts coming from those who are not my 
> friends, especially when if they occur in "official" settings.
>
> sandy
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>
> Rick Duncan
> Welpton Professor of Law
> University of Nebraska College of Law
> Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
> Red State Lawblog: www.redstatelaw.blogspot.com
>
> "When the Round Table is broken every man must follow either Galahad 
> or Mordred: middle things are gone." C.S.Lewis, Grand Miracle
>
> "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, 
> or nu! mbered." --The Prisoner
>
>
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