Victory for Military Chaplains Who Pray "In Jesus Name"
edarrell at sbcglobal.net
Sat Sep 30 17:12:49 PDT 2006
Washington was also careful about his orders -- notice that the law does not specify which "divine service." The law was partly to smooth the religious strife that was feared between units from New England and units from Virginia, and units from Maryland, and units from Pennsylvania -- all of which had different religious traditions. The law did not require attendance, nor did it require belief in Christianity -- it suggested everybody had a right to worship unmolested. Washington's orders to the troops invading Canada were even more specific -- do not in any case offend the faith of anyone whose faith differs from yours.
In that light, the question Gordon raises becomes a little different, I think. The founders believed fully in not crossing the faith of another soldier nor even an enemy combatant. Where do we get off today thinking that modern chaplains shouldn't live up to the same high standards? Why not follow the example of our founders, and avoid insulting the faiths of others?
Gordon James Klingenschmitt <chaplaingate at yahoo.com> wrote:
Perhaps Marty's right about one thing...our modern "enlightened" reading of the Constitution has (sadly) evolved quite a distance from when the founding fathers wrote that beloved document.
Here is the origin of that portion of 10 USC 6031 (which Marty quoted, but hated) as first written by our Founding Fathers (who knew the Constitution's meaning better than we do, let's admit):
One of the first acts of Congress in June, 1775 was to pass Articles of War. There were only 12 of them. Article 2 was basically "Go to church and treat it with respect."
Art. II. It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend Divine Service; and all officers and soldiers who shall behave indecently or irreverently at any place of Divine Worship, shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a court-martial. there to be publicly and severely reprimanded by the President; if non-commissioned officers or soldiers, every person so offending, shall, for his first offence, forfeit One Sixth of a Dollar, to be deducted out of his next pay; for the second offence, he shall not only forfeit a like sum, but be confined for twenty-four hours, and for every like offence, shall suffer and pay in like manner; which money so forfeited, shall be applied to the use of the sick soldiers of the troop or company to which the offender belongs.
How far then, Marty, has our nation devolved into anti-Christian decadence, when instead of court-martialing any soldier or officer who misbehaved during divine worship, we now court-martial the chaplain who dares to wear his uniform while "worshipping in public" and we reward the Commanding Officer who entered his chapel and punished him for quoting the Bible in the pulpit?
Am I the only one on this list, who still believes the way our Founding Fathers did?
Does anybody see the dramatic irony here?
Marty Lederman <marty.lederman at comcast.net> wrote:
I decided to take a quick look over at section 6031. Subsection (a), which Chaplain Klingenschmitt quotes, does not provide that chaplains may "pray in Jesus's name" as part of their public services. It's much more modest, and not very objectionable. Subsections (b) and (c), on the other hand, are unconstitutional relics:
(b) The commanders of vessels and naval activities to which chaplains are attached shall cause divine service to be performed on Sunday, whenever the weather and other circumstances allow it to be done; and it is earnestly recommended to all officers, seamen, and others in the naval service diligently to attend at every performance of the worship of Almighty God.
(c) All persons in the Navy and in the Marine Corps are enjoined to behave themselves in a reverent and becoming manner during divine service.
So I doubt the government will be invoking the authority of section 6031 anytime soon.
Oh, and by the way, 6031 isn't much help to Chaplain Klingenschmitt for another reason, too: It's limited to the Navy and Marines. The analogous Air Force statute, 10 USC 8547, much more "appropriately" provides that "[e]ach chaplain shall, when practicable, hold appropriate religious services at least once on each Sunday for the command to which he is assigned, and shall perform appropriate religious burial services for members of the Air Force who die while in that command."
----- Original Message -----
From: Marty Lederman
To: chaplaingate at yahoo.com ; Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2006 5:50 PM
Subject: Re: Victory for Military Chaplains Who Pray "In Jesus Name"
With all due respect, this is simple nonsense.
1. Section 6031 does not say that military chaplains may pray "in Jesus's name," and if it did authorize such prayers in the chaplains' official capacities, it would almost certainly violate the Establishment Clause in that respect.
2. For reasons we've discussed at great length before, chaplains have no Free Exercise rights to pray in the manner of their choosing when they are acting in their official capacities.
3. Citing Lee v. Weisman, and only Lee v. Weisman, for the proposition that the state must permit a state employee to give a sectarian prayer in a public capacity, is just about the most absurd "reading" of a case that I've ever seen.
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