Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
A soldier who disapproves of marriage or gay service members is still a soldier. If he is vocal or out of line about it, then he's disruptive. The military is full of white people who don't like black people and vice versa. It bugs the shit out of many people to hear Spanish or other foreign accents. Some people don't like Jews. Imagine that. But they are supposed to put that aside for the common good while in uniform (and to some degree out of uniform) aren't they?
I don't think ethnic or racial prejudice is the equivalent of the religion, especially in the military.

The military is about values. How else do you get a ragtag group of recruits to back each other up to the point of death unless you inculcate values like honor, honesty, sacrifice, and integrity? These values are not owned by any racial or ethnic group and all can join in these values.

Religion, however, is also a location of personal values, and military chaplains have a definite role in the armed services as carriers of the values which religion and the military have in common, such as honor, honesty, sacrifice, etc. The Judaeo-Christian heritage has a well-developed language of such values, and chaplains of Christian and Jewish backgrounds have been present to minister to service people, on and off the battlefield, in illness, and in death.

The problem is that certain values regarding sexuality have now come into conflict, and this seems to be enough to throw out the entire role Christian chaplains play in ministering to the troops.

It's a values problem, and this is not as easily tossed aside as ethnic or racial issues. The very values people hold affect what goes on in battle.

There is also something not mentioned in this article: other religions are also represented in the military, including, most recently, Wicca. This has also been a controversial issue, not only about values in general but about the permission for Wiccan military headstones, which contain the pentagram symbol. Even so, the army has given them full support since the late 90's:

From 1999, Washington Post: Wiccan Controversy Tests Military Religious Tolerance

KILLEEN, Tex.—Every full moon for the past two years, a few dozen off-duty soldiers have gathered at an open campsite at Fort Hood, America's largest military post. By day, they are privates and sergeants in the U.S. Army, training for deployment to Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo. But at these lunar assemblies they trade in their Army fatigues for hooded robes, chant to the lead of their chosen high priestess and dance around a fire well into the night.

They are America's first official Army witches, with all that double duty implies: buzz cuts and pentagram rings, moon tattoos under uniforms. One typical dog tag reads: NAME: Philip Campanaro. UNIT: USAG III Corps. RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: Wicca.

After two years in peaceful obscurity, the Fort Hood wiccans -- their beliefs a blend of pre-Christian paganism and New Age earth worship -- suddenly find themselves in the midst of a brewing controversy. Last month, a photograph of one of their moonlit rituals made it into the local papers, leading some national Christian leaders and one congressman to begin denouncing their practices as satanic.

Now the witches are forced to confront a question their predecessors faced since the dawn of Christianity: Should they retreat back into secret covens, or try their luck in the open market of America's scattered spirituality? The military, in the meantime, finds itself explaining what until now has been a little known but routine lifestyle policy: supporting soldiers who want to practice what the military calls, without passing judgment, "minority" religions.

Two summers ago, the Army approved the Fort Hood Open Circle as its first official wiccan group. Without much fanfare, Fort Hood officials gave them a grassy campsite for their sacred ground, sanctioned their choice of high priestess -- even lent them an Army chaplain for moral support.
If the Army is willing to officially support the Wiccans, what is the need to get rid of Christian chaplains? Shouldn't there be tolerance for everyone?